Some of Allen County’s top employers come from the most humble of beginnings. Now, dozens of programs and entrepreneurial support organizations (ESOs) are aligning to build a thriving ecosystem for startups.
Bridging the gap between startup and success, our Bridge Program creates a unique support system to help founders flourish. It’s the business community banding together to build the next generation of homegrown success stories.
Developed by the Kauffman Foundation, 1 Million Cups is a free, national program designed to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs. Our local chapter hosts monthly coffee meet-ups for local entrepreneurs to present their startups to a thriving peer network of founders.
212’s mission is to advance artists with the inspiration, resources, and preparation they need to turn ideas into reality and to foster the creative economy in our region and the world. 212 offers shared studio space, production equipment, and mentorships for their artists in residence.
A program of Indiana Tech, C3 project teams help entrepreneurs, inventors, and innovators create successful companies. The Center links clients together with a team of experts for each project, including expert mentors from around the community and experienced faculty from its schools of business and engineering.
The Community Development Corporation of Northeast Indiana (CDC) is a City of Fort Wayne sponsored non-profit that provides alternative financing options to new and existing small business owners.
Part venture capital fund and part entrepreneurial development partner, Elevate Northeast Indiana works to create sustainable cultures and infrastructure across Indiana that support the success of entrepreneurs.
A micro-grant dinner that fosters community and raises funds for creative projects that enhance Fort Wayne living, Fort Wayne SOUP’s mission is to promote community-based development through crowdfunding, creativity, collaboration, democracy, trust, and fun.
Becoming an entrepreneur takes grit, guts, and heart. The goal of the Fortitude Fund is to create an entrepreneurial culture in northeast Indiana that welcomes new ideas and encourages you to dream bigger.
Founders Spark is an organization dedicated to introducing new and aspiring entrepreneurs, hustlers, and go-getters into the startup community as well as providing them the tools they need to succeed.
FUSE NEI is an online resource hub and directory, designed to help entrepreneurs connect with entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) in northeast Indiana. Our ESOs provide resources and business assistance to help develop an idea, launch a startup, or grow an existing business.
gBETA Fort Wayne is a program of nationally ranked startup accelerator gener8tor. gBETA Fort Wayne is a free, seven-week accelerator for early-stage companies with Indiana roots. Each program is capped at five teams, and requires no fees and no equity.
Junior Achievement empowers young people to own their future economic success by enhancing the relevancy of education, including entrepreneurship skill development. JA programs expose students to basic business concepts and the skills that enable them to understand real-life economics.
Located on South Calhoun Street, one of the most diverse neighborhood corridors in Fort Wayne, the Penta C.S. Group is a Minority Entrepreneurial Center offering office space for rent, conference rooms, and assistance with business planning, budgeting, marketing, human resources, and professional coaching.
Serving the east Allen County communities of Grabill, Harlan, Hoagland, Leo-Cedarville, Monroeville, New Haven, and Woodburn, NewAllen Alliance provides low interest business loans, facade grants, and business education grants for local employers and entrepreneurs.
Located adjacent to Purdue University Fort Wayne and Ivy Tech Community College, the NIIC is one of the country’s top entrepreneurial resource centers and business incubators. The Innovation Center is the region’s “one-stop shop” for all entrepreneurial services: business development, access to capital, product innovation and commercialization services, marketing, research, training, mentoring, and coaching.
Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provides entrepreneurs expert guidance in a variety of areas including planning, government registration, market analysis, advertising, exports, government contracting, and more.
OCEAN NEI is a community of northeast Indiana entrepreneurs and small business owners who are building and growing their businesses. We host monthly community events aimed to equip entrepreneurs and small business owners with Inspiration & Tangible Skill Content, Community, and Connection. OCEAN NEI also produces a weekly podcast featuring local small business owners as well as recorded content from the monthly networking events.
Own Your Success (OYS) is a community of women entrepreneurs in Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana. Supported by an active online community, monthly events and programming, and an office space opening soon in downtown Fort Wayne, OYS’s mission is to provide a nurturing network and resource-rich programming and connections so that more women in our region feel empowered to start their own businesses.
Our local chapter is platinum certified and has 50+ active mentors. SCORE offers free business mentoring, workshops, and numerous templates and tools for stating or growing a business.
Formerly the Urban Enterprise Association, SEED Fort Wayne offers real estate and personal property tax benefits for commercial investments to enhance manufacturing, innovation, technology, and logistics. In 2018, the City of Fort Wayne expanded the Summit City Entrepreneur and Enterprise District (SEED) beyond its original urban core to include major commercial corridors emanating out of downtown. The district expansion doubled the number of businesses that qualify for the incentives.
Located downtown, Start Fort Wayne is building a thriving entrepreneur and high-growth tech community in northeast Indiana. Start Fort Wayne fosters startups by providing collaborative workspace (The Atrium) and educational programming.
The Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center (WEOC) for Indiana is an Official Small Business Association (SBA) Women’s Business Center. WEOC offers timely and immediate assistance to women entrepreneurs at any stage in their venture path, from business idea and start-up through growth and expansion. WEOC was designed to understand and respond to the unique needs of women entrepreneurs.
The Workbench – Fort Wayne is a manufacturing incubator invested in lowering barriers to entry in prototyping, product testing, and production design. We provide member companies access to space, equipment, and industry expertise to help makers move from an idea to a sellable product.