Entrepreneurship Spotlight: CO.STARTERS Fort Wayne
Oct06

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: CO.STARTERS Fort Wayne

Join Living Fort Wayne 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. This week we check out CO.STARTERS program at Artlink Contemporary Gallery. Turn your business idea into action right here in Fort Wayne! Recognizing the entrepreneurial spirit in Fort Wayne, Artlink Contemporary Gallery, a “non-for-profit” art gallery, licensed the CO.STARTERS program with the entrepreneurial artist in mind, but the beauty of CO.STARTERS is that the program is versatilely made to help guide aspiring entrepreneurs of all disciplines to realize their dreams. CO.STARTERS is a Tennessee-based company that licenses its nine-week course and materials to businesses or organizations who then in turn lead the course in their own cities. The program has graduated over 3,000 entrepreneurs from more than 50 locations in the United States  and New Zealand. The nine-week course meets once a week for three hours and is facilitated, not taught, by a local, connected business leader. The CO.STARTERS course helps entrepreneurs by connecting them with other entrepreneurs and bringing in guest speakers to help them get a thorough and comprehensive understanding of all aspects of their businesses. Graduates of Artlink’s CO.STARTERS program cross all fields, from artists to photographers to connectors to brewers. No matter the industry, CO.STARTERS offers its graduates invaluable connections and experiences. These graduates review these experiences as highly positive – helping them figure out what they do and DO NOT want to do, which was the valuable and surprising lesson for Dianna Chadd. The program helped Chadd refocus all of her time and energy from starting her own business into concentrating on producing more of her paintings. CO.STARTERS helped Amber Sturgis, whose business idea was to create an online platform for artists to share and sell their artwork called Focal Nova, assess her current understanding of business and guide her to areas where she needs to focus to develop a more rounded understanding of starting a business, which helped her bring Focal Nova to where it is today. Artlink’s CO.STARTERS program, facilitated by Steve Franks, lasts nine weeks and costs $250 for Artlink members (becoming a member is easy and open to artists and non-artists, just contact christina@artlinkfw.com) and $275 for the general public. Artlink’s CO.STARTERS program has successfully graduated two classes, and anyone interested in joining the next class should be on the lookout for the next application session in the Spring of 2016. Stay up to date on this timeline by checking back on Artlink’s website or by following Artlink of Facebook, Twitter and...

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Something’s in the air at Birdboy Brewing
Jul28

Something’s in the air at Birdboy Brewing

There’s something in the air in Fort Wayne – something new and exciting in the local beer scene. Birdboy Brewing is coming and hopes Fort Wayne is ready for a taste of something new. The local craft brewery is starting up production of kegged craft beer for distribution to select bars and restaurants in the Fort Wayne market. “It’s a small brewery,” said founder Ben Thompson. “It’s going to be Fort Wayne’s only production brewery right now.” In naming his brewery, Thompson was inspired by Fort Wayne’s own “birdboy,” pilot Art Smith, who Fort Wayne’s Smith Field Airport is also named for. Thompson himself has been a pilot since the age of 17 and went on to study aviation maintenance in college, which is when he started experimenting with homebrewing. With assistance from the Fort Wayne Arts Incubator Co-Starters program at ArtLink Fort Wayne, Thompson was able to pivot and refine an already existing business plan he originally had for a brew pub and decided to go the distribution route. Working independently with only a contractor, Thompson is balancing working a full-time job while pursuing his dream. “It definitely doesn’t leave time for much else, but it’s manageable,” said Thompson. The first brews on tap are going to be a Belgian pale ale followed by an American wheat. “The Belgian pale ale is not real hoppy, but it has a nice kind of spicy yeast character,” said Thompson. “The American wheat is pretty hoppy with some soft wheat flavors.” With construction just wrapping up and the first batch of craft beer completed, Thompson is now meeting with bar and restaurant owners and managers to get his special brew on tap. “It’s going to be such a small brewery,” said Thompson. “I’m going to have a hard time keeping up with just Fort Wayne.” That’s good to hear, and great for the community to see new things, which add to the culture of Fort Wayne while also reminding us a little bit about Fort Wayne’s rich history. Look for Birdboy Brewing beers at a local pub near you. For more information and to get updates on when and where to find Birdboy Brewing products, please visit them online at birdboybrewing.com and on social media on Facebook and...

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