07.30.18

Registration Opens for Women-Owned Online/Digital Accelerator Program

Tammy Y. Allen, Director, Marketing & Programs—The NIIC

Congratulations to WEOC Launch Women Business Builders who have advanced to Phase 2 of the Program. Jen Petro, Virtual Business Coach; Tricia Cavender, Rhapsody Art Gallery & Studio; Melissa Hall, Sample Snap; Alice Payne and Morgan Refakis; Hali Ruisard, Rhapsody Art Gallery & Studio

Women who want to start, grow, and accelerate their online or digital businesses can get a hand up through the WEOC Launch Women Business Builder Program. Registration is open for the next cohort. The program focuses on validating your business model, developing a minimum viable product, securing initialing customers and building your management team. Through proven methods of compressing time, money and resources coupled with “fast testing” of your business ideas and concepts, participants will gain market insights to re-shape and pivot their idea into a viable business venture.

This program provides one-to-one personal and virtual coaching, shared workspace at The NIIC, access to a virtual business builder program and online community, access to The NIIC’s proprietary entrepreneurial tools, potential opportunity to pitch to Global Accelerator Network (GAN) investment community (for those with a minimum viable product or MVP), and more. There is no cost to participants, due to generous funding by donors, NIIC Ideas@Work Movement, and The NIIC. The program is developed for up to 10 individuals and five companies.

Congratulations to business builders from the first cohort of Phase 1, who advanced to Phase 2 of the program, including Tricia Cavender and Hali Ruisard, co-owners of Rhapsody Art Gallery & Studio; Morgan Refakis and Alice Payne, Pilates instructors forming an online/digital venture for instructors and clients; and Melissa Hall, Sample Snap. “This program has been an immense tool to translate my samples ordering app idea for interior designers into a business plan. It pushed me beyond my comfort level and know-how, toward funding and actual release to the marketplace. The NIIC and WEOC teams have been great support to me and have provided access to valuable resources, including people and programs,” said Hall.

The virtual component of the program provides an opportunity for connectivity among women business owners and peer-to-peer mentoring. “The virtual Build Your Dream Business component with Business Coach Jen Petro includes women from around the country. Although these businesses are located throughout the U.S., we have become a support team for one another. I didn’t know I was missing this element and am so glad to now have this group of like-minded women rallying for me to succeed. When I do get my app launched and start generating revenue, I will remain forever grateful to the opportunities that were available to me through WEOC and The NIIC,” said Hall.

To learn more, visit Launch Women Business Builder Program on The NIIC website. Registration remains open through September 1, 2018. To register for the program, click here. “Around September 5 we’ll announce the companies accepted into the program. Many of those in the entrepreneurial community have expressed interest in the program, and we look forward to receiving applications from various talented women business builders in Northeast Indiana,” said Leslee Hill, Director, WEOC.


About WEOCThe Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center (WEOC) serves as a resource center and business growth accelerator for women and underserved entrepreneurs in Northeast Indiana. In October 2017, the name changed to Women’s Entrepreneurial 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. 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. WEOC serves 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. For more information, visit www.inweoc.com.

About The NIICThe 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: 2008 registered business incubation and acceleration program. https://theniic.org/.

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