Start Fort Wayne is a 501(c)3 that began in March 2015 as a rag-tag band of entrepreneurs and educators dedicating their spare time to help build a lasting community and culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in northeast Indiana.


Our Mission

Start Fort Wayne helps entrepreneurs turn ideas into growth-oriented businesses.

 

Our Vision

Northeast Indiana offers a thriving entrepreneur ecosystem that attracts and retains innovators and investors.

 

Our Core Values

Respect. We treat all people with dignity and respect.

Authentic. We serve our constituents with genuine care and concern for their well-being, not our own.

Agile. We work quickly, learn from experience, and immediately apply new knowledge.

Inclusive. We want all people, regardless of circumstance, to be able to succeed.

Cooperative. We work with other organizations, knowing that we better serve the community by being a part of the whole.

Fact-based. We evaluate and choose methods for their outcomes based on data. We measure our data to ensure effective outcomes.


Board of Directors

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Dave Sanders

PRESIDENT

Dave is the Founder of Start Fort Wayne and started the organization to build a modern entrepreneur culture and community in our region. He is a co-founder of Avenue 80, a small custom software consulting firm, and also a co-founder of Muzfeed, a new music-tech based startup.

Dave grew up in rural Indiana and understands the challenges that our region will face in the next 50 years. Having also lived in the Washington D.C. area for many years, he keeps a foot in both worlds and has a real passion for making sure our region can grow and thrive in a new global, competitive economy.

[email protected]

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Dave B. Goode

SECRETARY

Dave had more than two decades of branding and marketing experience executing strategies in customer-focused communication markets.

He also serves on marketing committees for the Three Rivers Festival, Night of Lights, Fright Night, and TEDx Fort Wayne.

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Jeremy Diller

TREASURER

Jeremy Diller is the founder and owner of Scenario Seventy Seven, a software development consulting firm in Fort Wayne.

He has been an avid proponent of coworking and the shared office environment and a strong supporter of tech entrepreneurship and startups locally.

[email protected]

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Chris Beck

BOARD MEMBER

Chris is a founder and COO of Enabling Technology Solutions, local provider of a globally-used online software platform.

Chris is a "serial" entrepreneur, with over 20 years experience, across four startups, in visioning, launching and commercializing a number of online B2B software technologies for companies such as American Express, Starbucks and Ticketmaster.

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Gabe Clark

BOARD MEMBER

Gabe leads the strategy of entrepreneurial initiatives for Ambassador Enterprises in Fort Wayne. He is passionate about encouraging others to discover their purpose and pursue their dreams.

He believes that without successful entrepreneurs, communities stagnate. Therefore, he dedicates his time and energy to initiatives that support the success of these individuals.

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Kristin Giant

BOARD MEMBER

Kristin assists corporate and nonprofit clients with a variety of matters, including the formation of new entities, corporate and nonprofit governance, strategic planning, social media marketing and web analytics, fundraising, and social enterprise.

She brings nearly a decade of experience in fundraising, marketing, and nonprofit management, paired with legal expertise and a passion for applying for-profit efficiencies to nonprofit ventures.

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Trent Grable

BOARD MEMBER

Trent likes to help people make good decisions in high-risk, low-resource, dynamic environments for competitive advantage and maximum impact. He is the Interim Director of the C3 at Indiana Tech, studies systems science for his doctorate in data analytics, explores the travel/hospitality industry through his company SagaNexus, and watches My Little Pony with this children.

Trent is a jack-of-all-trades, master of none, but often more useful than a master of one - complimented well by a sarcastic and whimsical sense of humor.

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Jon Rehwaldt

BOARD MEMBER

Jon is a professional educator with ten years of experience in Fort Wayne area schools. He has worked with all grade levels in the areas of technology and English and develops curriculum in those areas to grow proficiency in communication skills.

His professional focus is on assessment and data and how to leverage those tools to better understand and serve the needs of students.

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Aaron Robles

Aaron is founder of Founders Spark, an organization dedicated to introducing new and aspiring entrepreneurs into the startup community. He's also the founder of Hyprnova, a branding and digital marketing agency.

Committed to making Fort Wayne a place for entrepreneurs from all walks of life to thrive, Aaron uses his expertise in design, marketing, and entrepreneurship to help others achieve their goals through entrepreneurship through education, mentorship, and resources.


Staff

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Jack Cantey

ATRIUM TEAM MEMBER

Jack has worked for and with numerous nonprofit arts organizations in Fort Wayne and Chicago over the past two decades.

He is an artist and writer, and also a co-founder of Italian Friend ArtRuckus, a small artist collective built around the core values of improvisation and experimentation.

Currently, Jack is directing "Lizzie Shea," an ongoing webseries based in Fort Wayne.

[email protected]

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Steve Franks

ENTREPRENEUR COACH

Steve is an entrepreneurship and arts enthusiast whose personal mission is to grow the entrepreneur community in northeast Indiana.

He has coached entrepreneurs and operated venture accelerators in northeast Indiana for over a decade and has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs ranging from part time side businesses to ventures raising significant venture funding.

Steve received an MBA degree from the University of Chicago and a BS degree from IPFW. He serves on the boards of nonprofits Own Your Success and Believe in a Dream.

[email protected]

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Rhonda Ladig

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Rhonda is a Noble County native who has worked and served in the nonprofit sector for over a decade in education, environmental causes, and social support.

She earned a Master's in Public Management, with a concentration in Public Policy & Administration from Indiana University and a BS in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing from Indiana Tech.

Rhonda's personal mission is, "To always leave a place better than you found it."

Wanna grab a cup of coffee with Rhonda? Schedule that here or email her at [email protected]

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Daniel Butler

MARKETING AND EVENTS MANAGER

Daniel is a recent graduate from IPFW with a B.S. in Marketing and has been involved with the city of Fort Wayne for nearly 4 years. He has directed various events throughout his time in Fort Wayne, including the BAALS Music Festival and Fort Wayne's first New Year's Eve Ball Drop.

Daniel has experience in marketing, social media, and event management. He also has an immense love for music and is a producer/DJ in his free time.

[email protected]

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Amy Poole

ATRIUM TEAM MEMBER

Amy is a Fort Wayne native who has spent her 20's ping-ponging around the United States. The next decade of her life will be spent working toward becoming an art therapist.

When she's not at Atrium, Amy molds young minds, frequents the library, and dreams about eating at Madea's Soul Food Place.

She's seen where Fort Wayne could be in ten years and wants to help it get there.

[email protected]