FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Local nonprofit Start Fort Wayne has hired Rhonda Ladig as its first Executive Director.
Ladig began in April and is focusing on promoting Start Fort Wayne’s mission and projects to community stakeholders and securing financial support to grow programming.
Ladig began her ventures in entrepreneurship at the age of 18. She sold her business five years later to put herself through college, earning a bachelor's degree in Business Administration–Marketing from Indiana Tech and a master's in Public Management–Public Policy and Administration from Indiana University. She has more than 10 years of experience in her professional career in education and an extensive service career in nonprofits.
Besides her own small business experience, Ladig has a self-described "entrepreneurial spirit" and has consulted on several small businesses.
"Some people have a great idea that they want to turn into a small business and some people are entrepreneurs at heart and they will have many ventures over their lifetime,” Ladig said. "Start Fort Wayne will be a hub and provide resources for all types of entrepreneurs and ventures."
“Since its inception, Start Fort Wayne has been making big impacts in our region while being completely volunteer led,” said board president and co-founder Dave Sanders. “By hiring an executive director, we are taking the next steps to build a sustainable and growing organization that will serve northeast Indiana for decades to come. Rhonda brings drive and excitement to our mission with that ‘get it done’ startup spirit that is core to our organization.”
Start Fort Wayne began in 2015 with a working board of entrepreneurs and educators whose vision was to strengthen the community, provide education, and create spaces that cultivate and support small businesses. The organization continues to grow as a hub for entrepreneurship in northeast Indiana. By building programs, strengthening networks, and creating collisions, Start Fort Wayne helps entrepreneurs realize their dreams.
These programs and projects include:
• 1 Million Cups: A weekly event for local entrepreneurs to meet and present their startups to the thriving peer networking of founders in Fort Wayne
• Atrium: A thriving downtown co-working space at 111 W. Berry St. that, since opening in October 2016, has filled its dedicated desks and office spaces, with 70 general memberships still available
• LevelUp Entrepreneurial Coaching: 43 entrepreneurs from all stages of the business lifecycle have received coaching
• Tech Tour 2016: Internationally known entrepreneur and investor Paul Singh educated audiences, judged pitches, and met with investors and companies
• Rocket Academy: At-risk youth learned about STEM through coding, robotics, and circuit-building activities
Start Fort Wayne Executive Director
(260) 969-9393 / [email protected]
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