Northeast Indiana Business Startups to Receive Additional Support

Tammy Y. Allen, Director, Marketing & Programs, The NIIC
Photo by Flagstar Bank

Flagstar Foundation Awards Grant to Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center (WEOC)

August 19, 2019, Fort Wayne, Ind.—Underserved entrepreneurs in Northeast Indiana are the focus of a $5,000 grant from the Flagstar Foundation, the charitable arm of Flagstar Bank. It recently awarded the grant to The Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center (WEOC), located at The NIIC.

“Hoosiers start new businesses every month at the rate of 40 percent less than the United States as a whole. For Indiana’s economy to thrive and for all citizens to have a level playing field for social and economic prosperity, underserved business builders who have been, as Kaufman Foundation cites, ‘systematically left behind due to demographic, socioeconomic and geographic barriers’ must be given the tools and support to start, build and grow businesses,” said Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO, The NIIC.

Flagstar Bank joined forces with its new communities in Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio to help determine where to award $260,000 as a part of the Flagstar Crafts Community initiative. There were more than 150 contending nonprofits nominated by Flagstar branches, and 14,000 votes were cast by the public. The winning nonprofits received $5,000 grants from Flagstar. The nominees were evaluated on how they aligned with Flagstar’s community reinvestment objectives and the three giving pillars of the Flagstar Foundation. These pillars include: apprenticeship and workforce readiness; arts and culture; and financial capability. The winners were selected by the community for the community.

“We often hear that underserved entrepreneurs, including women, immigrants, minorities, disabled and rural populations, typically do not ask for assistance. This grant will inclusively address the needs of these groups, using targeted community-based entrepreneurial support,” said Ryan Goldberg, Director of Retail Banking, Flagstar Bank. “Investing in our local communities is a Flagstar tradition. It’s something we said we would do when we came into this market, and we’re excited to make it happen.”

Most women business owners bootstrap their ventures, which restricts their ability to grow their ventures, according to Leslee Hill, Director, WEOC. “This grant was completely unexpected and such a delight. Flagstar’s $5,000 grant means that we can provide further assistance to our clients. We are so thankful to have been nominated, and even more thankful to receive this grant,” said Hill.

“The NIIC and WEOC are focused on access and on-ramps to assist underestimated communities and business builders to get the resources and tools they need to take their ideas and businesses to the next level. Funding support from organizations like Flagstar Foundation help make people’s business dreams a reality,” said LaPan.

Photo Caption

Pictured left to right: Gary Wolf, Director of Branch Integration, Quad State and First Vice President, Flagstar Bank; Stephanie Coppolino, Flagstar South Fort Wayne Market Manager; Leslee Hill, Director, WEOC; Brent Yohey, Flagstar North Fort Wayne Market Manager (photo by Flagstar Bank).

About Flagstar Bank

Flagstar Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE: FBC) is an $20.2 billion savings and loan holding company headquartered in Troy, Mich. Flagstar Bank, FSB, provides commercial, small business, and consumer banking services through 160 branches in Michigan, Indiana, California, Wisconsin and Ohio. It also provides home loans through a wholesale network of brokers and correspondents in all 50 states, as well as 78 retail locations in 21 states, representing the combined retail branches of Flagstar and its Opes Advisors mortgage division. Flagstar is a leading national originator and servicer of mortgage and other consumer loans, handling payments and record keeping for $203 billion of loans representing 983,000 borrowers. For more information, please visit flagstar.com.

About The NIIC

The NIIC is a non-profit, vibrant entrepreneurial community. We help business builders and entrepreneurs launch and grow successful business ventures. We are located in a designated U.S. Small Business Administration HUB Zone, and in April 2018, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb designated The Northeast Indiana Innovation Park Campus as an Opportunity Zone through the U.S. Treasury. Formed in 1999 by a consortium of community and government leaders and organizations, The NIIC was recognized by Entrepreneur magazine in 2013 as one of the top four under-the-radar incubators in the country. This basically means Entrepreneur magazine, with the help of International Business Incubation Association, picked four U.S. incubators to highlight, and we were one of them. In their words, we “stand out in a state not always perceived as small business friendly.” 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

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. In October 2017, the name changed to Women’s Entrepreneurial (instead of Economic) Opportunity Center to more accurately reflect what WEOC does. WEOC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. As the Host Organization, The NIIC also provides funding and supplemental and complementary resources for WEOC, an SBA designated Women’s Business Center—one of two in Indiana. For more information, visit www.inweoc.com.


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