Atrium Coworking Space Celebrates First Anniversary
Oct17

Atrium Coworking Space Celebrates First Anniversary

Get Directions From Start Fort Wayne Start Fort Wayne, a nonprofit organization that supports entrepreneurs and startups in northeast Indiana, is planning a one-year anniversary celebration for their downtown coworking space, the Atrium. The event is this Thursday, October 19th from 5:30-8 p.m. Coworking is using shared office space and resources with other individuals who may work in a variety of industries,  who would have otherwise been working from home offices, the library, or coffee shops. The Atrium launched in October of 2016. It is a 5,500 square foot coworking space that offers a space for entrepreneurs to launch their startup. Since opening, the Atrium has had over 140 members, with the current membership hovering around 100. There are three membership levels for the coworking space: general, shared membership areas for $50 per month; dedicated desks for $150 per month; and private offices with two desks for $350 per month or four desks for $700 per month. All memberships are month-to-month, so there is no lease commitment for startups but they get a desirable downtown business address. The space also has conference spaces for members or non-members. In addition to the coworking and conference spaces, the Atrium is the home of Start Fort Wayne, it’s parent organization. Start Fort Wayne began in 2015 with a mission to strengthen the infrastructure that supports entrepreneurs in northeast Indiana, supporting a long-term vision to attract outside tech and innovation companies to launch their venture in northeast Indiana. Besides the Atrium coworking space, Start Fort Wayne also provides entrepreneur coaching services through Steve Franks’ LevelUp program and youth coding education through a partnership with the South Bend Code School. Start Fort Wayne also started the first chapter of the Kauffman Foundation’s “1 Million Cups” program in Indiana in 2015 and the chapter is one of the most active chapters in the country, meeting every Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. at Sweetwater with 40-60 entrepreneurs attending each week. The Get Local event will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will include a short program that will highlight several entrepreneurs, in a “pitch-style” presentation, sighting the impact that Start Fort Wayne’s projects and programs have had on their venture over the past year. There will also be exciting announcements of partnership and support from other local organizations and recognition of entrepreneurial impact. Following the event, there will be free food from Calhoun Street Soup, Salad, and Spirits, a cash bar from Mad Anthony’s, and locally made cupcakes and cake. There will also be a free art display and live, local music from Jess Thrower. The event concludes at 8 p.m. To learn more about Start Fort...

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Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Northeast Indiana Innovation Center
Jan14

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Northeast Indiana Innovation Center

  Perhaps one of the visible resources for entrepreneurs in Northeast Indiana is on the northeast side of Fort Wayne near the IPFW campus. Since 1999 the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (NIIC) has worked diligently to aid in the development of innovative ventures for the region by providing a variety of services to both new and continuing entrepreneurs. We contacted Karl LaPan, President and CEO of the NIIC, to get his thoughts on how to maximize your experience with the facility. “Entrepreneurs need to be disciplined,  self-aware, coachable, reflective and contingency-minded in their thinking,” said LaPan. “When they exhibit these characteristics, they can benefit tremendously from NIIC in the advice, mentorship, and traction in meeting their milestones.” The NIIC offers a variety of initiatives at its campus, like Affiliate Client Coaching Services, where clients can learn strategies from experienced entrepreneurs and business people. There is also office space in its Incubator, and a co-working option via Destination: Your Future. You can also find programs from young entrepreneurs like the Student Venture Labs. Check out their services portfolio for a comprehensive listing of what the NIIC has to offer. “While invention is about coming up with the idea, entrepreneurship is about breathing life into the innovation for the benefit of society,” said LaPan. The NIIC works with a broad spectrum of entrepreneurs from pre-company to established corporations. Some of these entrepreneurs may have extensive industry experience and others may not. “Having deep industry insights and first hand knowledge often helps entrepreneurs make less mistakes and avoid potential pitfalls,” said LaPan. “This is not to say that entrepreneurs can’t be successful in executing on an idea in an unrelated field. It just possibly raises the execution risk of the venture.” After successfully connecting with NIIC, clients may have access to NIIC’s entrepreneur-in-residence, professional service providers, mentors, and angel investors orchestrated by NIIC. “NIIC provides the strategic advantages of faster commercialization and speed to market because we work ‘hand and glove’ with the entrepreneur and his/her team,” said LaPan. “In addition, we reduce the risk of starting and growing a business.” The NIIC also helps clients connect with service providers (e.g. lawyers, accountants, angel investors, and more) and other resources in the community dedicated to servicing entrepreneurs. The NIIC also partners with universities like IPFW and Huntington University. “When we assist entrepreneurs, we remember that we are providing them advice, support, encouragement, and access to resources. Often, entrepreneurs are pulled in different directions and receive conflicting advice, but NIIC  serves the best interest of entrepreneurs by always being on the side of the entrepreneur and serving as their advocate,” said LaPan. “We love it when entrepreneurs...

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Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Northeast ISBDC (Part 2)
Nov14

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Northeast ISBDC (Part 2)

This is the second 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!  We are continuing our spotlight of the Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center (Northeast ISBDC) with our second and final part of the spotlight on strategic planning and marketing research assistance available at Northeast ISBDC. Here’s a quick summary of what we covered in our last piece on the Northeast ISBDC: It 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 type of assistance given by the business advising team varies from client to client. In the last piece, we talked with Regional Director Wesley Shie and two business advisors, Mary Popovich, and Scot Goskowicz. Here’s what they had to say about how the Northeast ISBDC can help businesses in the critical areas of marketing research and strategic planning. Marketing research The team at Northeast ISBDC is available to consult with business clients about their marketing research needs. Consultations are available to help clients develop prospect and competitor lists, research their industry, or perform business to consumer (B2C) market research. “One of the common areas that people come in and have struggles with is in their ability to market themselves effectively when they are in business,” said Goskowicz. With access to ReferenceUSA, the team at Northeast ISBDC is able to pull market research, show how households spend, and what businesses are available to market to. “If you’re starting up, it’s critical to know who the other kids are in the sandbox with you so you know, from a competitive standpoint, where you sit from a price and a functional and quality standout.” said Goskowicz. With access to other leading databases, Northeast ISBDC can help businesses research their industry to learn market trends, best practices, current conditions, and other vital information to help them develop a solid plan. Northeast ISBDC can help clients access customer information with Esri Business Analyst Online to help them get a better view of market demographics. “Esri is really about the marketplace – will their business work in a certain geographical area based on data,” said Shie. Strategic planning Is your existing business at a crossroads and in need of a new vision? The team at Northeast ISBDC has been formally trained in a new strategic planning model...

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Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Northeast ISBDC
Oct20

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Northeast ISBDC

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...

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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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