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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Entrepreneurship Spotlight: The C3 at Indiana Tech
Feb19

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: The C3 at Indiana Tech

This is a continuation of our series 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. Let’s Startup Fort Wayne! (-Tim) Being an entrepreneur is challenging – in order to be successful, startups need to be creative, motivated, and determined in their quest to develop innovative products and services to set themselves apart and find customers willing to give them a chance. Enter the new Center for Creative Collaboration (C3), a multidisciplinary entrepreneurship center on the campus of Indiana Tech that opened in August 2014. By connecting business clients with the right combination of faculty, staff, students, and mentors, the C3 aims to help in the creation and growth of successful technology-oriented companies with growth potential. “[The C3] initially grew out of some conversations that we had related to an opportunity to apply for a grant from the Lilly Endowment,” said Mark Richter, Executive Director of the C3. “The more we thought about it, the more [an entrepreneurship center] made sense to us.” After submitting the grant proposal to Lilly, Indiana Tech was awarded a half million dollar grant to cover operating costs for three years, with Indiana Tech providing the capital to build out and furnish the center’s new space in Indiana Tech’s new Academic Center. Multidisciplinary Approach is Key The C3 is unique in its multidisciplinary approach, which pulls from multiple resources across different academic disciplines at Indiana Tech. Usually colleges and universities operate entrepreneurship centers only in conjunction with their business programs – the C3 goes beyond that to include other disciplines creating a more robust approach. “We thought a more powerful vision and a more powerful model would be to be able to pull resources from our college of business, our college of engineering, our college of law, and our college of general studies,” said Richter. “A large university might not be able to do it that way, but we felt we could.” Students have opportunities to get involved with startups and collaborate with entrepreneurs on their projects through the C3 in a variety of ways. Some students participate through a course, while others may work as interns or collaborate individually on projects for experience. “It’s a good reference to have on a resume to show that you’ve worked on something like this,” said Richter. Entrepreneurs Wanted In its first six months, the C3 has met with 50-60 potential clients and currently has six it is working with right now. “One manufactures organic soaps, another one produces microbes for agricultural and environmental...

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Creative energy flows at WarriorHack
Jan29

Creative energy flows at WarriorHack

What do you think of when you hear the word “hack”? Well, if you’re participating in the First Annual WarriorHack Hackathon event at the Indiana Tech Center for Creative Collaboration (C3), it means innovation, creativity, and problem-solving in computer programming. Over the past several years, hackathons have been steadily growing in popularity across the nation. These events, which can last several days, invite large groups of people to collaborate on projects related to computer programming. “This region is large enough and has enough talent and people interested in this kind of work to bring them all together and let them spend 24 hours trying to build things that are interesting,” said Mark Richter, Executive Director of the C3. WarriorHack begins on Friday, February 20 at 6:00 pm and ends on Saturday, February 21 at 6:00 pm. The event will bring together participants interested in coding, development, and design. All skill and interest levels are welcome. “Some people have formal education in these areas, but a lot of young people have skills that they just sort of naturally develop by being around technology and using it for years,” said Richter. The event will begin with a pitch of projects from organizations, groups, and some of the participants. These needs might be related to their website, application development, software, or just something that would be fun and interesting to do. From here groups break down into smaller teams of five-to-seven who then spend the session working on a project for the 24 hour period. The winning team will receive a $1,000 cash prize with the second place team receiving $500. The event is free for both participants and the organizations and groups submitting projects.  Food and beverages will be provided for the participants. All participants need to bring are their laptops. There will also be guest speakers from the industry discussing a variety of topics. AT&T, the C3, and Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison website, are sponsors of the event. “The big vision is that we can bring these people together and bring some of these companies together,” said Richter. “We know students will be in the room – but we also know young professionals and entrepreneurs will be in the room, too.” Richter is hoping the benefits of this collaborative environment will go beyond simply working on the projects at hand. “[The participants] get to know each other,” said Richter. “A lot of the benefit is that new relationships are created and the local ecosystem for software developers is strengthened. “ “This is our attempt to kind of bring everybody that’s interested together in one room,” said Richter. “Hopefully they’ll make some new friends, make some new business contacts,...

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