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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09.28.20

SBIR Week in the Midwest—Indiana connects entrepreneurs to the country’s largest early-stage funding source

September 28, 2020, Fort Wayne, Ind. The NIIC (www.theniic.org) is pleased to host SBIR Week in the Midwest – Indiana. All events during the week are open to any resident of Indiana or a border state. Click on https://www.sbirroadtour.com/dates/2020-midwest/ and select Indiana to register for the event. “The Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Programs provide over $4 billion in early-stage funding to small businesses each year in various technology areas. Examples include unmanned systems, advanced materials, health, cybersecurity, and defense. It is one of the most significant sources of non-dilutive funding available to innovators and business builders,”  said Karl R. LaPan, President and CEO, The NIIC.

SBIR Week in the Midwest provides participants with opportunities to join meetings with federal agencies that administer over 5,500 new awards annually and for virtual one-on-one meetings with program decision-makers. Livestream events and meetings include:

  • Early Stage Investors Panel, October 19, 2020
  • Virtual one-on-one meetings with over 20 federal agencies, October 23, 2020 (deadline to register October 15, 2020, 10 a.m. Eastern)
  • How to Successfully Complete an SBIR Quad Chart Webinar (provided and led by The NIIC) on October 13, 2020, from 1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. eastern time.  The Zoom link for this event is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89382115598.

Each registrant can select up to six agencies for one-on-one meetings and can confirm their technology aligns well with the agencies before selecting them by accessing these five-minute reverse pitches from the agencies on https://www.sbirroadtour.com/about/.

SBIR will post the final schedule for SBIR Week in the Midwest on October 16, 2020. To prepare for the meetings, please review the presentations at the bottom of the resources page for helpful hints@  https://www.sbirroadtour.com/resources/.

To access additional resources curated by The NIIC to assist you, visit https://theniic.org/inclusive-entrepreneurship/fast-in/.

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 SBIR/STTR Program:
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive United States Government non-dilutive funding source, coordinated by the Small Business Administration. It is intended to encourage domestic small businesses to engage in high-growth research and development (R&D). Funding takes the form of contracts or grants and the awardee projects must have the potential for commercialization while meeting specific U.S. Government R&D requirements. The SBIR/STTR programs include over 4,000 new awards per year. These awards have helped U.S. innovators advance new technologies and have contributed to the creation of thousands of jobs.

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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.

09.21.20

News Release: Registration Opens for Tech Women Business Owners

WEOC Invites Applicants for Launch Women Business Builder Program

For immediate release

September 21, 2020, Fort Wayne, Ind.— Gensyn Design Founder and Design Thinker Jennifer Hunter credits Launch Women Business Builder Program and WEOC Women’s Business Center for supporting her to advance her business. “I would not be where I am—if I would have started at all—without the WEOC and the Launch Women Business Builder Program.  The community of women and the structure it provided to me were essential to getting Gensyn Design off the ground,” said Hunter. Indiana women starting and growing new technology companies are invited to apply through October 9, 2020.

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 six will be announced mid-October, and the program is set to begin the week of October 26, 2020. Up to 10 companies may be accepted into the program. Once accepted into the program, participants invest 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 two.

Launch Women Business Builders is an initiative of the WEOC Women’s Business Center at The NIIC.

“Thirty companies have participated in this program since it was launched two years ago. These new tech companies have introduced apps or websites for design thinking, real estate, ride-sharing, interior design, e-tail stores, and memberships for education and wellness programs,” said Leslee Hill, Director WEOC. “We are excited to see what industries, products, and services come through our next cohort.”

For more information, visit https://theniic.org/start/launch-women-business-builder/

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 WEOC Women’s Business Center

2,354 women and immigrants served, trained, and counseled—since WEOC Women’s Business Center formation five years ago. WEOC Women’s Business Center serves Northeast Indiana women at all stages of their business ventures. We respond to the unique needs of women entrepreneurs through business growth coaching, training, and entrepreneurial education, connectivity and access to capital. WEOC Women’s Business Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. As the Host Organization, The NIIC also provides supplemental funding and complementary resources. WEOC Women’s Business Center is an SBA designated Women’s Business Center—one of two in Indiana. For more information, visit www.inweoc.com.

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

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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
09.09.20

Entrepreneurial Workshops to Train to Fund, Pitch, Buy or Sell a Business

Debi Kleinman, Executive Director of the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship at Babson College

For Immediate Release

September 9, 2020, Fort Wayne, Ind.— The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (The NIIC) will host workshops in September to equip businesses with essential skills in innovation, commercialization, and more. Registration details for all events are available at https://theniic.org/our-events.

Money Matters On-Demand Workshop Series

Available through September 30, 2020

Microentrepreneurs and microenterprises gain specialized business-building support about bootstrapping; crowdfunding; friends, families, and fools; and fundamentals of angels.

First Pitch for Microentrepreneurs: Money, Mentors, and More Webinar

September 14, 2:00—3:00 p.m.

This training is available to all Hoosier business owners and is especially suited for entrepreneurs focusing on non-technical, main-street businesses with nine or less employees.

Buying and Selling a Business Panel Discussion

September 15, 8:30—10:00 a.m.

A panel of business owners, along with 1st Source Bank representatives, will provide insight into what it is like to buy or sell a business.

First Pitch for High Growth Ventures Seeking Outside Funding: Money, Mentors, and More Webinar

September 17, 5:00—6:00 p.m.

This training is available to all Hoosier business owners and is especially suited for STEM-related, academic, or third-party ventureable firms seeking outside capital and investment.

SBIR/STTR Essentials of Commercialization Webinar

September 22, 2:00—3:30 p.m.

Becky Aistrup, Managing Partner, BBCetc, will lead training on how commercialization and transition plans can be a key differentiator in the SBIR/STTR programs. The workshop will also address expectations for commercialization plans in Phase I and II projects, where to find cost effective market research, and obtaining quality support and commitment letters.

Pitch Coach Clinic

September 22, 10—11:30 a.m.

In this clinic participants get the opportunity to give their elevator pitches and receive input from Debi Kleinman, Executive Director of the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship at Babson College, the #1 school for entrepreneurship in the nation. Kleinman leads the Blank Center’s strategy, new initiatives, programs, and team to drive impact through the Butler Launch Pad accelerator and Babson’s highly-rated entrepreneur experiences, such as the B.E.T.A. Challenge New Venture Competition, Rocket Pitch, and the Summer Venture Program. She is also an adjunct professor at Babson’s F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business and Executive Education Programs for Entrepreneurs.

Group size is for up to 10 participants.

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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08.26.20

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.

08.10.20

Workshop Series for Hoosier Small Business Owners Teach How-To of Customer Care

Reach New Levels with Customers During COVID-19 Pandemic

For Immediate Release

August 10, 2020, Fort Wayne, Ind.— Beginning this month, small business owners have an opportunity to learn how to deepen customer engagement and relationships through KARE for your Customers Workshop Series. The WBC EmPWR Program at The NIIC is offering the workshop series at no charge to small business owners. Participants will learn how to sharpen their sales processes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kelly Ambriole, Associate Partner, Sandler Sales, will lead established businesses of all sizes, with a priority to woman business owners, through the four-week workshop series beginning virtually in August and in-person in January. “KARE is an account planning tool at a 30,000-foot level. The four letters of K-A-R-E stand for Keep, Attain, Recapture and Expand,” said Ambriole. “Putting accounts into those four categories simplifies all the complexities you have when trying to balance it all and an entrepreneur.

The workshop series includes four cohorts, two virtual and two at The NIIC, and is broken into two groups based on a company’s previous annual sales.

  • Virtual Cohort for Businesses with less than $100,000 in Sales, Tuesdays, 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., August 25, September 8, September 22, and October 6
  • Virtual Cohort for Businesses with $100,000 or More in Sales, Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., August 25, September 8, September 22, and October 6
  • In-Person at The NIIC Cohort for Businesses with less than $100,000 in Sales, Mondays from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., January 11, January 25, February 8, and February 22
  • In-Person at The NIIC Cohort for Businesses with $100,000 or More in Sales—Mondays, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., January 11, January 25, February 8, and February 22

Topics of discovery will include KARE, ideal client profiles, the behavior cookbook, and immersive worksheets. Ambriole said the program is ideal for anyone responsible for lead generation, sales, and account management.

“This is a high-quality opportunity for small businesses to rethink and re-engage their customer base in a new way,” said Sarah Lance, WBC EmPWR Program Manager. “Kelly Ambriole’ s expertise is tremendously valuable as a key leader at Sandler Sales.”

This workshop series is funded by a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO), and there is no cost to participate. This program is specifically for women; however, it is also open to everyone with businesses and organizations in 83 Indiana communities served by the WBC EmPWR Program. “COVID 19 is forcing all of us to take a hard look at how we’ve done business in the past, what is working now, and how we will do business in the future,” said SBA Indiana District Director Stacey Poynter. “We’re proud that SBA funding is able to support innovative programs like EmPWR, which inspire, teach, and support Indiana small business owners.”

To register for the KARE Workshop Series, visit the events page of The NIIC website. 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 nonprofit, 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.

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.

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

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07.23.20

Innovation and Tech Transfer Small Businesses Have New Tools to Learn How to Secure Funding,

Virtual Webinar Series to Educate About SBIR/STTR

For Immediate Release

July 13, 2020, Fort Wayne, Ind.— Each year $2.5 billion non-dilutive grant and contract funding is awarded to qualified small businesses through the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The purpose is to advance and commercialize game-changing technologies. Winning an award is highly competitive in these federal programs. It requires strategic proposals and a thorough understanding of funding agency goals.

That’s where the NIIC’s FAST-IN Program can help through a new workshop series. Participants will learn how to write award-winning proposals. There is no charge for participating in the workshops, and registration is open. Details are available at TheNIIC.Org/our-events. “We are partnering with BBCetc experts to train business builders to write and submit successful SBIR/STTR proposals to fund their research and businesses,” said Karl R. LaPan, President and CEO, The NIIC. BBCetc is nationally recognized for its success in helping emerging companies win SBIR/STTR funding and use it strategically to propel growth.

The following are the workshops included in this series. Additional information and registration links are found at https://theniic.org/our-events/.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020, SBIR Introduction and Overview—Megan Varnum, Ph.D., Principal Consultant, BBCetc, leads this workshop. Participants will learn about SBIR/STTR eligibility, the difference between SBIR and STTR, participating agencies, and critical components of a competitive proposal.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020, Contracting versus Granting—Selecting the Right Agency—Jerry Hollister, Principal Consultant, BBCetc, will lead this workshop and train about the 11 SBIR/STTR participating agencies, their missions, and what technologies they fund. Participants will also learn how to determine the best fit for their businesses. This will include where to find the topics of interest, what has been funded previously, and how to contact the agencies.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020, Formatting and Readability—Megan Marnum, Ph.D., Principal Consultant, will lead on the topic of the importance of keeping the reviewer satisfied and engaged. Participants will learn how to improve the competitiveness of proposals through tips and best practices for making it look good and read well. Participants will learn how different agencies manage the review process and how to be kind to reviewers with formatting and grantsmanship tips for success.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020, Preparing a Credible Budget for SBIR/STTR Proposal—Kris Bergman, Managing Partner, BBCetc, will train participants on how to develop a proper budget for a grant or contract proposal. This is essential.  A proper budget can be a useful tool to drive the project from start to finish. This workshop covers what costs need to be included, how to write a budget justification, if the company can afford to pursue the project, what indirect rate should be used, and more.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020, Essentials of Commercialization—Becky Aistrup, Managing Partner, BBCetc, will lead this workshop. Commercialization and transition plans can be a crucial differentiator in the SBIR/STTR programs. It is essential to know what the funding agencies look for and how to develop a good plan. This workshop will cover the requirements and guide participants through where to start, what to include. Agency expectations for commercialization plans in Phase I and II projects will be covered. Participants will also be instructed and coached about where to find cost-effective market research, what quality support & commitment letters are will also be.

The FAST-IN Program is partially funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small business Administration (SBA) and The NIIC. Purdue University and The Innovation Connector are partners in the FAST-IN Program to provide locations for workshops and essential connections to potential resources.

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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