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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11.09.20

Kiva Hub microlending program opens in northeast Indiana,

State’s second Kiva Hub provides capital to small businesses

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

November 9, 2020, Fort Wayne, Ind.— Start-ups and small businesses in Northeast Indiana now have a new option for securing capital. Kiva Hub Northeast Indiana, a crowdfunded microlending center, has opened at The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (The NIIC) with the collaboration and support of The City of Fort Wayne, SEED, and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

Kiva Hub is designed for business owners who may lack access to traditional financing. “The collaborators are unified in their goal of promoting and encouraging microentrepreneurship by inclusive and diverse business builders. The Kiva Hub is focused on preparing underestimated founders for business and financing opportunities to fuel and fund their business launch and support their early-stage growth,” stated Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO, The NIIC.

“Kiva connects aspiring entrepreneurs with capital in a unique way,” said Jami Thomas, NIIC Grants Compliance Specialist and Kiva-Capital Access Manager. “It provides a non-traditional opportunity for business owners who may have faced obstacles through those lending sources. Through Kiva Northeast Indiana business builders may obtain crowd-sourced loans. Community-minded funders can invest in local start-ups and small businesses knowing that their contributions will help build the regional economy and put Hoosiers to work.”

Thomas completed the Kiva certification process in August, which opened this opportunity to Northeast Indiana entrepreneurs seeking funding. Within a week’s time, Thomas was coaching a client, who successfully secured her funding within 10 days.

Kiva Hub Northeast Indiana offers distinct advantages to newer, smaller businesses that may lack credit history to secure a traditional bank loan. Kiva will not reject an entrepreneur because of their credit, net worth, or years in business. Rather, Kiva’s crowd-sourced model determines borrowers’ creditworthiness through social underwriting based on character and reputation.

Through Kiva Northeast Indiana, individuals can support loans to local entrepreneurs with contributions beginning at $25. These funds are pooled and loaned to entrepreneurs. Borrowers can access up to $10,000 at zero percent interest with no fees. Globally, Kiva loans have a 97% or better repayment rate.

Kiva is a global nonprofit organization that takes its name from a Swahili word meaning agreement or unity. Since its founding in 2005, Kiva’s crowd-funded lending platform has brought together entrepreneurs and investors in 89 countries worldwide. In the United States, Kiva has addressed financial exclusion by connecting 5,500 borrowers to 230,000 lenders and facilitating loans totaling $29 million.

“The graduates of our Build Institute Business Education Program frequently need micro-financing. The NIIC’s Kiva Hub is going to be a game changer for those startups,” said Trois Hart, SEED Fort Wayne Director. “The City of Fort Wayne is working diligently to help provide opportunities for women and people of color who are under connected to funding, information, and other resources needed to successfully launch a business.”

Small businesses are an essential part of the economy, creating two out of every three new jobs in the United States.

“The IEDC understands the importance of creating an inclusive access to capital culture in our entrepreneurial ecosystem. Through innovative programs like the Kiva Hub, Northeast Indiana can capitalize on providing both the business advisory services and increasing access to the first rung of the capital ladder. That often can make the difference in whether a new venture starts, or an existing one can grow,” stated Mark Wasky, Vice-President Innovation & Strategic Initiatives, Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC).

The NIIC coaches and guides entrepreneurs through the process of securing funding to help increase their odds of success.

Kiva Hub aligns well with The NIIC’s ongoing commitment to inclusive entrepreneurship (https://theniic.org/inclusive-entrepreneurship). The NIIC currently operates five additional programs designed to reduce barriers to business-building often faced by women, minorities, immigrants, formerly incarcerated individuals, veterans, and rural residents. The NIIC’s inclusive entrepreneurship programs are designed to empower diverse founders to fully realize their economic and human potential through entrepreneurship.

Kiva Northeast Indiana is the organization’s second microlending center in Indiana. Bankable in Anderson is the Kiva Hub for the greater Indianapolis area.

About Kiva

Established in 2005 as the world’s first personal micro-lending website, Kiva enables everyday people to pool lending contributions as little as $25 to provide financial access to entrepreneurs in developing communities across the globe. Since its beginning, serving loans to a handful of fishmongers in eastern Uganda, Kiva has grown to enable over 1.7 million lenders worldwide to lend a combined $1.2 billion to more than 2.6million entrepreneurs in 89 countries around the world. Kiva has been able to reach this global scale while still maintaining a 97% repayment rate.

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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10.26.20

New Program Aims to Grow Innovation Capacity

Excerpt

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

FORT WAYNE – The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center in Fort Wayne is launching a program designed to grow the region’s capacity for innovation. The center says the Innovator Mindset Mastermind program shares content created by entrepreneur Dennis Stauffer, which includes tools that can help business owners and entrepreneurs through an innovation capacity growth process. The tools include four, 90-minute discussions as well as peer-to-peer mentoring, community building and support.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Women’s Business Center EmPWR Program Manager Sarah Lance said the immersive program is different than typical mastermind programs.

“Innovation capacity is something you can grow,” says Lance. “It’s different than your personality which might be kind of set. Innovation is something that you can continue to grow in and do better over time.”

The free, online program is being hosted through a virtual format that allows participants from around the state to take part. The monthly cohorts can be as big as 15, but Lance says ideally, the program aims to serve five to seven business owners in each cohort.

“Because we are sponsored by the SBA Office of Women Business Ownership, we are required to market to women, but the program is available to everyone,” said Lance. “And, we are certainly seeking to serve women as well as diverse and underserved entrepreneurs through the programming.”

Click here for full article on InsideIndianaBusiness.com.

10.20.20

Crowdfunding Microlending Center Launched in Fort Wayne

Excerpt

FORT WAYNE – Startups and small businesses in northeast Indiana that struggle to obtain traditional funding have a new option for securing capital.

Nonprofit business incubator The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center has launched the Kiva Hub Northeast Indiana, a crowdfunded microlending center.

The NIIC says this approach to funding offers distinct advantages to newer, smaller businesses that may lack a credit history to secure a traditional bank loan.

“Kiva connects aspiring entrepreneurs with capital in a unique way,” said Jami Thomas, NIIC grants compliance specialist and Kiva-Capital access manager. “Through Kiva Northeast Indiana, business builders may obtain crowd-sourced loans.”

The NIIC says the money comes from people in the community who want to support others by loaning sums as small as $25.

“Community-minded funders can invest in local start-ups and small businesses knowing that their contributions will help build the regional economy and put Hoosiers to work,” said Thomas.

Thomas says Kiva will not reject an entrepreneur because of their credit, net worth, or years in business. Rather, Kiva’s crowd-sourced model determines borrowers’ creditworthiness through social underwriting based on character and reputation.

Borrowers can access up to $10,000 at zero percent interest with no fees. According to The NIIC, Kiva loans have a 97% or better repayment rate.

The NIIC lending hub was developed in partnership with the city of Fort Wayne, The Summit City Entrepreneur and Enterprise District, and the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

Click here for the full story on InsideIndianaBusiness.com.

10.19.20

New Mastermind for Women Business Owners Provides Inspiration for Growth and Innovation Mindset

For immediate release

October 19, 2020, Fort Wayne, Ind. Women-led and owned businesses have a new option to pursue innovation and growth. The NIIC EmPWR Program is launching an Innovation Mindset® Mastermind, which will guide business owners and entrepreneurs through an Innovation capacity growth process. This differs from typical masterminds, which last six months to a year for a dedicated cohort. For more information or to apply, visit https://theniic.org/innovator-mindset-masterminds/.

The new Innovation Mindset Masterminds are short-term, immersive, and collaborative experiences for women business builders. Participants will collaborate through four weekly, 90-minute discussions, peer-to-peer mentoring, community building, and mutual support. The Innovation Mindset Mastermind programs and the Innovator Mindset assessment are offered by The NIIC at no charge to participants through generous funding by the Office of Women Owned Small Business as part of the WBC EmPWR Grant.

The Masterminds kick off on November 3, 2020. The application and registration for cohorts from November through April 2021 can be completed at https://theniic.org/innovator-mindset-masterminds/.

The Innovator Mindset® assessment was created by Dennis Stauffer after extensive research into innovation and entrepreneurship. The assessment offers business owners insights about their personal inclination toward the  innovation cycle, then leads participants through a series of online modules designed to grow innovation capacity. The first step is to measure business owners’ “Innovativeness Index.”

“The Innovator Mindset® methodology will enable Mastermind participants to measure their capacity for creating and delivering value to customers. Business owners will be challenged to improve performance by reexamining their values, assumptions, and leadership behaviors,” said Sarah Lance, NIIC EmPWR Program Manager.

“We anticipate participants will use the feedback from this program to expand their capacities for creating new business value,” Lance added. “It is an excellent tool for aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs to gain the tools for becoming elite business leaders in every industry.”

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 the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster.  It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.

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10.05.20

7th Annual Ideas @ Work Signature Entrepreneurial Celebration Event

Featuring Keynote from Global Innovation Leader and Technology Expert Wendy Kennedy

For immediate release

October 5, 2020, Fort Wayne, Ind. The Indiana entrepreneurial community, educators, and business leaders can celebrate the entrepreneurial community and be inspired to enact winning ideas by Wendy Kennedy, President and Founder, WKI-wendykennedy.com. Kennedy is a global innovation, design thinking and technology expert; an award-winning professor; and author. Her Livestream keynote talk, on November 12, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., entitled Ignite the Spark—Inspire Innovation During a Pandemic will be an entrepreneurial event you will not want to miss. Registration is open on the Ideas@Work website page on TheNIIC.Org.

The NIIC offers this opportunity to learn from Kennedy through its annual Ideas@Work signature event. “Our world is amid a Great Reimagination—the next wave of business innovation and expansion—triggered by the pandemic. It is up to each of us how we will move forward by sparking innovation in rethinking our business models, reimagining our core business and realizing our individual creative potential. Wendy’s expertise, perspective, and experience will prompt participants to translate ideas into business opportunities,” said Karl R. LaPan, NIIC President and CEO.

This year, as a posthumous honor of The NIIC’s dear friend and colleague, the event’s new name is The Dr. Daryl R. Yost Ideas@Work Event. Dr. Yost was an incredible educator, innovator, and philanthropic leader in our community. He was instrumental in the formation and execution of the Ideas@Work signature event series and inspired students, educators, and leaders to be active participants in The NIIC’s special signature fundraising event.

During this year’s event, the Mirro Founder Award will be presented to a NIIC client to celebrate outstanding accomplishments  during this past year. The NIIC will also introduce a new award at the event: The Daryl R. Yost Excellence in Philanthropy Award.

WKI is no stranger to the Northeast Indiana entrepreneurial community. Four of The NIIC’s leadership team members are WKI Certified Coaches.

“Wendy’s global business building and innovation expertise is a great fit for Ideas@Work because it is more than an event. The WKI methodology has helped innovators put their ideas on the payload of a spacecraft, launch new drug discoveries, and help startups turn their ideas into winning businesses,” said LaPan.

Ideas@Work past keynote speakers include leading entrepreneurs and thought leaders Santiago Jaramillo, CEO and Co-founder, Emplify; Angie Hicks, Co-founder of Angie’s List; Dr. Donald Kuratko (Dr. K.) of The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University; Chuck Surack, CEO and Founder, Sweetwater;  J.B. Bernstein, Legendary Sports Marketing Pioneer; and Eric Doden, President, Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

For further information and to register, see https://theniic.org/ideasatwork.

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.

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09.25.20

Help available for women starting tech companies

Excerpt

Indiana women starting and growing new technology companies are invited to apply through Oct. 9 for the Launch Women Business Builders program, an initiative of the WEOC Women’s Business Center at the NIIC.

Participants establish and grow their businesses through this three-phase program: Phase 1 Business Model (12-week duration), Phase 2 Implementation (6-month duration), Phase 3 Growth (3-month duration). The program includes one-to-one business coaching, peer-to-peer mentoring, training and workshops, shared workspace at the NIIC, the NIIC Navigator Learning Management System, potential funding to fuel business growth, and access to the NIIC’s extended talent network.

Cohort 6 will be announced mid-October, and the program is set to begin the week of Oct. 26. Up to 10 companies may be accepted into the program. Once accepted into the program, participants invest in a $299 program fee. Up to five program participants may be eligible for up to $1,000 non-dilutive funding at the completion of Phase 2.

09.15.20

Education Counts Michiana – Innovation Moshpit

Click here to view this segment.

Excerpt

About this Segment: Innovation Moshpit

For small business owners, the name of the game is innovation, but learning how to innovate isn’t always easy. Through the Innovation Moshpit at the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center in Fort Wayne, small business owners are being equipped with the tools to make it through any situation.

Guests:

  • Karl LaPan, President & CEO, Northeast Indiana Innovation Center
  • Sarah Lance, Program Manager, Northeast Indiana Innovation Center
  • Gregg Fraley, CEO, Gregg Fraley Innovation
  • Kelli Parker, Owner,Evolutions of Infinit