Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Start Fort Wayne
Apr14

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Start Fort Wayne

Last week we introduced you to Vertical Leap, a free event for “founder-types.” This week we dig in a little deeper and find out a little more about the group putting together the event, and where it hopes to go as it tries to bring together “starters” in the Fort Wayne area. Let’s Startup Fort Wayne! (-Tim) *** Calling All: Founders, Builders, Artists, Creators, Developers, Tinkerers, Musicians, Startups, Engineers, Photographers, Students, Healers, Marketers, Coders, Technicians, Makers, Financiers, Entrepreneurs, and Supporters Who Want to Help Fort Wayne Succeed. This is the message that welcomes visitors to the Start Fort Wayne website. There many groups and organizations in Northeast Indiana trying to help people succeed in starting up business and creative ventures. What’s the best way to know about all of these resources if you’re just getting started or want to branch out and learn more? Dave Sanders of CoWork Fort Wayne, a coworking space in Downtown Fort Wayne, and Avenue 80, a custom software development firm, is attempting to answer that question with a new project called “Start Fort Wayne.” “After talking with some others in town, I saw that there were a lot of different groups holding a lot of different programs for ‘starters’ in Fort Wayne,” said Sanders. “[CoWork Fort Wayne] tried to host a few starter events itself, but I was frustrated, when trying to host my own events, that it was hard to get the word out, and that attendance was hard to predict.” With multiple organizations all trying to get the word out about their events, activities, and services, it can be a bit daunting for the casual observer to keep up with what’s available for starters in Fort Wayne. If you jump onto the Start Fort Wayne website, you’ll find an attractive site with tabs with information on events and resources in the area, the monthly Vertical Leap event and more, all in one place and easy to use. It’s free and serves as a one-stop shop for the information you need to thrive as a starter in Fort Wayne. “To me, a ‘starter’ isn’t just about Startups, but anyone who is building or making something of their own – whether that’s a tech startup, a pop-up gallery, a food truck, or just independently trying to sell their own art or music,” said Sanders. “We obviously don’t have a huge Silicon Valley tech center here in Fort Wayne, but we do have great arts and music communities, many of whom are trying to make a living doing this.” By bringing together these diverse groups and individuals, Sanders hopes that people from diverse backgrounds can meet with...

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Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Vertical Leap
Apr10

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Vertical Leap

This is the return of our popular article series on entrepreneurship in Northeast Indiana. There isn’t a better topic to cover first than the return of a popular event on entrepreneurship! 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) *** How do founders, entrepreneurs, creatives, and other community leaders do it? And by “it” we mean finding success in building thriving businesses and creative ventures in the Summit City. Is it having a great idea? Does it come down to having the best skill set or having access to funding? Is it passion or maybe confidence? It can be some or all of those things, but there is one big ingredient you need to be successful and thrive here or anywhere – that is people. As someone interested in the entrepreneurship culture here in Fort Wayne, there has been one event I have been missing. Vertical Leap is returning to Fort Wayne on Wednesday, April 15 at 6:30 pm at The Center for Creative Collaboration (The C3) at Indiana Tech. This free event is now brought to you by Start Fort Wayne and will repeat monthly. This month’s food, drink, and space is sponsored by The C3. Here you will find people to network with and bounce ideas off of, plus opportunities to listen to presenters. You never know who you might collide with – a young start-up, an artist, a student, a musician, an experienced business person, or maybe someone just exploring. “We plan on moving [Vertical Leap] around town and holding it at different venues and choosing programs that appeal to different audiences, so that we can bring together the different ‘starter’ communities around Fort Wayne,” said Dave Sanders, organizer of Start Fort Wayne. “That’s a really big deal to me, to help gain that critical mass.” A typical event will start out with casual networking, followed by a presentation and speakers, 60 second pitches, and more networking to close out the night. Want to know what a 60 second pitch is? If you have an idea in your head (not already in business), get up, share it in 60 seconds, and get feedback from the group. From past experience, this is really casual and can be quite fun and engaging. And don’t forget to network – maybe you’ll find out for yourself just how they do it! If you are interested in checking out Vertical Leap, RSVP on Eventbrite as seats are limited for the event, and visit www.startfortwayne.com/verticalleap. Here are the speakers...

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Coworking grows in Fort Wayne
Jul22

Coworking grows in Fort Wayne

Are you a freelancer or entrepreneur hunched over a laptop in a crowded coffee shop, paying your “rent” with the smallest cup of joe imaginable? For the sake of your barista, don’t be “that guy or gal.” If you don’t want to spend “X” amount of dollars on your own office, there’s an option available so you can get the quality workspace you need. Enter coworking into the equation Coworking is here in the heart of downtown Fort Wayne on the fifth floor of the Murphy Building on Calhoun Street (right across from Pint and Slice and Dash-In). Founded in January 2014 by Dave Sanders and Chad Clabaugh, CoWork Fort Wayne is a coworking space that provides a shared work environment for community’s budding entrepreneurial class. If you’re not familiar with coworking, here’s the rundown – you bring your own computer equipment and get to work,  while CoWork Fort Wayne provides a clean and quiet space with desks and chairs, internet access, a kitchen area with drinks and snacks, whiteboards, and two small conference rooms. “We’re here to help people,” said Dave Sanders, co-founder of CoWork Fort Wayne. “We’re here to give people a place to work.” A place to work remotely was needed in Fort Wayne since the coworking space Founders closed in 2013. Sanders and Clabaugh were both users of that space and worked throughout the end of 2013 to set-up this space in the “perfect” spot, close to downtown dining and easily accessible on foot or by bike. And speaking of work, when you visit you’ll probably find Sanders himself at a desk working on his own projects through Avenue 80, the custom software development company he co-founded in 2011. The website describes some of the benefits of coworking versus working from home – the separation of work and home life, and the ability to focus on your work rather than getting distracted by the hassles of everyday life are all major positives. Plus, who knows who you could meet working in a shared space. Right now, CoWork Fort Wayne has eight monthly members, but Sanders would like that figure hit 15 (or more) in the long-term. Sanders has plenty of ideas of how the space can grow – chat him up when he gives you a tour of the space. CoWork Fort Wayne has a variety of pricing options. Monthly rates are $125 with no long-term commitment. Drop-ins are available for three hours ($3) and a full day ($7). Free coworking days are also periodically available if you want to check out the space – check out their social media channels. A complete listing of pricing options...

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