The Community Investment Fund of Indiana (CIFI) is a statewide, certified development financial institution (cdfi) that works with banks, local initiatives, and other community partners to fill gaps in flexible financing offerings. Our purpose is to generate positive change by expanding financial opportunities for low to moderate-income individuals and underserved communities. CIFI provides technical assistance and capital (through loans) to small businesses throughout Indiana. Portfolio companies include startups as well as existing companies, which may be focusing on growth, needing equipment, facility financing or restructuring their balance sheet. Visit our website and select the Borrower’s tab and fill out the application.
The Entrepreneurship Program at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne offers students practical lessons in business start-up and management with interactive business plans, marketing strategies and community mentorship. Through the New Venture Competition, the campus awards up to $40,000 to the best entrepreneur to bring their dreams to reality. To date, the entrepreneurship program and New Venture Competition have assisted in the launch of many business ventures across northeast Indiana in industries from automotive, to culinary, to fashion, to manufacturing.
Elevate Origins Pre-Seed and Seed Programs provide virtual group learning, one-on-one coaching and live pitch practice to startups. The Elevate Origins Pre-Seed Program is specifically for startups that have not yet generated revenue. Aspiring entrepreneurs who may not have a business idea yet, or instructors of entrepreneurship classes that are looking to supplement their classwork with institutional investor-designed programming, are also encouraged to participate and will find value in the content.
Elevate Nexus provides resources and thought leadership to Indiana higher-education institutions and the entrepreneurs they engage. Elevate Nexus Pitch Competitions offer promising startups, preferably engaged with Elevate Nexus partnered colleges and universities, the opportunity to secure foundational capital needed to launch their businesses. $2.3M is awarded each year through pitch competitions.
Kiva Northeast Indiana provides crowdfunded loans from $1,000 to $15,000.
Beyond startup funding and venture capital, traditional lending sources can be a valuable and vital resource for startups and small businesses. FUSE NEI has compiled local, regional and national lending institutions serving Northeast Indiana to make the process of finding the right lender, convenient.
Due to the high demand for financial relief, Brightpoint created a specialized COVID-19 Express Loan for current businesses impacted by the outbreak. This loan product is designed to help any business experiencing financial hardships due to COVID-19.
Fort Wayne SOUP is a micro-grant dinner that fosters community & raises funds for creative projects that enhance Fort Wayne living. Its mission is to promote community-based development through crowdfunding, creativity, collaboration, democracy, trust, and fun.
gBETA is a program of nationally ranked startup accelerator gener8tor. gBETA is a free, seven-week accelerator for early-stage companies with local roots. Each program is capped at five teams, and requires no fees and no equity.
The CookSpring Shared Kitchen at The Summit in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is a 4800 square foot commercial / commissary kitchen for rent to culinary entrepreneurs. Our mission is to operate this shared kitchen as a springboard for culinary entrepreneurs to launch their businesses and eventually grow into 46807 and the city of Fort Wayne. The Shared Kitchen is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is available hourly through an affordable monthly membership. We do not require long-term contracts and have helped launch successful culinary businesses throughout Fort Wayne!
Indiana PTAC works directly with Indiana small businesses in obtaining and performing under federal, state, and local government contracts. We provide procurement technical assistance to help you sell your products or services to the appropriate government agency by offering confidential counseling services and workshops at no cost. The core of our procurement assistance program is counseling and education.
1517 is a pre-seed venture capital firm that supports teams with grant, pre-seed, and seed funding for technology startups. Our focus is on makers, hackers, and scientists interested in working outside tracked institutions because we believe that the path geared towards higher education is not for all. We motivate people to work on what they’re passionate about, to learn by doing, and to create new technologies.
Electric Works is the future innovation district in downtown Fort Wayne. It offers housing, retail, office, community open space and events, and in future phases, hospitality. It will also be home to a 90k sf innovation center. Operating on a coworking model, the innovation center will have everything a founder needs to startup a business. It will be filled with startups, higher education, nonprofit, and industry partners–everyone focused on building the innovation and startup community in northeast Indiana.
Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center provides no cost consulting services to potential business owners that want to start a business and to existing business owners that want to expand their businesses.
SEED is a 501c(3) that supports new and scaling businesses with business planning education through the Build Institute, incubation space for manufacturing and B2B professionals at the SEED Enterprise Center, and tax benefits for businesses located within the Summit City Entrepreneur and Enterprise District (SEED).
The Build Institute Fort Wayne is a nine-week basic business education program for early-stage startups. The Institute helps you identify and hone strengths and develop meaningful connections with like-minded individuals and organizations.
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. We are committed to helping anyone who is at the beginning stages of their business or simply has an interest in becoming an entrepreneur
The NIIC’s mission is to fuel great ideas, people and companies. Our vision is to grow and inspire global business builders. We move business builders confidently in the direction of achieving their dreams.
Believe in a Dream’s vision is to empower the next generation to build a better tomorrow. Our annual Pave the Path Young Leaders Summit helps high school students grow their leadership and entrepreneurship skills – plus provides them mentorship. Our Young Visionaries Fellowship students conduct entrepreneurial projects to make their community or the world a better place. Our Young Entrepreneur Awards recognize outstanding student business owners.
Mission: To create economic opportunities for communities, families, and individuals who lack access to affordable capital and financial services.
The volunteer mentors of SCORE Northeast Indiana offer free expert, experienced one-to-one business mentoring and local workshops on important business topics. SCORE is a national organization with the mission of fostering vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education. Our vision is that every person has the support necessary to thrive as a small business owner.
212 is a creative network, connecting creatives to the resources and knowledge they need to turn ideas into opportunities regardless of geographic or economic limitations. We believe that everyone has the right to create and pursue their creative work professionally. Through the creative network that powers 212, we provide access to the resources, knowledge and industry connectivity needed to take your creative work to the next level. From ideation to development and production, 212 is art made possible through a more open and equitable creative world.
The entrepreneurial journey is a journey filled with many twists and turns that have the potential to squash brilliant ideas. At Elevate Northeast Indiana, we give high-growth entrepreneurs a clear path to the potential investment they need to move toward extraordinary levels of growth.
Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana (JANI) helps prepare today’s students for a bright future by promoting workforce readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy through hands-on educational programs.
JANI’s expanding entrepreneurial initiatives include opportunities for grade school through college to participate in the Young Entrepreneur Marketplace, Lemonade Day, and Young Entrepreneur Summer Camp. To highlight area entrepreneurs that have already had a taste of business success, the ABC21 Young Entrepreneur Spotlight features share their story with the local TV viewing area. These spotlights air monthly on ABC21 WPTA.
Local entrepreneurs can engage in the JA 100+Entrepreneurs initiative, which places over 100 entrepreneurs in area high school classrooms for a one- hour class period to connect and share their story, advice and the importance of business creation within their community.
To find out more, go to www.jani.org or contact Karen Cooper at [email protected].
WEOC’s mission is to help women-owned and led founders to start, grow and scale their businesses and ventures. Our vision is to be known as the most trusted business building resource in Northeast Indiana for women-owned businesses.
The Workbench is a manufacturing incubator focused on growing small manufacturing businesses in Northeast Indiana and lowering the barrier to entry for makers to move to prototyping from their work. We provide access to equipment, expertise, and services to take an idea through design to prototype, through production design and into manufacture. Wherever an individual is in their ideation, we support them through the rest of the process.
Based on the notion that entrepreneurs discover solutions and engage with their communities over a million cups of coffee, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation developed 1 Million Cups in 2012—a free program designed to educate, engage and inspire entrepreneurs around the country. Through the power of volunteers, 1 Million Cups has grown to more than 180 communities.
As a program of the Kauffman Foundation, 1 Million Cups works with entrepreneurs, empowering them with the tools and resources to break down barriers that stand in the way of starting and growing their businesses. Mr. Kauffman believed it was a fundamental right for anyone who had a big idea to be able to bring it to life—and we’re here to fulfill that mission.
Our Northeast Indiana chapter will resume meetings in the fall of 2019.
1 Million Cups meeting schedule:
TIME: Every Wednesday at 9am
PLACE: Junior Achievement, 550 E Wallen Rd, Fort Wayne, IN 46825
Elevate Ventures is a private venture development organization that nurtures and develops emerging and existing high-growth businesses into high-performing, Indiana-based companies. Elevate Ventures accomplishes this by providing access to capital, rigorous business analysis and robust advisory services that connect companies with the right mix of resources businesses need to succeed long term. To learn more about Elevate Ventures, visit elevateventures.com.
Wunderkammer Company’s mission is to revitalize communities through contemporary art. We do this by working with neighborhoods, community oriented organizations and businesses, and creative entrepreneurs.
The Mission is to implement programs, and procedures that maximize the inclusion of minority owned businesses as part of the community. The Vision is to maximize opportunities to identify, educate, and develop minorities.
The principal objective of the CDC is creating jobs throughout the communities that we serve. This is achieved by lending to small businesses who are unable to obtain capital to fund start-up operations or expansion of an existing enterprise through conventional sources.
Start Fort Wayne helps entrepreneurs turn ideas into growth- oriented businesses. Our vision is that northeast Indiana offers a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem that attracts and retains innovators and investors. We do this to help people create and grow their businesses so that we can all enjoy a vibrant, diverse, and growing economy and higher quality of life.