Northeast Indiana Innovation Center Receives Lincoln Financial Foundation Grant

December 6, 2016, Fort Wayne, Ind. – Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (The NIIC) received a $45,000 grant from the Lincoln Financial Foundation in support of its Entrepreneurship is a Career Option Initiative.

The NIIC’s student entrepreneurship experience is comprised of three interrelated components to inspire future generations of entrepreneurs toward a career in entrepreneurship. These components include: Discovering Entrepreneurship (engaging high school and college students in Northeast Indiana by developing and nurturing the entrepreneurial mindset); the Student Venture Lab (fast testing ideas systematically through proven venture acceleration tools to create viable, sustainable business models and new ventures); and Peer to Peer Learning Circles (a forum and portal for sharing and disseminating critical success factors in starting, growing, and building successful, innovative businesses).

Lincoln Financial Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Lincoln Financial Group, believes in empowering people to live greater lives, which advances culture and empowers greater positive change. Its grant is part of Lincoln Financial’s annual $10 million investment in its local communities’ youth education, economic and workforce development, human well being and arts programs.

“It is likely in the future that over 40 percent of the workforce will be engaged in solo-preneurship and that nearly 90 percent of the Northeast Indiana establishments will be employers with less than 20 people. Teaching the entrepreneurial mindset addresses soft skills employers seek in employees yet encounter gaps in the current workforce (adaptiveness, intellectual curiosity, opportunity recognition, team dynamics),” said Karl R. LaPan, President and CEO, Northeast Indiana Innovation Center.

“Further, for students who want to put entrepreneurship in action, the Student Venture Lab gives young people the opportunity to practice entrepreneurship and cultivate interdisciplinary skills in an experiential way. Research shows that entrepreneurs improve their success by having had more than one startup experience. While failure rates of millennial businesses are the highest of any age group, our program directly addresses and mitigates this risk. Thanks to the Lincoln Financial Foundation’s ongoing financial commitment to this program, we will continue to inspire and nurture the pipeline of young entrepreneurial potential in our region.”

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, in 2013, The NIIC was 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:http://www.niic.net/.

About the Student Venture Lab (SVL) Initiative The NIIC’s SVL Program (www.studentventurelab.com/apply) offers student entrepreneurs the opportunity to start and grow businesses in a supportive, success-focused environment. Based upon the highly successful model used by technology startup accelerator TechStars, the Innovation Center’s Student Venture Lab offers seed investment, coaching, office space, and much more to selected student-owned startup technology ventures. Those student business owners that are admitted receive a cash investment plus in-kind investments that include a bundle of six months office space at the Innovation Center campus, personal coaching, and mentoring – all in exchange for a small amount of equity in the student venture.

About The Entrepreneurship is a Career Option Initiative
The Entrepreneurship is a Career Option Initiative is financially supported and underwritten by the Lincoln Financial Foundation, the Edward M. & Mary McCrea Wilson Foundation, iAB Financial Bank, and the generous sponsors and supporters of The NIIC’s Ideas@Work annual signature event.

About Lincoln Financial Foundation
The Lincoln Financial Foundation, established in 1962, is a nonprofit organization formed and supported by Lincoln Financial Group. Under the Foundation guidelines, grants are made in the areas of arts, education, human services and economic/workforce development.

Media Contact:  Tammy Allen, Director, Marketing Communicatios & Programs–The NIIC, tallen@niic.net, telephone 260-407-6442


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