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.
Greater Fort Wayne Inc. Bridge Program
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. Â Our local chapter hosts monthly coffee meet-ups for local entrepreneurs to present their startups to a thriving peer network of founders.
The Brightpoint Development Fund creates economic opportunities for communities, families, and individuals who lack access to affordable capital and financial services.
Community Development Corporation of Northeast Indiana
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.
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.
Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana
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.
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.
Northeast Indiana Innovation Center
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.
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.
Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center
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.