Women’s business center director launches a new APP–Development process leads to better coaching of tech clients
Tammy Allen, Director | Marketing & Programs, The NIIC
For Immediate Release
February 19, 2020, Fort Wayne, Ind. — Leslee Hill is taking a dose of her own medicine. For the past two years, she has coached entrepreneurial women and minorities as director of the Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center (WEOC) at the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (The NIIC). Recently, she launched her own mobile app business to practice the principles she preaches at WEOC.
“Developing an app company sharpens my skills to better serve our clients in tech, like those in our Launch Women Business Builders Program (registration is open for cohort 5),” said Hill. The idea for the new app came to her during training to become a Certified Coach for the Wendy Kennedy International (WKI) Institute.
The NIIC is the only entrepreneurial service organization in the region to offer The WKI methodology to business builders. Hill is one of four certified coaches, which also includes Karl LaPan, Mike Fritsch, and Tammy Allen. “I needed a business concept to apply what we learned. So, having previous experience as a fashion-consulting business owner, it was natural to choose a fashion app as my business concept,” said Hill.
This is Hill’s first foray into the highly competitive world of app development. She applies the valuable lessons she has learned as she coaches WEOC clients. “I’m more confident coaching female founders in tech after putting into practice the WKI principles and bringing this new app to market,” said Hill.
“I want this to be successful, but not for idealistic American Dream reasons,” said Hill. “I want it to be successful, so I can tell founders that these are the right steps. These are the things that work and don’t work so that I can coach others more effectively from personal experience.”
That desire meshes perfectly with Hill’s role and passion for serving women through WEOC. “Women often come to us with big dreams but may not know how to develop a viable business plan or raise venture capital. If they have launched a small business, they may struggle to understand how to scale their company,” explained Hill. “At WEOC, we’ve always offered expert coaching to these business builders. Now, I am working alongside them in developing my own business.”
What about her dual roles as a full-time WEOC Director and business owner? “It’s challenging yet so rewarding! I love both roles. I appreciate The NIIC and the U.S. Small Business Administration for catching my vision for learning by doing and their continued support. They express confidence in me and help me find the resources I need. That’s the same kind of support I want to continue to provide to female founders at WEOC,” said Hill.
Hill’s new mobile app offers users crowdsourced feedback on their clothing choices. Women can upload to the app a selfie of them wearing an outfit. Other users of the app provide advice about whether to keep or pitch the item, how to accessorize it, or modifications to make it better. Advanced versions of the app will offer personalized guidance from professional image consultants.
“The app is called RIDME, which has an intentional double meaning,” said Hill. “It helps users get rid of clothing that doesn’t work for them. It also helps them get rid of the stress of getting dressed. I want women to be confident in their wardrobes, save money, choose clothes that match their body types, and feel better about themselves.” The app is for women of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds. “The app helps women create their ideal personal image, from the inside out, all from the convenience of their mobile phone.”
About The NIIC
467 new products launched, 189 patent applications submitted or granted, and 2,290 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 $91 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. TheNIIC.org. Click here for The NIIC press kit.
2,354 women and immigrants served, trained, and counseled—since WEOC’s formation five years ago. The Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center (WEOC) serves Northeast Indiana 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. WEOC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. As the Host organization, The NIIC also provides supplemental funding and complementary resources. WEOC is an SBA designated Women’s Business Center—one of two in Indiana. For more information, visit www.inweoc.com.