Women Business Owners Complete WEOC WBC Accelerator Program

Tammy Allen, Director | Marketing & Programs, The NIIC
Photo by The NIIC

Next Cohort Begins March 2022

For immediate release

September 29, 2021, Fort Wayne, Ind.—”Twelve months ago, I incorporated The Ox Agency. Within the timeframe of this one-year program, I needed to become a six-figure company quickly. This program helped me to do that. I walked away from a partnership with another company that I had outgrown. I started over on my own. If I didn’t have the women in this program, I wouldn’t have been so successful. This program brought us all together,” said Kelly Ambriole, CEO, The Ox Agency. “We all pushed each other to that next level.”

The NIIC recognized graduates of Launch Women Business Builder Program Cohort 6, an accelerator of WEOC WBC. Cohort 6 met each Friday virtually for the past year. It was fitting the graduation ceremony was also virtual.

Kelly Ambriole, The Ox Agency optimizes people, processes, and performance through strategic consultation. In addition to her consulting services, Ambriole is developing webinars as an option for clients who do not pursue her one-on-one coaching or want a self-paced option.

“If you know me, you know I don’t accept opinions from everyone. This cohort became, perhaps unknowingly, my board of directors. I took their input and applied it to work on my company. If it weren’t for the laughing, peer coaching, non-judgment zone, I would not be where I am now,” said Ambriole.

Melissa Norly, Melissa’s Damn Cards offers cards and stationery hand-typed by Norly, using upcycled materials as a canvas. “My business would not exist right now without me being a part of this program. This program has been so wonderful, and I’ve been so grateful to be a part of it,” said Norly. “The best part of this program for me was it providing a safe space for us all to operate in, make mistakes, and ask questions. Everyone has been so willing to help each other and share resources. It’s not from a know-it-all perspective. It’s a place of caring and genuinely wanting to help each other.”

Norly sells her products through e-commerce on her company website, at local farmers’ markets, and has a goal to wholesale her product through two boutiques by the end of the year. Watch for her products in the Northeast Indiana community.

Savannah Daniels, Courtesy Cups—Courtesy Cups came out of a personal need for Daniels while serving in the military and on field assignment. It is a menstrual cup brand on a mission to give back by donating one cup for every cup purchase. One in five girls in the U.S. is missing school days because of her period. Together we’re changing the cycle and ending period poverty.

“Melissa’s been a great resource for me, especially in the area of grant funding, and she’s a pleasure to be with. She is a bridge-builder,” said Daniels.

Bre Johnson, Breedings Cards was founded to focus on greeting card lines for those not served by the traditional card industry, like racially diverse groups and those who identify as gender diverse. “We were so excited for Bre when she met a milestone through an order for 5,000 cards for a historically black college and university (HBCU) grand opening,” said Leslee Hill, WEOC WBC Director at The NIIC.

“This cohort, in particular, is exceptionally business savvy. This has been a rock star group, not only in supporting each other but also in what they’ve accomplished during this program,” said Hill. Each graduate receives a certificate of completion and a $1,000 award in recognition for progressing their businesses during the program. A total of 32 clients have graduated from the WEOC WBC Accelerator Program.

What’s next for the program?

The next cohort will begin in March 2022. Cohort 6 graduates will join The WEOC WBC Accelerator Alumnae Group, which took a hiatus for the summer and will resume meeting monthly soon.

Cutline: Leslee Hill, WEOC WBC Director at The NIIC for the Launch Women Business Builder Cohort 6 Graduation.

About The NIIC

499 new products launched, 196 patent applications submitted or granted, and 2,351 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 $100.4 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. Additionally, the International Business Innovation Association (inbia.org) recognized the NIIC as the 2020 Entrepreneur Center of the Year – Mixed-use and awarded it one of the two prestigious industry awards – the 2020 Dinah Adkins Award. TheNIIC.org.

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