The NIIC Ideas@Work Entrepreneurial Movement

The NIIC Ideas@Work Entrepreneurial Movement Fuels Innovation & Entrepreneurship

The NIIC’s annual Ideas@Work Signature Event Series convenes up to 500 entrepreneurs, business leaders, and students to fuel the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit in Northeast Indiana and the greater region. The Parkview Mirro Center for Research and Innovation serves as the event venue. This event series has featured dynamic, distinguished leaders in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Check out the 2018 Ideas@Work Brochure (PDF)


April 16, 2019

at the Parkview Mirro Center for Research and Innovation

2018 Ideas@Work 5th Annual Signature Event

Fort Wayne native Angie Hicks, Co-founder, Angie’s List and Chief Customer Officer at Angi Homeservices, served as event keynote speaker and focused on what it means to be an entrepreneur.

New at this year’s event, three, women-owned tech companies were recognized for completing phase one of the new WEOC Launch Women Business Builder Program.

Key Takeways from the Event (PDF)


2017 Ideas@Work 4th Annual Signature Event

Keynote speaker for 2017 Ideas@Work Event was U.S. leading entrepreneurial educator Dr. Donald Kuratko (Dr. K.), The Jack M. Gill Distinguished Chair of Entrepreneurship; Professor of Entrepreneurship; and Executive & Academic Director of Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Key Takeways from the Event (PDF)


2016 Ideas@Work Accelerating Indiana 3rd Annual Signature Event

Nationally-known Keynote Speaker J.B. Bernstein, entrepreneur, sports agent and author spurred event attendees to drive innovation. “You can succeed as an entrepreneur…find your ‘Eureka’ moment and the right resources.”

Key Takeways from the Event (PDF)


2015 Ideas@Work Celebrating 15 Years of Entrepreneurial Successes Annual Signature Event

During this milestone year of NIIC’s 15 Year Anniversary, international business mogul, Fort Wayne community resident and philanthropist Chuck Surack, Founder & President, Sweetwater Sound, inspired and motivated event attendees as he shared about Celebrating 37 Years of Entrepreneurial Success. “Always do the right thing for the customer.”—Chuck Surack

Key Takeways from the Event (PDF)



Eric Doden, President, Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) served as keynote speaker to provide Indiana state-wide perspective to attendees. He focused on Barriers of Economic Development: Observations from a 92 County Tour.

Mirro Student Founder Award

The Ideas@Work Signature Event Series also serves as a platform to recognize an outstanding NIIC Student Venture Lab (SVL) client. Established in 2015, the award was named after Dr. Mike Mirro, a prominent physician, entrepreneur, visionary, researcher and community leader. Dr. Mirro was the founding board chair of The NIIC. Award recipients are selected from clients of The NIIC SVL Program.The SVL offers student entrepreneurs an opportunity to start and grow a business in a supportive, success-focused environment. The SVL offers seed investment—and much more—to selected student-owned startup ventures. The SVL is supported by The Ideas@Work Signature Event Series and generous sponsors: IAB Financial Bank, Lincoln Financial Foundation, and The Edward M. & Mary McCrea Wilson Foundation.

The 2018 Mirro Student Founder Award Recipient 3B Apps, founders Nathan and Mitchell Skees.

Read Press Release

The 2017 Mirro Student Founder Award Recipient Jentri Cripe, Owner/Designer, Spread the Sparkle

Read Press Release

The 2016 Mirro Student Founder Award Recipient D-n-S Design, founders Matt Vanlandingham and Lindal Walker.

Read Press Release

The 2015 award recipient was Ashely Coleman, La’Shic, creator of Orthopedic High Heels.