11.24.20

Dissent makes good ideas great

An often-overlooked attribute of a healthy community is the courage of dissent.

Politics teach the way you win is to marginalize dissent. Yet, confident communities tolerate the messiness of disagreement. Dissenters’ views are welcomed as a way to sift ideas, strengthen plans and avoid costly mistakes.

Constructive dissent is less about resistance. It is more about inviting diverse perspectives and contradictory opinions to the table.

Wise leaders recognize the first idea is seldom the best. Alfred Nobel, the Nobel Prize founder, said, “If I have a thousand ideas and only one turns out to be good, I am satisfied.”

It turns out he was an optimist. Research suggests three of every 10,000 new ideas survive to become successful innovations.

Many transformative ideas are superficially attractive and short-lived. That’s OK. It is part of a Darwinian “survival of the fittest” process. It weeds out “so-so” ideas. Constructive dissent ensures the strongest, most viable ideas survive.

Testing ideas through constructive dissent requires great energy. When refining an idea, you can’t skip steps that are too complicated.

“Simple can be harder than complex,” Steve Jobs famously said. “You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.”

Constructive dissent is a willingness to abandon well-worn paths to pursue new ones. Dissenters challenge you to revisit assumptions, look in new directions, embrace alternative models and leave behind “me-too” thinking. A senior Disney leader once said: “If you don’t change what you see, what you see doesn’t change.”

Confident communities welcome courageous ideas and constructive dissent. These are not opposing forces. They are the twin gears that drive innovation. Only creativity paired with dissent can empower communities to resist groupthink and confirmation bias.

“Organizations never die from dissent, but many die from conformity,” wrote Jacob Bronowski, the British mathematician and historian.

The same goes for communities. Today’s economic development plans too often look like copied versions of other community playbooks. Such copycat plans don’t fit local culture, competencies and character. Buyer beware.

These plans often create “boat anchors” and eyesores for future generations. “Me-too” communities are no more successful than “me-too” companies or products.

Even good ideas, if approved too quickly, can suck the oxygen out of effective decision-making. Confident leaders don’t allow even the best ideas to stifle innovation, cripple creativity or truncate alternatives.

As Cynthia Rabe warns in her book, “Innovation Killers,” listening to the same old “experts” leads to conformity. Conformity is the death of innovation.

Conversely, as inclusion expert Annie Jean-Baptiste reflects in her book, “Building for Everyone,” “new voices (and new combinations of ideas) are the core of innovation.”

Parkview Field was an idea born of constructive dissent – disagreement with then-dominant views about downtown Fort Wayne. Our community listened to new voices, which resulted in a community asset with a viable business model.

Yet, today it would be unwise to impose new conformity of thought based on the success of Parkview Field. Downtown baseball is more than a “symbol of what can happen when people take a chance.” It’s evidence of the value of constructive dissent.

In the future, when we debate the “next generation” of competing resource priorities – which may look like a downtown arena, riverfront development, an innovation district or similarly large-scale development project – remember to embrace constructive dissent. It is unwise to marginalize alternative voices as “outliers” or dismiss outright all opposing views.

As we redevelop Fort Wayne for emerging economic realities, we must embrace dissenters who question why some ideas die because of “finite resources” while others ride an “investment runaway train.”

Let’s find the courage to welcome and invite dissent. Like Nobel, let’s recognize it is the only way to weed through the thousands of weak ideas to find the one that will move mountains.

11.24.20

Join The NIIC and millions of others in #GivingTuesday global generosity movement on December 1, 2020

For immediate release

November 24, 2020, Fort Wayne, Ind. This GivingTuesday, The NIIC encourages generosity by sharing client stories that celebrate the tenacity and resilience of Northeast Indiana business builders. Funds raised during this campaign will support the Reimagine Fund, designed to help underestimated founders located in our region who are facing liquidity problems and want to reset and reimagine their business model during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Please visit theniic.org/donate/ to support business builders in our region.

The Reimagine Fund was established through the generosity of campaign gifts to The NIIC during the #GivingTuesdayNow campaign in April 2020. The fund supports business founders located in Northeast Indiana who are looking to reset and reimagine their business models.  “Given the severity of the impact of the pandemic on business closures and the liquidity crisis, the generosity of our community is essential to building successful and sustainable business ventures in our community,” stated Karl R. LaPan, President and CEO, The NIIC.

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement, unleashing people, and organizations’ power to transform their communities and their world. GivingTuesday will kick off the generosity season this year by inspiring people to give back on December 1, 2020.

“GivingTuesday inspires people all around the world to embrace their power to drive progress around the causes they care about, not just on one day but throughout the year,” said Asha Curran, GivingTuesday’s CEO and co-founder. “With country and community leaders, millions of organizations, and countless givers of all kinds, GivingTuesday is creating a shared space where we can see the radical implications of a more generous world.”

To support entrepreneurs in Northeast Indiana, visit theniic.org/donate. See The NIIC social media (Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube) for more information about The NIIC’s Giving Tuesday Campaign.

About The NIIC

499 new products launched, 196 patent applications submitted or granted, and 2,351 jobs created—that is what entrepreneurs have achieved through The NIIC since its inception two decades ago. The NIIC has also connected Northeast Indiana companies to attract $100.4 million in grants and capital.

The NIIC is a non-profit, vibrant entrepreneurial community designed to advise entrepreneurs to plan, launch, and grow successful business ventures. The NIIC bolsters innovative companies to move ideas into action. The NIIC is located in a designated U.S. Small Business Administration HUB Zone. In April 2018, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb designated The Northeast Indiana Innovation Park Campus as an Opportunity Zone through the U.S. Treasury. The NIIC is the country’s only ISO9001:2015 registered business incubation and acceleration program. TheNIIC.org. Click here for The NIIC press kit.

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11.16.20

Annual Entrepreneurial Event Honors Entrepreneurs, Inspires to Innovate During a Pandemic

   

For immediate release

November 16, 2020, Fort Wayne, Ind. At the beginning of this year amidst an emerging pandemic, the projections were bleak for small business owners. Some have not survived. Yet, some have taken the opportunity to reinvent themselves and thrive. Such companies were celebrated at today’s Dr. Daryl R. Yost Ideas@Work Livestream Events.

The Mirro Business Builder Award is named after Dr. Mike Mirro, physician, entrepreneur, visionary, researcher, community leader, and founding board member of The NIIC. The award honors an entrepreneur who personifies core traits of personal excellence, energy, passion, and making a lasting community impact. This year’s award was presented to Angela Harrison, Bakerson Pie Company. “This is a huge honor, and I’m so thankful. Thank you for the vote of confidence through this award,” said Harrison.

The WEOC Launch Women Business Builder Award was presented to four clients who completed this year-long program. The program serves as an accelerator for women who want to start, grow, and accelerate their digital, e-commerce, mobile app or web-based businesses and focuses on mentoring, growth resources, and capital. Award recipients included:

  • Angelica Cotton, Owner, Creations by AC, is a custom design store, dedicated to help customers create and order customized products. “During COVID-19, I have learned that people have changed how they spend their money. I have dwindled down my product offerings to focus on products that people truly want,” said Cotton.
  • Angela Harrison, Owner, Bakerson Pie Co serves as Fort Wayne’s newest little pie shop, offering carry-out, pie club memberships, and can be found at area farmer’s markets and events. “I am not a lone ranger. I need the brainpower of working with a group. This program was key to me to keep moving forward. It helped me to identify what was essential. I’m thankful for the energy and contributions of the group,” said Harrison.
  • Jackie Hook, Owner, High Point Ready, provides equestrian product subscription boxes for the all-around horse and rider. “This program provided a lot of accountability and direction. During the pandemic, my company experienced some shipping delays. I discovered new shipping options to address them. I also did different kinds of boxes, like for North Carolina 4H and 4H youth programs. Those got my company in front of some new markets.”
  • Carli Webb, Owner, The Healthy Female Project, is an alternative and holistic health service. “At The Healthy Female Project, we know women want to feel confident in conceiving and growing their babies,” said Webb. The company provides credible, easy to understand, actionable information to do that.

WEOC Founder’s Cup Award is funded through Ideas@Work sponsorships and helps provide access to capital to WEOC Launch Women Business Builders. One founder is selected from each cohort to receive the $500 award. This year’s Founder’s Cup Award recipient is Jackie Hook.

The Dr. Daryl R. Yost Excellence in Philanthropy Award is a new award honoring a former NIIC colleague and friend. Maclyn (Mac) Parker, Chair, The Olive B. Cole Foundation, is the inaugural award recipient. “Mac is a board member of The NIIC and has been since its inception. Through his leadership and commitment, he has demonstrated his ability to support The NIIC throughout its life. It is an honor on behalf of The NIIC Board and our entire organization to award this to Mac Parker,” said Karl R. LaPan, NIIC President and CEO. Upon receiving the award, Mac said, “It is a real honor to receive this award, particularly because it is named after Daryl Yost. He was a mentor of many and a good friend to a lot of us.” While accepting the award, Parker reflected on visiting Indianapolis and Chattanooga some years ago and was inspired to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors for Northeast Indiana. This led, in part, to the formation of The NIIC. “New job creation and helping entrepreneurs is important to economic development. The NIIC has fostered that. Karl LaPan has been such a great leader, and The NIIC has done so much in our community, leading entrepreneurship.”

Serial entrepreneur and WKI Founder (wendykennedy.com) Wendy Kennedy inspired the Livestream participants. She emphasized how today’s business builders have to rethink their business models, find alternative revenue streams, expand their business model thinking, and engage their potential customers to find out how their needs have changed to stay relevant. She challenged business builders to be resilient, never quit, and confidently move toward their dreams.

Ideas@Work concludes on November 18, 2020. Two additional upskilling workshops round out this year’s offerings. Creating Exceptional Customer Experience is November 16, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and will be led by LaPan and Ted Baker, CEO/Executive Director, Muncie Innovation Connector, Inc.  Failure in a Culture of Innovation is November 18, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and led by LaPan. Both are Livestream events.

For further information about the bonus upskilling workshops or learn more about the Dr. Daryl R. Yost Ideas@Work movement, visit https://theniic.org/ideasatwork.

Cutline 1: WEOC WBC Launch Women Business Builder Program Award to Angela Harrison, Bakerson Pie Company

Cutline 2: WEOC WBC Launch Women Business Builder Program Award to Jackie Hook, High Point Ready

Cutline 3: WEOC WBC Launch Women Business Builder Program Award to Carli Webb, the Healthy Female Project

About The NIIC

467 new products launched, 189 patent applications submitted or granted, and 2,290 jobs created—that is what entrepreneurs have achieved through The NIIC since its inception two decades ago. The NIIC has also connected Northeast Indiana companies to attract $91 million in grants and capital.

The NIIC is a non-profit, vibrant entrepreneurial community designed to advise entrepreneurs to plan, launch, and grow successful business ventures. The NIIC bolsters innovative companies to move ideas into action. The NIIC is located in a designated U.S. Small Business Administration HUB Zone. In April 2018, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb designated The Northeast Indiana Innovation Park Campus as an Opportunity Zone through the U.S. Treasury. The NIIC is the country’s only ISO9001:2015 registered business incubation and acceleration program. TheNIIC.org. Click here for The NIIC press kit.

About WKI

Since 2005, WKI-wendykennedy.com inc. has delivered robust, innovative, and visual design thinking frameworks for business builders to ideate and find the business value of ideas. The WKI methodology,  So what? who cares? why you?® has supported thousands of researchers, scientists, engineers, and other innovators across the globe to discover the opportunity their ideas represent and unlock their full business potential. With certified professionals in more than 20 countries, this unique methodology has been used to explore the business value inside early-stage ideas spanning medical devices, alternative energies, robotics, aerospace, drugs, sensors, and more. Customers include the European Space Agency, Air Force Research Labs, The University of Texas, University of Florida (UF) Innovate, University of Nebraska, Community Health Network, The NIIC, and many others.

Contact: Tammy Allen, Director|Marketing & Programs, tallen@niic.net, 260-407-1731

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08.26.20

Inclusive Entrepreneurship Programs Create New Opportunities for Hoosiers

For Immediate Release

August 26, 2020, Fort Wayne, Ind.— Pre-COVID-19 Pandemic, U.S. small businesses accounted for 44 percent of U.S. economic activity. Indiana-based nonprofit The NIIC believes small businesses will help to drive the Post-COVID-19 economy. The NIIC is working to narrow the opportunity gap for Indiana business owners through five inclusive entrepreneurship programs. The programs expand services to traditionally underserved groups in Northeast Indiana and across the state. These include:

  • Connected Communities Breakthrough
  • FAST-IN (Federal State and Technology in Indiana)
  • OPENS (Optimized Path for Entrepreneurial Network Success)
  • WBC EmPWR (Women’s Business Center Equity & Prosperity for Women Reimagining Businesses)
  • WEOC (Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center)

Some examples of these groups include rural business builders, disabled individuals, ethnic minorities, immigrants, ex-offenders, and other historically unserved community segments. The goal is to cultivate hidden entrepreneurial talent and help individuals live fuller, more prosperous, better-connected lives.

“The NIIC is dedicated to economic prosperity and social well-being for Hoosiers. We want to support them to maximize their entrepreneurial potential. This past year, we have focused on equitable assistance and non-traditional support for underestimated entrepreneurs. Through the support of generous funders plus our dedicated staff, our five new targeted and focused programs will broaden networks, strengthen communities, increase access to capital, and stimulate diverse business ventures,” said Karl R. LaPan, President and CEO, The NIIC.

Stacey Poynter, District Director, Indiana District Office, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), said, “Access to capital is a barrier to entrepreneurship that the SBA strives to erase. The NIIC has partnered with the SBA for the last five years to provide the Women’s Business Center (WEOC), and I am thrilled they are recipients of our FAST, PRIME, and EmPWR grants as well.  By working with partner organizations like The NIIC—who creates innovative and accessible programs for entrepreneurs—we are able to succeed in our mission of helping small businesses start, grow, expand, and recover, thus building stronger and more stable economies throughout Indiana.”

Connected Communities Breakthrough Program is a program funded by Foellinger Foundation and led by Program Manager Julie Sanchez. “There are real barriers to business ownership for many members of our community. Through innovative methods and customized curriculum, Breakthrough Program supports participants along a continuum. We help them to realize that they can be entrepreneurs and own businesses,” said Sanchez. Program participants learn how to launch a business through this program. The first cohort started in June 2020. Cohort two recruitment is in progress. Click here to apply.

https://northestindianainnovationcenter.formstack.com/forms/connected_communities_application_for_support

FAST-IN Program is funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Federal State and Technology (FAST) Partnership Program. The program’s purpose is to increase the number of Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) proposals successfully submitted by Indiana entrepreneurs. Increased funding through this initiative could lead to more research, development, and innovation in the state.

Jeff Erickson, Principal Investigator, Engine Research Associates, Inc. benefited from the FAST-IN Program by saving valuable work time. “We worked through FAST-IN to submit a recent SBIR application. The program easily saved our company 100 hours of work time. That’s a big deal for a small company like ours. SBIR grants are essential to our company’s growth and research,” said Erickson. Engine Research Associates is developing covert, fuel-efficient engines for unmanned aerial vehicles. FAST-IN is offering various webinars to train individuals how to submit successful proposals. More information is available on The NIIC events website page. https://theniic.org/our-events/

OPENS Program is funded by the U.S. SBA Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs (PRIME). OPENS focuses on connecting low-income microentrepreneurs to vital services, access to capital, and other common start-up barriers to improve new-business formation rates. “Microentrepreneurs typically have five or fewer employees. Access to NIIC resources and support, and exposure to new networks, can be fundamental to their success,” said LaPan.

This program offers no-cost business coaching and start-up training to eligible microentrepreneurs in Northeast and East Central Indiana.

WBC EmPWR is a one-year initiative funded by the U.S. SBA Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO). It runs through April 2021 and focuses on women business owners adapting their businesses for success during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program empowers female founders to innovate, reimagine business models, gain resiliency through tools and resources to create more sustainable and viable ventures. EmPWR is available to Hoosiers living in Indiana who are not served by the Central Indiana Women’s Business Center. Learn more about WBC EmPWR and apply for the program by clicking here. https://theniic.org/empwr/

WEOC Program achieved its five-year milestone this year and serves women business owners at all stages of their entrepreneurial journeys. Nearly 2,000 women business owners have participated in WEOC.

WEOC’s Launch Women Business Builder Program serves female-founded digital, e-commerce, app, or web-based businesses at no cost to participants. Participants build a business action plan and complete market research and strategies. They receive management assistance, coaching, strategic planning, and more. The goal is to increase business guidance and education for women of all socioeconomic statuses across 16 Indiana counties.

About The NIIC

467 new products launched, 189 patent applications submitted or granted, and 2,290 jobs created—that is what entrepreneurs have achieved through The NIIC since its inception 20 years ago. The NIIC has also connected Northeast Indiana companies to attract $91 million in grants and capital.

The NIIC is a non-profit, vibrant entrepreneurial community designed to advise entrepreneurs to plan, launch, and grow successful business ventures by moving ideas into action. The NIIC’s 55-acre campus is a U.S. Small Business Administration HUB Zone and a designated Opportunity Zone through the U.S. Treasury. The NIIC is the country’s only ISO9001:2015 registered business incubation and acceleration program. The NIIC received global recognition in 2020 as the International Business Innovation Association’s Mixed-Use Entrepreneur Center of the Year and recipient of the prestigious Dinah Adkins Award, one of InBIA’s top two honors.  TheNIIC.org. Click here for The NIIC press kit.

Contact: Tammy Allen, Director, Marketing & Programs, tallen@niic.net, 260-407-1731

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08.20.20

Opportunity Amid Distress

Great Reimagination aims to jump-start post-COVID-19 economy by innovation

COVID-19 hijacked the American economy. Early estimates suggest more than 20% of small businesses will close permanently. Companies with underrepresented, diverse founders reportedly face even higher closure rates.

Unemployment has surged, and many of the jobs are not coming back. Companies adjust workforces and business models to adapt to new marketplace realities.

The Great Reimagination is a phrase coined at The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center. It describes what we predict is the next wave of business innovation and expansion for Indiana and the world.

It is time to cultivate and nurture a new cadre of generative, courageous, adaptive business leaders – innovators with the passion and drive to redefine business models, redevelop products and reinvent services for a post-COVID-19 economy.

COVID-19 affects companies and our daily lives. Changing consumer behavior creates economic pressure, driving businesses to change, too. The Indiana economy needs revolutionary breakthroughs from inventors and disruptors. It needs to usher in a new generation of entrepreneurs and startups. Economic distress creates opportunity. Opportunity breeds entrepreneurship.

Northeast Indiana remains a dynamic marketplace for cultivating new business growth.

Our region boasts resources to help Hoosiers to innovate through the Great Reimagination. The innovation center brings together workspace, capital, talent and expertise to fuel economic recovery driven by a resurgence of entrepreneurial spirit.

Through national, state, regional and local collaborations, The center inspires, supports and accelerates the hometown team. Over the past several years, underrepresented entrepreneurs have especially been a focus as we work to level the playing field for them. Multiple funders back these individuals through our new and existing programs.

Individuals served through these programs may include women, rural residents, immigrants, minorities, veterans, those with disabilities, the formerly incarcerated and others. Our programs encourage these individuals to overcome barriers to form and sustain business ventures.

For example, our Breakthrough Program, funded by the Foellinger Foundation, connects historically excluded aspiring business owners to sources for advising, training, business planning, assessments, coaching and more.

OPENS – the Optimized Path for Entrepreneurial Network Success – connects low-income microentrepreneurs, whose companies have fewer than nine employees, to vital services, access to capital and business coaching.

The Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center is one of two federal Small Business Administration-funded women business centers in the state.

Since its formation five years ago, more than 2,000 female business owners have benefited through workshops, training, business coaching and mentoring.

The center’s newest program emerged as a solution for women business owners dealing with the realities of a COVID-19 economy. WBC EmPWR (Equity and Prosperity for Women Reimagining their Businesses) empowers women to reimagine business models for success despite COVID-19.

The Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership funds this one-year program that runs through April 2021.

The federally funded FAST-IN Program aids inventors, researchers, scientists and small businesses pursuing funding for research and development through Small Business Technology Transfer and Small Business Innovation Research grants.

Such funding helped Engine Research Associates, Inc. evolve from the founder’s hobby, located in the family garage, into a family-owned business that advances U.S. Department of Defense initiatives.

This statewide program targets Opportunity Zones and underrepresented scientific and professional knowledge workers. The goal is to fund key applied development and commercialization activities. Our center resides in an Opportunity Zone.

The Connected Health Lab is creating a statewide network of researchers and innovators to stimulate cutting-edge breakthroughs to apply Internet-of-Things technology to health sciences to transform health care delivery.

Hoosiers, it is time to step up, make the most of these opportunities and get our economy back on track.

Reimagine a business model to address the realities of our new economy.

Reinvent a product to transform old ways of doing things.

Create a breakthrough idea for a new service to meet consumers where they are today.

Become a business owner who hinges your company’s growth to disrupting established industries.

Start a business to free you from the frustration of your income being dependent on other people’s decisions.

Act on your passion and commitment to launch your own business.

Now is our time. The Great Reimagination offers abundant opportunities to pummel the pandemic, sow seeds of innovation and grow prosperous businesses.

Karl R. LaPan is president and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center.

07.07.20

July webinars for business builders, a focus on connected health and digital tools for employment

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

July 7, 2020, Fort Wayne, Ind.— The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center will host two webinars in July for entrepreneurs and business builders.

On July 16,  from noon to 1:30 p.m. (EDT), the Connected Health Lab (CHL) of The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center will present Third Thursday Connections, featuring a virtual panel discussion on insurance technology. This is also known as insurtech and is an integral part of the booming industry of virtual health. Brian O’Hara, Strategic Engagement Advisor, FBI, Indianapolis Division, and Greg Perigo, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Indiana Tech, will serve as panelists.

O’Hara has been practicing information security for more than 20 years specializing in security, audit, and risk management in the healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing sectors. A frequent conference speaker, O’Hara is the author or editor of numerous articles and publications and is a Fellow in the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA).

“Insurance companies are using technology in the form of apps, wearables, and telehealth to provide better service and help patients manage their health. In our increasingly connected world, security and privacy are a top priority for both patients and providers,” said Jessica Carender, Partner Engagement Manager, The NIIC. “Our panelists will address what has changed due to COVD-19 pandemic, changes needed, and how innovative healthcare technologies impact individuals.”

To register for this no-cost, live stream webinar, visit https://theniic.org/our-events/.

On July 22, from noon to 1:00 p.m. (EDT), the annual Digital Skills Summer School will offer an overview of digital tools for employment.  “This is especially relevant for employees who have been furloughed due to COVID-19 pandemic or small business owners who have closed their businesses as a result of the pandemic. We also have clients who offer job-search services and can connect them to these businesses,” said Leslee Hill, WEOC Program Director, The NIIC. Job seekers will learn how to discover new employment opportunities using Google Search. The virtual workshop will also present tips for using G Suite tools to organize the job search experience. In addition, the program will present strategies to improve your resume, tips to help you communicate effectively online, best practices for virtual interviews, and the latest job-search resources from Google and other partners.

“Our live-streamed Digital Skills Summer School program is particularly designed for job seekers, students, and recent graduates,” said Hill.  The no-cost webinar is sponsored by WEOC and SCORE Northeast Indiana. Registration is required at https://theniic.org/our-events/

About The NIIC

467 new products launched, 189 patent applications submitted or granted, and 2,290 jobs created—that is what entrepreneurs have achieved through The NIIC since its inception 20 years ago. The NIIC has also connected Northeast Indiana companies to attract $91 million in grants and capital.

The NIIC is a non-profit, vibrant entrepreneurial community designed to advise entrepreneurs to plan, launch, and grow successful business ventures by moving ideas into action. The NIIC’s 55-acre campus is a U.S. Small Business Administration HUB Zone and a designated Opportunity Zone through the U.S. Treasury. The NIIC is the country’s only ISO9001:2015 registered business incubation and acceleration program. The NIIC received global recognition in 2020 as the International Business Innovation Association’s Mixed-Use Entrepreneur Center of the Year and recipient of the prestigious Dinah Adkins Award, one of InBIA’s top two honors.  TheNIIC.org. Click here for The NIIC press kit.

 

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07.03.20

Fort Wayne’s Northeast Indiana Innovation Center receives international tech incubator awards

Excerpt

The International Business Innovation Association honored the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center in Fort Wayne with two awards late last month during a fireside chat at its International Conference on Business Incubation.

The NIIC received the Dinah Adkins Award, which is one of the association’s two top honors. It also received the Entrepreneur Center of the Year 2020: Mixed Use Award.

“It is an honor for the NIIC, our clients, partners, funders, and our team to be recognized by our peers,” Karl LaPan, the center’s president and CEO, said in an announcement.

“Our clients at the NIIC have created economic and community impact and contributed greatly to our mission of higher-quality, higher-paying jobs and companies,” he said.

The Adkins award recognizes centers for excellence in the tradition of business incubation pioneer Dinah Adkins, who led the Ohio University Incubation Center and was a founding member of the association, which she led from 1988 to 2009.

The Entrepreneur Center of the Year 2020: Mixed Use Award goes to centers without a specific industry niche that serve a broad range of companies.

Click here to read full article on FWBusiness.com.

06.25.20

Indiana Incubator Receives Global Recognition, InBIA Presents Two Awards to The NIIC

For immediate release 

June 25, 2020, Fort Wayne, Ind.— Today the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA) awarded the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (The NIIC) two awards: the 2020 Dinah Adkins Award and the Entrepreneur Center of the Year 2020: Mixed Use Award. Charles Ross, InBIA Interim President, announced the awards during the 34th International Conference on Business Incubation during a fireside chat. “Thank you for leading by example and providing inspiration to entrepreneurs across the globe,” said Ross. The InBIA recognizes high-impact, member organizations at the annual International Conference of Business Incubation. This year’s conference is being held virtually due to COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is an honor for The NIIC, our clients, partners, funders, and our team to be recognized by our peers at the International Business Innovation Association for the 2020 Dinah Adkins Award and the Entrepreneur Center of the Year 2020: Mixed-Use. Our clients at The NIIC have created economic and community impact and contributed greatly to our mission of higher quality, higher paying jobs and companies,” said Karl R. LaPan, President and CEO, The NIIC.

“We are so appreciative of the visible and prestigious incubation community recognition, to bring inclusive entrepreneurial programming, best in class resources, and our focus on industry best practices and operational excellence. Our economic impact and success; however, is because of the dedication and commitment of our clients who strive every day to make our community and world a better place,” said LaPan.

The Dinah Adkins Award is one of two of InBIA’s industry top honors and recognizes entrepreneurship centers with proven track records of excellence. The award honors the legacy of Dinah Adkins, a pioneer in the field of business incubation. She led the Ohio University Incubation Center and was a founding member of InBIA. She served as president and CEO of InBIA from 1988 to 2009.

The Entrepreneurship Center of the Year 2020: Mixed Use award recognizes organizations serving a broad range of companies and not focused on a specific industry niche.  Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, The NIIC has implemented initiatives to serve women business builders, technology companies, healthcare innovators, and emerging entrepreneurs from underestimated/underserved communities including the disabled, veterans, immigrants, rural residents, minorities, formerly incarcerated and the hardest to employ.

About InBIA
The International Business Innovators Association (inbia.org ) is a global nonprofit organization that has welcomed and supported entrepreneurial organizations for over 30 years. Serving a diverse group of entrepreneurship centers, program managers, directors, and policymakers, InBIA helps guide, mentor, and develop sustainable entrepreneur support programs in every industry and demographic around the globe. InBIA’s goal is to enrich the entire ecosystem by providing industry resources, education, events, and global programming to help members better serve the needs of their unique communities and regions. InBIA’s mission is to help communities enable their entrepreneurs to transform their dreams into innovative businesses that make global prosperity a reality.

About The NIIC

467 new products launched, 189 patent applications submitted or granted, and 2,290 jobs created—that is what entrepreneurs have achieved through The NIIC since its inception two decades ago. The NIIC has also connected Northeast Indiana companies to attract $91 million in grants and capital.

The NIIC is a non-profit, vibrant entrepreneurial community designed to advise entrepreneurs to plan, launch, and grow successful business ventures. The NIIC bolsters innovative companies to move ideas into action. The NIIC is located in a designated U.S. Small Business Administration HUB Zone. In April 2018, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb designated The Northeast Indiana Innovation Park Campus as an Opportunity Zone through the U.S. Treasury. The NIIC is the country’s only ISO9001:2015 registered business incubation and acceleration program. TheNIIC.org. Click here for The NIIC press kit.

06.12.20

Stre.me helps employers minimize workforce biases

Excerpt

Given recent events dominating national news, Jack Patton offered an extremely timely presentation when the first five founders to complete the local version of the gBETA business development program met June 9 to celebrate the occasion.

They had started the six-week program together late in April and concluded it by showing off pitches they honed to attract investment in their startups. The event took place virtually as a COVID-19 adjustment.

Patton is CEO of Stre.me, which helps human resources professionals and their employers minimize biases and resulting inequities.

The software-as-a-service platform it developed to accomplish that manages unconscious biases to improve patient satisfaction and outcomes and hospital profitability. But it also could prove useful for other types of employers, such as “law, health insurance, education, retail, banking and municipalities, specifically first responders,” he said in the presentation.

He could not have known when he started going through the gBETA program that tens of thousands of protesters would be clamoring in the streets for justice every night since May 25, when Minnesotan George Floyd died while begging police to allow him to breathe.

“Bias is pervasive, and every person has bias,” Anne Marie Labenberg, the company’s chief equity officer, said in an email after the pitch celebration.

“The recent demonstrations have greatly increased awareness of the effects of unconscious bias on others, specifically related to law enforcement, but also in the everyday lives of minoritized people,” she said.

“You cannot eliminate all bias, but STRE.ME’s system holds individuals accountable to manage their biases, make better decisions, and, in turn, reduce the bias and inequity that exists in all professions.”

Click here to read the full article on FWBusiness.com.

06.09.20

Tech Deserves Your Intention Not Your Attention

Jason Pennington, Executive Director, Indiana IoT Lab

Webinar Focuses on Innovative Solutions in Healthcare

For Immediate Release

June 9, 2020, Fort Wayne, Ind.—NIIC Connected Health Lab Third Thursday Connections resumes June 18, 2020, 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., with a virtual program featuring Jason Pennington, Executive Director, Indiana IoT Lab. He is an expert in the Internet of Things and will present a live webinar titled Tech Deserves Your Intention, Not your Attention.

“Current and emerging technologies have the potential to transform our world. However, technology alone does not solve problems. Today’s best IoT initiatives require our collective efforts, collaborative culture, and willingness to embrace change and create intention,” Pennington said.

There is no charge for the webinar. Reservations are required. Click here to register for the event.

“This webinar is for business leaders interested in how the Internet of Things can lead to breakthroughs in healthcare and advances in public health. As we’ve seen with telemedicine initiatives during the COVID-19 pandemic, innovation can create new opportunities for both patients and health-care providers,” said Jessica Carender, Partner Engagement Manager, The NIIC.

The webinar will address customer-centric outcomes with IoT applications, including innovations in connected healthcare. Webinar participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and explore the rewards and challenges of leading an IoT startup company.

Jason Pennington has more than 20 years of experience in process automation, specifically in the area of applying sensors, software and services in a variety of industrial, agricultural, and municipal sectors. He successfully held leadership, management, and business development positions with national and global divisions of Endress + Hauser.

The NIIC Connected Health Lab is strategically located in Fort Wayne and brings together entrepreneurs, innovators, and investment groups to develop new markets and products in healthcare technology. For more information, visit theniic.org/iot.

About The NIIC

467 new products launched, 189 patent applications submitted or granted, and 2,290 jobs created—that is what entrepreneurs have achieved through The NIIC since its inception two decades ago. The NIIC has also connected Northeast Indiana companies to attract $91 million in grants and capital.

The NIIC is a non-profit, vibrant entrepreneurial community designed to advise entrepreneurs to plan, launch, and grow successful business ventures. The NIIC bolsters innovative companies to move ideas into action. The NIIC is located in a designated U.S. Small Business Administration HUB Zone. In April 2018, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb designated The Northeast Indiana Innovation Park Campus as an Opportunity Zone through the U.S. Treasury. The NIIC is the country’s only ISO9001:2015 registered business incubation and acceleration program. TheNIIC.org. Click here for The NIIC press kit.