This is the first in a series of pieces on entrepreneurship in Northeast Indiana. Join us as we explore the resources available to you as a resident of this area and some of the new businesses that are shaking things up in the area. Let’s Startup Fort Wayne! (-Tim)
Hello, Northeast Indiana!
Are you out there at your desk at your 9-to-5 job dreaming about controlling your own destiny? Do you even know where to start?
Before you empty your life savings, put on the brakes, take a deep breath, take a deep breath (again), talk to someone, and do your homework! There are many resources out there in Northeast Indiana to help you on your way.
Our first visit in “Startup Fort Wayne” is with the Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center (Northeast ISBDC) where I met with Wesley Shie, Regional Director, and business advisers Mary Popovich and Scot Goskowicz, who are there to help businesses grow in the region.
“We’re meeting here on a daily basis with either potential business owners or people that are in business,” said Shie, who was promoted to Regional Director of the Northeast Indiana branch on October 1. “We’re helping them with whatever facet of the business that they are having issues with, at whatever stage of business they are in.”
Northeast ISBDC is one of ten regional offices of the statewide ISBDC, an organization funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the US Small Business Administration (SBA). All services except for workshops and business evaluations are free to clients.
The local branch is hosted by Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) and is partnered with the City of Fort Wayne, area county economic development corporations, Greater Fort Wayne Inc., and others.
“Clients use us in a number of different ways. Some folks meet with us once, they go back and do a bunch of homework and six months later they call us with a whole bunch of stuff done,” said Shie. “Other people like to meet with us every ten days to check their process and progress.”
The type of assistance given by the business advising team varies from client to client. Some people ask for help with specific projects such as developing a marketing plan and others use the team to get feedback on business processes they are implementing.
Potential clients starting a business for the first time should take the new business survey on their website to start a relationship with the organization..
“This lets [the clients] and us know where they are in the process, and that will either direct them to take a workshop called “Launching Your Own Business” or one of our advisers will contact them to schedule an appointment,” said Popovich.
The next “Launching Your Own Business” workshop is on Wednesday, October 22 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm and will serve as an orientation session for those just starting out.
“We talk a lot about looking inward and evaluating yourself first,” said Shie. “When we’re meeting with folks, we are talking to them about what are they bringing to the table, [and] what resources do they have.”
A complete listing of all upcoming events and workshops can be found here.
More seasoned clients are eligible to immediately work with a business adviser, based on their feedback on their initial intake assessment.
“One of the things that I tell clients when I call them is that the first meeting is to get to know one another, to understand where they are in their process, and to see where we fit in,” said Goskowicz.
The resources available to clients are not just limited to business advising by the team in the Northeast branch with resources available through the Lead Center in Indianapolis. In addition to this, a local volunteer network of accountants, attorneys, financial advisers, and other professionals are available to meet initially free of charge with clients to answer more technical questions in these areas.
Living Fort Wayne continues its Startup Fort Wayne spotlight of Northeast ISBDC next week in part two of the series as we find out about services available to help develop marketing plans and strategic plans for new and existing clients.
For more information on the Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center, please visit their website or call (260) 481-0500. Northeast ISBDC is located at 4312 Hobson Road, Suite B, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46815.