05.11.21

Northeast Indiana Business Owners Invited to Brave Leadership Discussions, Based on Dare to Lead Book

Photo by The NIIC

May 13, 2021, Fort Wayne, Ind. Are you ready to engage in brave leadership discussions? Women’s Business Center (WBC) EmPWR Program announces a four-week study of Dare to Lead by Brené Brown. The study will be led by Sarah Lance, Program Manager, WBC EmPWR Program, and presented at The NIIC. Participants are welcome to attend in person or virtually. Register here.

“Earlier this year, we hosted Embrace the Suck | A Woman’s Entrepreneurial Journey, a two-day workshop for women business owners. We worked with Sabrina Moon, Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator, to customize the training for participants based on Dare to Lead concepts. We limited attendance due to COVID-19 Pandemic, and interest remains high. We value the content of this training and its transformative powers for leaders. That’s why we’re extending the discussions,” said Lance.

Brown is a five-time number-one New York Times bestselling author, including Dare to Lead. She has stated how much the response to her TEDxHouston talk, “The Power of Vulnerability,” surprised her by trending on social media, with current viewership estimated at more than 53 million.

Brown writes, “One of the most important findings of my career is that daring leadership is a collection of four skill sets that are 100% teachable, observable, and measurable. It’s learning and unlearning that requires brave work, tough conversation, and showing up with your whole heart. Easy? No. Because choosing courage over comfort is not always our default. Worth it? Always. We want to be brave with our lives and our work. It’s why we’re here.”

“If you own a business, lead others, or prepare to lead others, this book discussion is right for you. This book is for anyone who wants to step up and into brave leadership,” said Lance. “I encourage all participants to read or listen to the audio version of Dare to Lead and take the Daring Leadership Assessment. The assessment is specific to you and will reveal your leadership opportunities for growth. This will be useful to inform your participation to get the most out of our discussions,” said Lance.

The Dare to Lead book discussions begin Wednesday, May 26, 2021. Four weekly discussions will be held from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. and will also be available via live stream.

Register here

05.11.21

Resiliency Training Available for Indiana Business Owners

Aimed at Increasing Success through Harnessing Failure

May 11, 2021, Fort Wayne, Ind.—Entrepreneurship is not easy. It often includes struggling to make payroll, launching products people will buy or chasing that next big idea. Successful business ownership takes resilience. In this spirit, The NIIC created new training for business owners, The Resilient Entrepreneur: Building Success and Surviving Setbacks. Sarah Lance, WBC EmPWR Program Manager, The NIIC, will facilitate and lead the training, which is high-value offered at no charge to participants through the EmPWR Program. Register here.

At the core of this training are the principles taught by innovation and entrepreneurial experts John Danner and Mark Coopersmith, authors of The Other “F” Word, How Smart Leaders, Teams, and Entrepreneurs Put Failure to Work. Designed to help business builders thrive, it provides tools to improve the odds of success by turning failures into strategic resources. “Great innovators build on failure. Through a structured set of immersive, hands-on experiences guided by two of the very best thought leaders on failure, you will activate, upskill, and nurture your business resilience. By doing so, you will anticipate and lean into future pivots, gain business insights, and confidently navigate the choppy waters of change,” said Karl R. LaPan, NIIC President and CEO.

Two live sessions kick off the training, followed by 10 15-minute videos, an application exercise, and discussion. Danner and Coopersmith will lead the two live sessions. “Failure’s like gravity. It’s everywhere—a fact of life for every organization at every organizational phase, from startup to growing business and established enterprise,” John Danner and Mark Coopersmith, The Other “F” Word.

Lance will facilitate the live sessions, with the first one to focus on an overview and key traits of resilient entrepreneurs. The second live session will be a clinic to discuss participants’ specific challenges and general Q&A. These are followed by the training videos and applications, which are available online using NIIC Navigator® Learning Management Tool. Lance recommends augmenting the online training with WBC EmPWR one-on-one coaching.

Register for the program here

About WBC EmPWR Program

The Women’s Business Center (WBC) EmPWR Program is funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership and serves clients in 83 Indiana counties. The EmPWR Program brings together the experts, resources, and tools business builders need to get back on track from COVID-19. We specifically serve women-owned businesses – from individual entrepreneurs to businesses with many employees in multiple locations. We work with anyone who needs our support. For more information, visit https://theniic.org/empwr/.

 

05.07.21

Partnership Aims to Ease Entrepreneurial Struggle,

LivePlan Now Available for Indiana Small Businesses

May 7, 2021, Fort Wayne, Ind. Entrepreneurs often struggle with the business planning aspects of preparing an investment pitch, the financial statements that accompany them, and walking through crucial elements of their business model. In partnership with Palo Alto Software, The NIIC announces it will provide access to this high-value tool to at least 50 small businesses in Indiana. Access is at no charge for a  defined period of time for accepted participants through The NIIC’s WBC EmPWR Program.

LivePlan provides structure and consistent methods to navigate the entrepreneur through the maze of choices and decisions to tell their story more credibly with investors, financial institutions, and other stakeholders. If you have struggled in the past or want to have a tool to take your business planning to the next level, LivePlan is worth the time you invest,” said Karl R. LaPan, NIIC President and CEO.

According to Palo Alto Software, companies that plan and track against their plan experience 30% faster growth than those that don’t. LivePlan cloud-based software provides the tools needed for small businesses to achieve this.

  • One-page plan template for a fundable business plan;
  • A step-by-step planning process, including prompts and tutorials within the platform;
  • Automatic financial tools and dashboards for planning, budgeting, forecasting, profit and loss, key financial assumptions, etc;
  • Industry benchmark planning, performance dashboards, and smart budgets and forecasts tools; and
  • 500+ sample plans.

Sarah Lance, NIIC WBC EmPWR Program Manager, describes LivePlan as an amazing platform, business plan-making magic. “It has tools and features to build your business plan and also to plan for long-term sustainability. I encourage small business owners to either work the plan at their own pace or pair it with WBC EmPWR one-on-one business coaching,” said Lance.

“It is always exciting to see the innovative programs and resources the WBC EmPWR Program discovers and offers to their clients,” said U. S. Small Business Administration Acting Regional Administrator and Indiana District Director Stacey Poynter. “It’s an honor to have them as a resource partner providing ideas, access and solutions to Indiana entrepreneurs.”

The process is easy. Apply here. Please note you must login at least weekly to continue your complementary three-month access. Longer access may be granted if you are making progress toward your plan.

https://northestindianainnovationcenter.formstack.com/forms/empwr_2021live_plan

Login credentials will be sent upon processing of your application.

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

About WBC EmPWR Program

The Women’s Business Center (WBC) EmPWR Program is funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership and serves clients in 83 Indiana counties. The EmPWR Program brings together the experts, resources and tools business builders need to get back on track from COVID-19. We specifically serve women-owned businesses – from individual entrepreneurs to businesses with many employees in multiple locations. We work with anyone who needs our support. For more information, visit https://theniic.org/empwr/.

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. Additionally, the International Business Innovation Association (inbia.org) recognized the NIIC as the 2020 Entrepreneur Center of the Year – Mixed-use and awarded it one of the two prestigious industry awards – the 2020 Dinah Adkins Award. TheNIIC.org. Click here for The NIIC press kit.

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04.15.21

Crowdsourced Microloans Advance Small Businesses

Owners Receive Kiva Northeast Indiana Funding

April 15, 2021, Fort Wayne, Ind.— With an average of 188 lenders and global syndicates, at an average of $114.62 per funded loan, Northeast Indiana received an infusion of $49,000 in crowdsourced microloans since Kiva Northeast Indiana began nine months ago. This month, Kiva Northeast Indiana hit a milestone of 10 funded loans and is one of 30 hubs in the United States.

Katrina Tucker, Founder and Owner, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Emporium LLC, was the Kiva Program’s first client. “My children inspired me to start my business. One Easter, I decided to make their Easter dresses. The rest is history. When COVID hit, I needed to figure out how I was going to keep my business going,” Tucker said. “We needed some new equipment. I learned about Kiva, applied, and it all happened so fast! My funding happened in just a few days. We were able to purchase the equipment needed to keep the business going.”

Sarah Heredia, owner of Sovereign DFW, reflected on the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic created for her business. “I signed the lease for building space two weeks before the COVID shutdown. The lease was only for the space and not the full interior build-out we needed to occupy. We also needed to pay for the signage required on the building and the pylon sign.” Heredia was able to cover the cost of the new sign with the Kiva loan. “When the Kiva loan happened, we funded and were able to pay for our signage. The whole process was quick and painless.”

Heredia said the best thing about the KIVA funding was, “Seeing people from all over the world learn your story and believe in you enough to invest in you through a loan. Seeing people you didn’t know invest in you is amazing.”

Connecting the Pieces Playroom Founder and Owner Christiane Rogers used her loan to build inventory, pay rent, and payroll. “I would recommend Kiva to any business owner needing a financial boost, building business credit, or needing financial help. The best part of the process was watching lenders come in daily and then completing the funding within a few days. One of the most challenging parts of the process was deciding who I was going to ask for initial help or funding, especially during the pandemic.”

“I see my business evolving into an entity with no boundaries, making a difference in the lives of all those who come to enjoy the experience of Connecting the Pieces Playroom sensory gym.”

All in One Cakes and Events is a full-service event company founded and owned by Tee Cook. “My Kiva loan helped me to purchase new equipment and renew my Board of Health certification. My family keeps me going. As a mom of all boys, it’s important to show them resilience, ambition and that no matter how hard it gets, never give up,” said Cook.

“I recommend Kiva Northeast Indiana and share about the benefits of a KIVA loan with many others. Crowdfunding worked well for me, and it was quick. Luckily, I have a few great people who support me. Getting funded was the best part of the process! It was like accomplishing a big goal for my business.” Cook plans to open a brick-and-mortar location this year.

These are some examples of businesses funded through Kiva Northeast Indiana. “Kiva loans strengthen families and benefit our community. It was an honor to help the 10 businesses receive the funding needed to further their dreams. We look forward to helping many more,” said Jami Thomas, Grants Compliance Specialist and Kiva Capital Access Manager, The NIIC.

“We appreciate the support and collaboration among our partners to help make this program possible, including The City of Fort Wayne, SEED, and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, ” said Thomas. Kiva Northeast Indiana is part of a global network of microlending centers.

Cutline:

Sarah Heredia, the owner of Sovereign DFW, is one of 10 small businesses in Northeast Indiana that received a crowdsourced microloan through Kiva Northeast Indiana since the program began nine months ago.

About Kiva

Kiva is an international nonprofit founded in 2005 in San Francisco, with a mission to expand financial access to help underserved communities thrive.  We do this by crowdfunding loans and unlocking capital for the underserved, improving the quality and cost of financial services, and addressing the underlying barriers to financial access around the world. By lending as little as $25 on Kiva, you can be part of the solution and make a real difference in someone’s life. 100% of every dollar you lend goes to funding loans. Learn more at theniic.org/kiva-northeast-indiana/.

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. Additionally, the International Business Innovation Association (inbia.org) recognized the NIIC as the 2020 Entrepreneur Center of the Year – Mixed-use and awarded it one of the two prestigious industry awards – the 2020 Dinah Adkins Award. TheNIIC.org. Click here for The NIIC press kit.

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03.07.21

Supply disruptions test resiliency

Excerpt

Butler experts offer advice for postpandemic future

Finding the new normal for businesses has been difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One way for businesses to deal with such disruptions as the pandemic is building a strong supply chain.

Butler University supply chain experts Matthew Caito and Janaina Siegler spoke Wednesday on the importance of resilience and sustainability in business from a managerial perspective. The presentation was part of a Livestream Lunch and Learn hosted by the Northeast Innovation Center through its Women’s Business Center EmPWR Program, which stands for Equity & Prosperity for Women Reimagining their Businesses.

Both Caito and Siegler offered ways for organizations to use many different resources and to take initiative in building relationships with team members in the chain, both now and in the postpandemic future.

Siegler defined resilience as the capacity to overcome disruption, a key word throughout the presentation that is especially relevant as many businesses are experiencing a universal struggle. She also added that resilience should be a valuable skill to add to the business toolbox.

“You bend, but you do not break,” Siegler said. “Disruptions are going to happen all the time. It’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when.”

There are four main factors to consider for a supply chain to become resilient: flexibility, velocity, visibility and collaboration, according to Siegler. Those things can give business leaders an edge in their careers, and implementing just one of the four points will provide an advantage, Siegler said.

The focus should be on recovery moving forward, not the risks at hand, a mindset Siegler called a “dynamic nature.”

Accommodation is, by now, familiar territory for many businesses that have created access to carry-out orders, curbside pickup and limited capacity to sustain their careers during the pandemic, Caito said.

To build resilience and sustainability, Caito stressed the importance of having such things as “Tuesday afternoon conversations” between leaders within an organization. In addition, business leaders planning ahead of a possible disruption who are equipped with flow charts and checklists will be more prepared when it is time to face the challenge.

Visit The Journal Gazette for the full article.

02.15.21

Build a Resilient Supply Chain Livestream, Butler University Experts to Lead Discussion

February 15, 2021, Fort Wayne, Ind. Effective, resilient supply chain management is vital to business venture growth and success. The disruption of the global supply chain this past year affected a wide range of businesses across many sectors of our economy. Join The NIIC on March 3, 2021, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., for a Livestream lunch and learn to discuss how to Build a Resilient Supply Chain. Supply Chain experts Matthew Caito and Dr. Janaina Siegler from the Butler Lacey School of Business will lead the discussion. Register here.

“Many businesses are seeking answers about ways to prevent some of the challenges faced during COVID-19 Pandemic from happening again. The NIIC Women’s Business Center EmPWR Program engaged experts to lead this lunchtime discussion and to develop a new NIIC Navigator® Online Learning Toolset course focused on Supply Chain Resilience,” said Sarah Lance, EmPWR Program Manager. The NIIC Navigator® content is available through The NIIC.

The Livestream discussion will include managerial perspectives for supply chain leadership, with particular attention given to preparation and resilience. Practical tools and techniques will be provided for handling supply chain risks, disruptions, and recovery in today’s dynamic environment.

While all companies operate within a supply chain of one sort or another, not all companies think about what makes their role in a supply chain unique to them. Understanding what is unique to a company will help managers consider what is important to their supply chains.

Matthew Caito is the Faculty Instructor—Operations and Supply Chain Management and Business Analytics and Data Modeling. He works closely with undergraduate and graduate students to help develop the leadership and business skills needed for success in today’s competitive operating climate.  In addition to his work at the university, Caito is passionate about helping established entrepreneurs and leaders develop their organizations.

Working closely with The NIIC and supporting its mission has proven to be a good fit for Caito and is an additional opportunity to share training and more resources with innovative companies throughout Indiana. When asked about NIIC’s EmPWR Program, Caito said, “It’s a responsibility and privilege to work together to build solid home-grown Hoosier businesses.  The innovation and resilience shown by our state’s entrepreneurs and their willingness to work hard together to achieve meaningful goals make stronger communities for our children and us.”

Dr. Janaina (Jane) Siegler, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor Operations and Supply Chain Management. “I have been an entrepreneur myself for many years before coming to academia. I have some great memories and some very challenging ones, which I chose to address through the EmPWR Program supply chain content. One, as it relates to the knowledge and ability to efficiently manage our inventories and all the costs related to them. And the second is about the importance of understanding our environment, our suppliers, and how our relationship with them can strategically help us or hinder our business development and growth,” said Siegler.

Learn more or register here. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/build-a-resilient-supply-chain-tickets-141138339573

About WBC EmPWR Program

The Women’s Business Center (WBC) EmPWR Program is funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership and serves clients in 83 Indiana counties through May 2021. The EmPWR Program brings together the experts, the resources and the tools business builders need to get back on track from COVID-19. We specifically serve women-owned businesses – from individual entrepreneurs to businesses with many employees and multiple locations. We will work with anyone who needs our support. For more information, visit https://theniic.org/empwr/.

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. Additionally, the International Business Innovation Association (inbia.org) recognized the NIIC as the 2020 Entrepreneur Center of the Year – Mixed-use and awarded it one of the two prestigious industry awards – the 2020 Dinah Adkins Award. TheNIIC.org. Click here for The NIIC press kit.

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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