The blueprint for building a nationally recognized economy

Cover of the Allen County Together economic development action plan

Our community has serious momentum.

  • We’re the #1 fastest-growing metro in the Great Lakes region.
  • We’ve seen more than $1 billion in private investment in downtown Fort Wayne since 2009.
  • We’ve become a magnet for talent and jobs, driving positive growth across Allen County and the surrounding area.

Now it’s time to raise the bar.

What are the next steps for building a nationally recognized economy?

The Allen County Together economic development action plan is the blueprint for taking us to the next level in the next 10 years (2022-31).

Bold Projects

The Allen County Together plan is driven by bold projects around three guiding principles. Highlights include:

Principle #1: High-Growth

  • Attract $1 billion in private investment to the riverfront in downtown Fort Wayne by the end of 2031.
  • Attract and grow 2,500 net new high-wage jobs by the end of 2031 in R&D, engineering, IT, regional headquarters, and tech-driven growth industries.
  • Build 2,500 on- and off-campus student housing units—and other amenities associated with local higher-education institutions—by the end of 2031 to help Fort Wayne become a widely recognized college town.

Principle #2: Innovative

  • Become recognized as a Top-10 Music City by the end of 2031 through expanded festivals, music venues, training and education, and music industry innovation.
  • Become a premier “Industry 4.0” automotive tech community and add 2,500 net new jobs in the automotive tech sector by the end of 2031.
  • Enhance Allen County’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by launching a $10-million venture fund and accelerator by the end of 2026, housed at Electric Works. Grow the venture fund to $25 million by the end of 2031.
Two people work in a computer server room.

Principle #3: Inclusive

  • Close the disparity gap by providing financing to underserved individuals and small businesses via expanded local community development financial institution (CDFI) capacity. Deploy $10 million in funding by 2026 and $25 million in funding by the end of 2031.
  • Build catalytic development projects in southeast Fort Wayne that attract $100 million in capital investment by the end of 2026 and $250 million by the end of 2031.
  • Attract and grow 2,500 net new jobs in southeast Fort Wayne by the end of 2031.
Woman using a microscope in a lab

Background

In November 2020, Greater Fort Wayne Inc. began the process of crafting an economic development action plan for Fort Wayne and Allen County. The goal was to create a strategic plan that would guide the community’s continued economic growth over the next 10 years, with tactical implementation focused on the coming five years.

With funding support from the City of Fort Wayne, Allen County Commissioners, and Indiana Michigan Power, GFW Inc. retained TIP Strategies to assist in crafting a strategy that will capitalize on the opportunities in front of us to build a nationally recognized economy.

As part of the discovery process for the project, the consulting team conducted 20 roundtables and dozens of individual interviews to gather information and ideas from more than 200 local stakeholders. These included business leaders, elected officials, educational leaders, developers, investors, community activists and advocates, and other stakeholders in Fort Wayne and Allen County.

Our Allen County Together (ACT) plan charts a path to grow the local economy through a collaborative effort to increase business growth, job creation, entrepreneurship, capital investment, and real estate development over the coming decade.