Start Fort Wayne Celebrates One Year of Coworking

FORT WAYNE, Ind. —  Start Fort Wayne, a nonprofit organization that supports entrepreneurs and startups in northeast Indiana, is planning a one-year anniversary celebration for their downtown coworking space, the Atrium. Coworking is using shared office space and resources with other individuals who may work in a variety of industries,  who would have otherwise been working from home offices, the library, or coffee shops.
 
The Atrium launched in October of 2016. It is a 5,500 square foot coworking space that offers a space for entrepreneurs to launch their startup. Since opening, the Atrium has had over 140 members, with the current membership hovering around 100. There are three membership levels for the coworking space: general, shared membership areas for $50 per month; dedicated desks for $150 per month; and private offices with two desks for $350 per month or four desks for $700 per month. All memberships are month-to-month, so there is no lease commitment for startups but they get a desirable downtown business address. The space also has conference spaces for members or non-members.

In addition to the coworking and conference spaces, the Atrium is the home of Start Fort Wayne, it's parent organization. Start Fort Wayne began in 2015 with a mission to strengthen the infrastructure that supports entrepreneurs in northeast Indiana, supporting a long-term vision to attract outside tech and innovation companies to launch their venture in northeast Indiana.

Besides the Atrium coworking space, Start Fort Wayne also provides entrepreneur coaching services through Steve Franks' LevelUp program and youth coding education through a partnership with the South Bend Code School. Start Fort Wayne also started the first chapter of the Kauffman Foundation's "1 Million Cups" program in Indiana in 2015 and the chapter is one of the most active chapters in the country, meeting every Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. at Sweetwater with 40-60 entrepreneurs attending each week.

The Get Local event will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will include a short program that will highlight several entrepreneurs, in a "pitch-style" presentation, sighting the impact that Start Fort Wayne's projects and programs have had on their venture over the past year. There will also be exciting announcements of partnership and support from other local organizations and recognition of entrepreneurial impact. Following the event, there will be free food from Calhoun Street Soup, Salad, and Spirits, a cash bar from Mad Anthony's, and locally made cupcakes and cake. There will also be a free art display and live, local music from Jess Thrower. The event concludes at 8 p.m.

Enhanced Entrepreneur Coaching Program Announced

FORT WAYNE, Ind. —  Start Fort Wayne, a nonprofit organization that supports entrepreneurs and small business in northeast Indiana, is announcing that its popular entrepreneur coaching program, Compass, has been redesigned to offer entrepreneurs more opportunities for mentorship and peer support.
 
Since its launch in November 2016, Compass has been delivered one-on-one between an entrepreneur and Start Fort Wayne’s entrepreneur coach, Steve Franks. To date, over 90 entrepreneurs have participated in the original Compass program. The new model will be a facilitated peer cohort model with greater mentor engagement. 
 
Starting September 9th, Compass entrepreneurs will meet as a group once a week for 12 weeks.  Sessions will be held Saturday mornings from 9:00 to noon to accommodate those who work a traditional schedule.  As in the current program, participants will develop their startup or expansion business model, test it with buyers and sellers, project their financials, and prepare to pitch their venture to lenders, investors, or customers.
 
The revised program blends peer feedback, mentorship, and one-on-one coaching.  A typical session includes progress reports and insights learned, brief practice pitches from all participants, a facilitated introduction to a workshop topic, and lab time to work through the workshop topic with personal help from Franks.  At two of the12 meetings, a roundtable of mentors will be invited to hear pitches and provide individual feedback to each entrepreneur.  During one of the meetings, participants will hold an in-depth individual meeting with the facilitator.  The program intentionally provides a wide variety of feedback from a variety of sources to maximize each participant’s learning.
 
Compass is designed to give startups and founders structured assistance as they create their new venture. It is open to anyone planning a startup in the northeast Indiana region, in any market or industry.  It will be offered four times a year.
 
Fall:  September 9, 2017 – November 18, 2017
Winter:  December 2, 2017 – February 17, 2018
Spring:  March 3, 2018 – May 19, 2018
Summer:  June 2, 2018 – August 18, 2018
 
Sessions are held at Start Fort Wayne’s Atrium coworking space at 111 W. Berry St., Suite 211, Fort Wayne, IN 46802.  Participants pay only $150 of the program’s $1,100 value – the remainder is subsidized by Start Fort Wayne and its generous funders.
 
Steve Franks, entrepreneur coach with Start Fort Wayne, who created and facilitates the program, has helped hundreds of northeast Indiana entrepreneurs and startups over the past decade at the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center, at regional venture accelerators he established in Whitley and LaGrange Counties, through the Co.STARTERS program in Fort Wayne and Decatur, and informally over coffee. He’s worked with startups ranging from part-time ventures to those that raised millions in investments, across dozens of industries and markets.
 
“I have coached entrepreneurs in both cohort and individual settings and have seen each one’s benefits,” said Franks. “This revised program blends the best of both and adds mentor support!  I can’t wait!”
 
To register for a program or learn more, contact Steve Franks at stevef@startfortwayne.com.

To learn more about Start Fort Wayne visit www.startfortwayne.com.

Entrepreneurial nonprofit brings youth coding education to Fort Wayne

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Local nonprofit Start Fort Wayne approved at last night's board meeting to formally partner with South Bend Code School to bring coding and computer programming education for kids aged 7-18 to Fort Wayne.
 
Founded in 2015, South Bend Code School helps students learn the fundamentals of web development and design, software craftsmanship and entrepreneurship. The curriculum grants students experience in conceptualizing, designing and building applications that work towards solving real-world problems.
 
“We are delighted to expand the reach of South Bend Code School to the Fort Wayne community,” says Alex Liggins, co-founder of South Bend Code School. “Through our curriculum, career mentorship and trips to major tech companies, the program gives students skills to help them in the job market and prepare them for higher education. It is very exciting for us to partner with the Start Fort Wayne team to bring a program we believe in to other parts of the state. We know that tech skills are in high demand in most regions. We are excited to grow and bring more opportunity to youth in other cities as well as South Bend.”

Since its inception, over 100 students in northern Indiana have completed the school’s formal program and over 600 students have been reached through its expanded outreach efforts. Over 120 websites have been built by students in South Bend Code School programs and students receiving education have been 47% female and 56% under-represented, minority students.

"No industry in our region is untouched by advances in technology. If northeast Indiana wants to compete over the next 50 years, we have to ensure that we are growing the talent to design, develop, and manage new technology. Software developers are in short supply, not just in Fort Wayne, but across the entire United States, and it will be difficult to attract all of the talent we will need.  We look forward to this partnership with South Bend Code School to help us grow these future programmers and engineers right here at home. We are very excited about this new program, and can't wait to see what these kids will create next!" says Start Fort Wayne board president and founder Dave Sanders.
 
Start Fort Wayne began in 2015 with a vision is to be a hub for entrepreneurship by building programs and creating connections for entrepreneurs that drive startup culture and prepare leaders with skills required in the new economy. In doing this, Start Fort Wayne helps entrepreneurs realize their dreams.  

In addition to Code School, other programs and projects brought to northeast Indiana by Start Fort Wayne include:

  • 1 Million Cups: A weekly Kauffman Foundation event for local entrepreneurs to meet and present their startups to the thriving peer networking of founders in northeast Indiana 
  • Atrium: A thriving downtown co-working space at 111 W. Berry St. that, since opening in October 2016, has waitlists for its dedicated desks and office spaces, and just 40 general memberships still available 
  • LevelUp Entrepreneurial Coaching:  Over 80 entrepreneurs from all stages of the business life-cycle have received coaching. LevelUp will include programming for the entrepreneurially-curious, to established ventures needing to power up, and to new innovations and tech startups looking for venture capital 
  • Start Up Week 2018: Start Fort Wayne will collaborate with other entrepreneur and small business supporting organizations for a week-long event that brings renowned speakers and conversations on topics surrounding startup culture to Fort Wayne and the region

To join the mailing list for South Bend Code School // Fort Wayne fall programming information, please email info@southbendcodeschool.com.

To learn more about South Bend Code School visit www.southbendcodeschool.com. To learn more about Start Fort Wayne or membership at the Atrium coworking space visit www.startfortwayne.com or www.atriumfw.com.


Media Contacts
Rhonda Ladig
Start Fort Wayne
(260) 969-9393  /  rhonda@startfortwayne.com
Ann Hastings
South Bend Code School
(574) 210-8425 / ann@southbendcodeschool.com


Downloadable photo for editorial use:
southbendcodeschool.com/files/press_release_photos.zip
 
Downloadable logos for editorial use:
startfortwayne.com/files/Start_Fort_Wayne_Logos.zip
startfortwayne.com/files/Atrium_Logos.zip
southbendcodeschool.com/files/logos.zip
southbendcodeschool.com/files/sbcs_fort_wayne_logos.zip

Start Fort Wayne Launches Entrepreneurship Coaching Program

FORT WAYNE, Ind.—Start Fort Wayne, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to building a thriving entrepreneur and high-growth tech community, has announced the launch of Compass, the first program through LevelUp, a series of educational programs for startup founders and entrepreneurs. Start Fort Wayne was founded on the idea that our region’s startup community will grow stronger as our entrepreneurs gain skills. The LevelUp series was created to enhance those skills.

Compass is a one-on-one entrepreneur coaching program that gives startups and founders personalized help as they create their new venture. It is open to anyone planning a startup in the Northeast Indiana region, in any market or industry. Entrepreneurs may elect the full six- to ten-week curriculum, which features a structured walkthrough to create everything they’ll need to get funded and launched, or they may opt for a few conversations to work through a challenge or two.

By completing the full curriculum, entrepreneurs will:

Build their business model’s assumptions.
Validate those with buyers and sellers.
Project their financials.
Prepare to present to lenders, investors, or customers.
Compass coaching services, a $1,000 value for the six- to ten-week curriculum, are offered free of charge to individual entrepreneurs. Organizations that want Start Fort Wayne to provide a customized Compass program tailored to their clientele are asked to sponsor that program.

Steve Franks, entrepreneur coach with LevelUp, will facilitate the one-on-one coaching. He has helped hundreds of northeast Indiana entrepreneurs and startups over the past decade at the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center, at regional venture accelerators he established in Whitley and LaGrange Counties, through the Co.STARTERS program in Fort Wayne and Decatur, and informally over coffee. He’s worked with startups ranging from part-time ventures to those that raised millions in investments, across dozens of industries and markets.

“I love helping the Northeast Indiana entrepreneur community grow,” Franks said. “Since soft-launching Compass, I’ve met with over 40 entrepreneurs from over 30 ventures. And we are just getting started!”

“Coaching and mentoring are essential ingredients to a startup’s success,” said local entrepreneur Brendon Maxwell, owner of Utopian Coffee. “They can help founders get a much better return on their limited time and money and help them avoid pitfalls that can stop their venture in its tracks. I wish there had been a formal program like this ten years ago when I started Utopian Coffee. It's greatly needed and will be a tremendous asset to the startup community. “

To register for Compass, complete the registration form at http://bit.ly/compassreg. For more information, download a program description at www.startfortwayne.com/levelup or contact Steve at sfranks@startfortwayne.com.

About Start Fort Wayne
Start Fort Wayne fosters entrepreneurs and startups in northeast Indiana by providing community opportunities, educational programming, and space to collaborate and work. Atrium, our co-working space, is located at 111 W. Berry Street above Hoch Associates. The construction of Atrium is made possible by grants from Indiana Tech, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, and Greater Fort Wayne Inc., along with community support from Hoch Associates, Brightpoint, and Frontier Communications. Find out more about our work at www.startfortwayne.com.

LevelUp contact
Steve Franks
LevelUp Entrepreneur Coach
sfranks@startfortwayne.com