Whitley County Chamber & Visitors Center Expands Entrepreneurial Support in Collaboration with The NIIC & WEOC

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

For decades, resourceful women in Whitley County have been pursuing their dreams of business ownership largely on their own, researching options and seeking their own creative solutions. While many have achieved great pinnacles of success, the struggles involved in entrepreneurial pursuit can seem insurmountable, leading many to abandon their dreams – or not even pursue them at all. For this reason and many others, the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center and Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center (WEOC) are teaming to expand support of area entrepreneurs.

Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center is a primary advocate, resource, and champion for local businesses and non-profit organizations in Whitley County. “We strongly advocate and champion the needs of our local member businesses and as such, we are constantly evaluating and looking for resources to better serve their needs. We have recognized some resource gaps relative to serving entrepreneurs, especially start-ups. For several months, we’ve been developing a coworking space for our members,” said Jennifer Romano, Executive Director, Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center. “We developed this space to create a convenient, affordable, supportive environment for entrepreneurs during the planning, pre-launch, and potentially early stages of the business.”

“Our partnership with WEOC and The NIIC strengthens our resource offerings to better serve entrepreneurs while starting, growing, and innovating their companies. We will be offering one-on-one business coaching for women, training, workshops to learn about marketing products and services, social media, best practices, mentoring, and more for business owners,” said Romano.

“Collaborating with Whitley County Chamber and Visitors Center is part of our new Enterprising Communities initiative, a strategic resource and collaboration network powered by The NIIC and WEOC. It is designed to engage, energize, and empower our community’s entrepreneurial spirit. Focus areas include: networks, capital, talent, and workspaces. Enterprising Communities leverages our community’s unique assets to create more accessible place-based entrepreneurship opportunities for aspiring business founders,” said Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO, The NIIC.

“We are especially excited that women-owned businesses utilizing the coworking space at the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center will have an opportunity to obtain financial support for locating their business in the Chamber’s coworking space, have convenient access to onsite WEOC programming, and enjoy the privileges of membership in the Chamber,” stated LaPan.

About Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center—The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center is an advocate, resource, and champion for all local business and non-profit organizations in Whitley County. Membership in our organization means something different to each member. For some, we provide vital opportunities for networking and a sense of involvement in the community. For others, we provide advocacy on issues that matter to them locally and, occasionally, on a state level with our legislators. Still, others benefit from our one-on-one business coaching, marketing consultation, and more. We serve as a one stop shop for information or the first place to call to learn more about what’s happening in and around Whitley County. We are the first stop for business owners launching or expanding a business to share that news with the community. For more information about Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center, visit whitleychamber.com.

About WEOC—The 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. 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. 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. For more information visit TheNIIC.Org.

About Enterprising Communities—Enterprising Communities is a new strategic resource and collaboration network, powered by the NIIC and WEOC, designed to engage, energize, and empower our community’s entrepreneurial spirit. The NIIC recognizes that new firm formation rates have been declining for decades and are especially hurting in rural America. Enterprising Communities will leverage our entrepreneurial community’s unique assets to create more place-based entrepreneurship opportunities regionally for aspiring entrepreneurs.


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