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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07.23.20

Innovation Moshpit Workshop Series for Hoosier Small Business Owners

Collide Ideas to Reimagine, Reinvent During COVID-19 Pandemic

For Immediate Release

July 23, 2020, Fort Wayne, Ind.—How often are the words moshpit and innovation used in the same sentence? WBC EmPWR’s Innovation Moshpit™ Workshop Series will be like concertgoers colliding in a moshpit. Yet, the moshpit is the workshop series, convening small business owners to mash-up unrelated ideas and concepts to reimagine their businesses. Registration is open for Hoosier business builders and nonprofit leaders to participate in the workshop series. Enroll on the events page of The NIIC website. https://theniic.org/our-events/

WBC EmPWR Innovation Mosh Pit Workshop series begins August 12, 2020, and continues through October 7, 2020. The 10-week virtual program will be co-led by  Gregg Fraley, Founder, GFi, and Sarah Lance, WBC EmPWR Program Manager. Workshop participants will move through the Innovation Moshpit’s comprehensive innovation process, which includes three phases. The first phase is exploration or research. The second phase is ideation, otherwise known as brainstorming. The last phase is project planning. Participants could create an entirely new business model, or, a necessary adjustment to the new normal. Participants will develop a solid plan to implement something new, fresh, and exciting for their businesses or organizations.

Participants will use the Innovator Mindset® tool created by Dennis Stauffer to improve their business thinking skills further. Participants will be connected with other non-competitive business peers to network, share problems, brainstorm, and develop solutions that move progress forward and upward.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the economy and our way of life in so many ways. As difficult and frustrating as the COVID-19 pandemic era may be, it provides an opportunity to shake up our businesses to reach new levels of innovation and success. Through the Innovation Mosh Pit Workshops, participants will emerge renewed, with a sense of purpose and redirection,” said Lance. “Creativity and innovation are necessary solutions to succeed now and in the future.“

Thanks to a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO), the cost to participate is just $30 for the Stormz virtual meeting platform. 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.”

Registration for the WBC EmPWR’s Mosh Pit is now open. To register, visit the events page of The NIIC website. https://theniic.org/our-events/

Innovation Moshpit™ is a trademark of Gregg Fraley Innovation (GFi). Innovator Mindset® is a registered trademark of Dennis Stauffer.

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

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 WEOC

2,354 women and immigrants served, trained, and counseled—since WEOC’s formation five years ago. The Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center (WEOC) serves Northeast Indiana women at all stages of their business ventures. WEOC responds to the unique needs of women entrepreneurs through business growth coaching, training, and entrepreneurial education, connectivity, and access to capital. WEOC 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 is an SBA designated Women’s Business Center—one of two in Indiana. For more information, visit www.inweoc.com.

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.

07.10.20

NIIC Adds Two

Excerpt

The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center has hired Sarah Lance as project manager and Jennifer Romano as community engagement coordinator for the EmPWR (Equity & Prosperity for Women Reimagining) Their Businesses Program.

The EmPWR Program is a 12-month initiative funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Women’s Business Ownership. EmPWR Program guides businesswomen to innovate, reimagine business models, and gain resiliency, so they thrive and prosper. The program is available to business owners living in all Indiana counties except the 11 served by the Central Indiana Women’s Business Center.

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

07.07.20

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

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About The NIIC

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

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

 

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07.07.20

NIIC Launches Program to Help Minority Business Creators

Exerpt

FORT WAYNE – The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center in Fort Wayne has launched the first cohort of a program intended to help people in underserved communities become entrepreneurs.

The business incubator says the Connected Communities Breakthrough Program will provide strategic preparation, implementation, and assessment to Allen County business creators.

The program offers no-cost, community-based entrepreneurship opportunities that identify and enrich talent in an otherwise underserved market.

NIIC says the program is being funded by the Foellinger Foundation.

“It provides opportunities for equity, prosperity, and social well-being,” said Cheryl Taylor, President, Foellinger Foundation.

It is expected each participant will complete the program in three to six months. The program includes eight paths, from awareness of entrepreneurial mindset to how to thrive as a small business owner.

“I would like to gain information to help me start my business and learn more about obtaining resources that would help me get my business off the ground. I need to get it out of my head and into reality,” said program participant Vanessa Hayden.

Click here to read full article on InsideIndianaBusiness.com.

07.03.20

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

Excerpt

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to read full article on FWBusiness.com.

06.29.20

12 Allen County minority business builders pursue Breakthrough,

Cohort one of new program begins

For immediate release 

June 29, 2020, Fort Wayne, Ind.—Twelve individuals began Connected Communities Breakthrough Program and formed cohort one. This new program is offered through The NIIC and provides strategic preparation, implementation, and assessment to Allen County business builders from historically underserved community segments.

The program’s namesake is the funding grant—The Foellinger Foundation Connected Communities Breakthrough Program. It is a scaffolded, three-tier program. The program offers no-cost, community-based entrepreneurship opportunities that identify and enrich talent in an otherwise underserved market. “The NIIC’s Breakthrough Program is designed to directly support and nurture underdeveloped talent in historically marginalized communities. It provides opportunities for equity, prosperity, and social well-being,” said Cheryl Taylor, President, Foellinger Foundation.

Through this program, participants learn how to start a business. “The NIIC’s Breakthrough Program helps to address the needs of under-developed talent within our community who find it difficult to start their businesses. It is important to us at The NIIC that individuals within our community have equal access to opportunities for economic prosperity. Through this new program, we are doing our part to level the playing field for diverse and inclusive business builders,” said Karl LaPan, President and CEO, The NIIC.

Breakthrough Program participant Vanessa Hayden said, “I would like to gain information to help me start my business and learn more about obtaining resources that would help me get my business off the ground. I need to get it out of my head and into reality.” Her business concept is to create unique spaces that are conducive for individualized learning. She will do this by intersecting her interior design knowledge and more than 20 years of experience working with children in the Autism spectrum.

Julie Sanchez, NIIC Breakthrough Program Manager, said, “We recognize that there are real barriers to business ownership for some members of our community. This new program enables individuals to break through those barriers and discover that they can be entrepreneurs and business owners. Sometimes breaking through to that possibility and the entrepreneurial mindset are the first steps.”

“The Breakthrough Program is a virtual training model for increased accessibility by participants. It breaks through barriers of access to the training. The program may be delivered in person, virtually, or a hybrid of the two in the future based on participant needs.  The business concepts are diverse. They include using the Breakthrough Program to help match skills to specific business opportunities. Some examples of current participants include a small independent record label company, and a business providing affordable educational and therapeutic services to underrepresented populations in Allen County,” said Sanchez.

It is expected each participant will complete the program in three to six months. The program includes eight paths, from awareness of entrepreneurial mindset to how to thrive as a small business owner. Participants gain access to one-to-one coaching sessions, training workshops, resource and capital connections, and access to the NIIC Navigator® Learning Management System.

The NIIC’s trusted community relationships of its partner organizations, including the Allen County Public Library, Amani Family Services, Blue Jacket, Prosperity Heights, The League, and the Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center (WEOC) help to identify future entrepreneurs and potential business builders.  Individuals interested in the program may contact an Allen County partner organization or apply through the NIIC website. For more information or to register, visit TheNIIC.Org/Inclusive-entrepreneurship/breakthrough-program/.

About Foellinger Foundation

The Foellinger Foundation is a private, charitable foundation that invests in excellence by providing grants, leadership training, conferences, workshops and thought-leading speakers to strengthen nonprofit organizations that serve Allen County. The Foundation was created in 1958 by Helene Foellinger, The News-Sentinel publisher from 1936 to 1980, and Esther Foellinger, her mother. Visit www.foellinger.org for more information.

The Foellinger Foundation Connected Communities Breakthrough Program is a scaffolded, three-tier program, offering strategic preparation, strategic implementation, and strategic assessment to Allen County business builders from historically underserved community segments. The Connected Communities Breakthrough Program offers advising, training, custom curriculum design, marketing and outreach, pre- and post-assessments measuring outcomes, and more. The program offers no-cost, community-based entrepreneurship opportunities that identify and enrich talent in an otherwise underserved market.

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. The NIIC received a top honor from its industry peers as recipient of the prestigious Dinah Adkins Award (one of two top honors from the InBIA). The NIIC was also named Entrepreneur Center of the Year 2020: Mixed-use by the International Business Innovation AssociationTheNIIC.org. Click here for The NIIC press kit.

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

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06.25.20

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

For immediate release 

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

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

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

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

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

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

About The NIIC

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

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

06.18.20

Sarah Lance and Jennifer Romano to lead NIIC EmPWR Program, guide women business owners in the post-COVID-19 pandemic economy

Sarah Lance (on the left), EmPWR Project Manager; Jennifer Romano, EmPWR Community Engagement Coordinator

For Immediate Release

June 18, 2020, Fort Wayne, Ind.— The NIIC is thrilled to announce two northeast Indiana leaders joined the organization to support women-owned businesses as they adapt to a post-COVID-19 pandemic economy. Sarah Lance, EmPWR Project Manager, and Jennifer Romano, EmPWR Community Engagement Coordinator, recently started in newly created positions for the EmPWR (Equity & Prosperity for Women Reimagining) Their Businesses Program. See additional information or apply at https://theniic.org/empwr.

“We are very pleased to have Sarah and Jennifer, who are accomplished leaders, join our WEOC team. Both of them are entrepreneurs in their own rights. Each brings a unique skillset and remarkable insight for her new role. Their commitment to women businesses and knowledge of our community will get the EmPWR Program off to the very best possible start,” said Karl LaPan, President and CEO, The NIIC. The NIIC serves as WEOC’s host organization, providing supplemental funding and resources.

The EmPWR Program is a 12-month initiative funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Women’s Business Ownership. EmPWR Program guides businesswomen to innovate, reimagine business models, and gain resiliency, so they thrive and prosper.  The program is available to business owners living in all Indiana counties except the 11 served by the Central Indiana Women’s Business Center.

EmPWR is an extended program of the SBA Women’s Business Center (WEOC) located at its host organization The NIIC. Both programs serve women, with EmPWR focused directly on female founders impacted by COVID-19. “It’s exciting to see SBA grant funding at work,” said SBA Indiana District Director Stacey Poynter. “The Coronavirus pandemic has small businesses focusing on their business models and making critical decisions on how their business operates in the future. SBA is grateful for resource partners like the Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center (WEOC) at The NIIC who use funding to create innovative programs like EmPWR to help guide small businesses through these unchartered waters.”

Lance most recently served as Sari Bari Director of Brand and Strategy. Sari Bari is a social enterprise she co-founded in 2006 to help women in India escape or avoid human trafficking. Lance grew the company to 130 employees and artisans and established Sari Bari’s retail space in downtown Fort Wayne. Lance developed the company’s wholesale market for creative handmade products, growing the distributor base from zero to more than 100. She raised more than $500,000 for the non-profit through annual fundraising campaigns, social media, and special events. Lance is the 2016 Opus Prize Laureate and managed the $1 million Opus Prize Foundation Award for Sari Bari.

“I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of The NIIC community through the new EmPWR Program and specifically to be able to serve women-run businesses who are facing the challenges of COVID-19,” said Lance.

Romano serves as the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. She also was elected in 2015 as a City Councilwoman in Columbia City, Indiana — a role in which she continues to serve.  Romano is also the owner and publisher of Talk of the Town of Whitley County, a digital news service featuring positive news and discussion of community issues. Her career also includes roles at the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber, Parkview Health, the YWCA of Fort Wayne, the Columbia City Post & Mail newspaper, and other regional publications.

“Having met with many business owners in recent weeks, I have seen a lot of uncertainty and a real need for support of our region’s entrepreneurs as they face one of the biggest crises we have seen in a very long time,” said Romano. “I am excited and energized to share the tools and resources developed by The NIIC through the EmPWR Program with not only Northeast Indiana’s businesses and entrepreneurs but also across our state. This program provides an incredible bridge of support and guidance to assist Hoosier businesses through COVID-19 and beyond.”

For more information about the EmPWR Program or to apply to participate, visit theniic.org/empwr/.

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

2,354 women and immigrants served, trained, and counseled—since WEOC’s formation five years ago. The Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center (WEOC) serves Northeast Indiana women at all stages of their business ventures. WEOC responds to the unique needs of women entrepreneurs through business growth coaching, training, and entrepreneurial education, connectivity, and access to capital. WEOC 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 is an SBA designated Women’s Business Center—one of two in Indiana. For more information, visit www.inweoc.com.

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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