10.31.16

Northeast Indiana Innovation Center Awarded 2016 U.S. Small Business Administration Growth Accelerator Fund

October 31, 2016, Fort Wayne, Ind.– The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (The NIIC) is the single Indiana winner and one of 85 winners throughout the U.S. of the 2016 U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. “The goal of the competition is to get an extra infusion of capital to qualified accelerators and the burgeoning ecosystems in which they play, which, in turn, provides resources to boost the startup and entrepreneurship communities around them.” SBA Accelerator Fund Fact Sheet, March 2015.

“We are excited about the continued partnership and investment of the U.S. SBA in our best-in-class programs and services at The NIIC,” said Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO, Northeast Indiana Innovation Center, Inc. The grant gave special consideration to accelerator models supporting women-owned or minority-owned small businesses, like The NIIC does through the Women’s Economic Opportunity Center (WEOC) Program. “As the only Indiana organization to receive a $50,000 U.S. SBA Growth Accelerator Fund in 2016, The NIIC is committed to leveling the playing field for women-owned businesses in our state. This grant simultaneously affirms the big gaps that exist in addressing barriers and obstacles women face. It also acknowledges the evidence-based entrepreneurship approach taken by the NIIC to strategically address these long-standing issues.”

“The NIIC is committed to building on our success of serving over 800 women in our first year of operation of our WEOC Program. This accelerator grant will assist us in creating and optimizing an online entrepreneurial assistance pathways program, through the launch of our proprietary NIIC Navigator™ Online Toolset. NIIC Navigator™ Online Toolset will pilot launch in the first quarter of 2017. It is designed to provide a customized roadmap that recognizes the uniqueness of each entrepreneur and her path to venture success. This includes starting, building, and growing a business,” said LaPan. The NIIC Navigator™ is designed to re-route in real time, driven by the needs of the specific client.

“We are pleased to award this grant to the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center. We look forward to the smart technology platform they are building to promote entrepreneurship,” said Stacey Poynter, District Director, U.S. Small Business Administration.

The WEOC serves as an official SBA Women’s Business Center, strategically located in and operated by the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (The NIIC). WEOC offers timely assistance to women entrepreneurs at any venture path stage, from business concept and start-up through growth and expansion. WEOC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. SBA. For more information, visit www.niic.net.

About The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (The NIIC)

The NIIC is a non-profit, community-based entrepreneurial resource center that assists in the growth and development of innovative companies in Northeast Indiana. Formed in 1999 by a consortium of community and government leaders and organizations, The NIIC was recently recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the top four under-the-radar incubators in the country. The Innovation Center is the country’s only ISO9001:2008 registered business incubation and acceleration programs, serving entrepreneurs, business owners and existing businesses who want to launch, expand or re-invent a company. For more information visit: www.niic.net.

Media contact: Tammy Allen, Director, Marketing Communications & Programs – The NIIC, tallen@niic.net, Telephone: 260-407-6442

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