My Entrepreneurship Story with Chelsea Thompson
Jan29

My Entrepreneurship Story with Chelsea Thompson

Hi. I’m Chelsea. Or Chels, if you’d like. I am a recent 2017 IPFW grad with a Bachelor of Arts in English, Professional Writing. I love to start things; projects, poems, stories, companies, Etsy shops, you get the picture. So naturally in the few weeks that I have had to digest this “no more school thing,” I have been drawn to the entrepreneur community in Fort Wayne, Indiana. So far, I have taken to Start Fort Wayne’s Atrium— a mod entrepreneur coworking space on Berry street. Entering Atrium, I found a quite nice receptionist there to greet me and introduce me to the space. Atrium includes desks with computers, tables with convenient charging ports, mini conference rooms with trendy white boards, regular-sized conference rooms, and, of course, a spot for some very delish coffee. The mugs are hanging on the back wall, and you are free to grab one and fill it with robust, delightful Utopian Coffee. After filling my mug, I settled down to work on my business plan for a café where writers and community members can convene and collaborate (more on this later). All-in-all, Atrium is a fabulous entrepreneur’s retreat. I enjoyed the space to work on my business plan around like-minded individuals and the great view, but more importantly, I enjoyed being welcomed for collaboration, shared ideas and dreams, and general connection between peers and mentors. It is located on 111 Berry Street – check it out! I’m looking forward to attending the BIYB (Believe In Your Business) “Young Entrepreneurs Meetup” this February 10. Hosted by Steve Franks (an experienced entrepreneur coach extraordinaire), the meeting should be a fun-filled, energetic way to meet and share ideas and experiences with fellow young entrepreneurs! I am excited to pitch my “The Story Café” idea and see what kind of feedback I receive from my peers! I am also looking forward to attending the One Million Cups meeting Wednesday mornings at 9:00 a.m. at Sweetwater. I have been to Sweetwater before (for a Ben Folds concert), and from what I remember, it is a wonderful and imaginative space complete with a café, of course. This venue seems perfect for the entrepreneurs of Fort Wayne to gather and express their visions. Now, a little bit more about my own entrepreneurial endeavors, experiences, and hopes. I have created an Etsy shop that sells handmade bracelets, a coffee club that toured local coffeehouses, and a few websites just to name a couple things. Experience-wise, I have been involved in TEDxPurdueU marketing and an entrepreneur class at Purdue University. Though I ultimately decided to pursue writing for my college degree, entrepreneurship and marketing...

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This Week in Entrepreneurship – 11/29/17
Nov29

This Week in Entrepreneurship – 11/29/17

From a food cart to a food truck to a brick and mortar location serving up hot dogs, burgers and more, Bo Gonzalez and Bravas has experienced impressive growth in the Fort Wayne community since 2011. We caught up with one of the city’s most successful young restaurateurs in today’s entrepreneurship spotlight. (Read more) Are you an entrepreneur or small business owner interested in participating in our popular “Entrepreneurship Spotlight” survey? Visit our Entrepreneurship Spotlight page for more information about how to submit your information. New Q&As will go up weekly at the top of “This Week in Entrepreneurship” as they come in. Click here for a complete listing of past spotlights. Last Week at 1 Million Cups Fort Wayne 1 Million Cups is an event for local entrepreneurs to meet and present their startups to the thriving peer network of founders in Fort Wayne. The events occur every Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. at Sweetwater. Check out their website for more information and to learn about more area entrepreneurs. November 15th’s guest was Dylan Belcher of Cartt. Notes from Around the Region Upcoming Events 1 Million Cups Fort Wayne Recurs Weekly on Most Wednesdays Upcoming presenters: November 29 – Kam Eley, Eley Software Consulting December 6 – TBA December 13 – TBA December 20 – Erik Magner, Meister Cook LLC January 3 – Brett Meyer, Donation Spring 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM   SCORE – Intellectual Property Workshop – Grace College Wednesday, November 29 3:30 PM First Fridays at IWU Fort Wayne Friday, December 1 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM WEOC Workshop – Funding Your Business – Sessions 1 & 2 Thursday, December 7 Thursday, December 14 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM Greater Fort Wayne Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Membership & Networking Meeting Thursday, December 7 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM PowerUP – Start Fort Wayne Friday, December 8 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM SCORE – Creditworthiness Workshop Tuesday, December 12 5:00 PM NE ISBDC – Launching Your Own Business: A Sound and Proven Path Wednesday, December 13 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM NE ISBDC – Funding Options and Financial Literacy for Small Business Monday, December 18 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM SCORE – Finding the Money Workshop Tuesday, December 19 5:00 PM Announcement There are still open slots for the next cohort of the Compass entrepreneurship coaching program, which starts on December 2. Email Steve Franks at sfranks@startfortwayne.com for more details. See archived news release from Start Fort Wayne.   Submit Your Entrepreneurship Events and Announcements Do you have an event coming up? Submit your details to our Living Fort Wayne calendar here, which is part of the new...

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Start Fort Wayne Announces $90,000 in Support
Oct21

Start Fort Wayne Announces $90,000 in Support

From Start Fort Wayne Start Fort Wayne announced support from local organizations on Thursday, October 19. The announcements were held at the Atrium, Start Fort Wayne’s coworking space, while celebrating the space’s one year anniversary. Greater Fort Wayne Inc. announced $35,000 of support for Start Fort Wayne. “Entrepreneurs are the risk-takers, innovators, and job creators that can fuel us toward becoming a nationally recognized economy,” said Eric Doden, CEO of Greater Fort Wayne Inc. in a prepared release. “We’re thrilled that Start Fort Wayne is helping startups succeed. The Atrium provides a tremendous collision space for entrepreneurs, and we look forward to seeing those collisions turn our innovation economy into a powerhouse.” Additionally, Elevate Northeast Indiana announced their support of Start Fort Wayne. Mark Michael, President and COO of Fort Wayne Metals and board member of the Elevate Northeast Indiana board says in a prepared release, “The Elevate Northeast Indiana board, in an effort to enlarge and elevate our region’s entrepreneurial culture, is providing Start Fort Wayne $35,000 to grow its support of entrepreneurs.  When we formed Elevate Northeast Indiana this month, our first order of business became the support of the entire entrepreneurial culture, beginning with this grant.” In addition to the announcements at the Atrium event, Fort Wayne Metals yesterday announced a donation of $10,000 a year for three years to Start Fort Wayne. Also, the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne granted Start Fort Wayne a $10,000 Agency Support Grant on Thursday. Start Fort Wayne Executive Director, Rhonda Ladig states in a prepared release, “We’re thrilled at these announcements of support! We view the partnerships with these organizations as a stepping stone to collaboratively strengthen the entrepreneur infrastructure and startup community in our region.” Additionally last evening, Start Fort Wayne announced a new annual award named for local entrepreneur coach Steve Franks (read more about Steve Franks). The Steve Franks Award for Entrepreneurial Effectiveness was awarded to it’s namesake. The award will be given by Start Fort Wayne annually to recognize and individual who is doing extraordinary things to support entrepreneurs in our region. 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. Some of Start Fort Wayne’s programs include 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 Atrium...

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Good Neighbors – Steve Franks in Fort Wayne
Aug08

Good Neighbors – Steve Franks in Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne area community good neighbor Steve Franks “Fort Wayne, a league of its own.” For over a decade, Steve Franks has been helping small businesses take their first step. He works with Start Fort Wayne coaching entrepreneurs through their LevelUP program and serves on the board for the nonprofit Believe in a Dream, working with their Believe in Your Business program that focuses on high school age entrepreneurs. He sees youth-centered entrepreneurship as vibrant and world changers. When encouraged, they will find the way. I asked how one would encourage these young entrepreneurs. “Not every venture needs to be a home run, but a lot of singles will get a lot of runs,“ Steve replied. He went on to explain that not every first venture will be your best.   I find myself continually amazed and inspired by people living in the Fort Wayne area, Steve Franks being one of them. We had an opportunity to ask Steve about who he is and what he does. How long have you been helping small businesses? I left the world of innovation consulting 13 years ago and started coaching entrepreneurs at the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center. NIIC was fairly new at the time. I sought it out since it had the word “innovation” in its name – it turned out to be more about entrepreneurship than what I had come to know as innovation. Fortunately, discovering I loved working with startup entrepreneur, I started helping them think through their new ventures. Most everything I’ve done for the past three decades or so has been with smaller entrepreneurial companies.  I’ve co-founded two ventures and have been working around and developing new things.   What was the first job or one of the first jobs you had? The job that made the biggest difference in the trajectory of my life was when I resigned from the cushy office job at North American Van Lines (where I worked since high school) to go sell microcomputers on commission. Not the most fiscally prudent move, perhaps, but it worked out and gave me a foothold into something I love–which was why I took the plunge. It started me down the path of working with things I was passionate about, rather than just some financially comfortable salary job. It allowed me to hone skills that help me be a good entrepreneur coach today.   You are helping with things all over. How do you keep your energy up and prioritize to prevent burn out? What is this “prioritize” thing you speak of?  One way to not burn out is to be busy. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but you only really burn...

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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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