Technology column: Fortitude Fund selects second cohort
| Business Weekly
June 29th, 2018
The Fortitude Fund of Elevate Northeast Indiana has selected a second cohort of a dozen grantees who will receive the same kind of $1,000 micro grants it awarded to the fund’s first four recipients in May to advance their entrepreneurial aspirations.
Nick Arnett, the fund’s advisory board chair, announced the new recipients at a June 14 micro-grant dinner of Fort Wayne SOUP. The acronym stands for socializing, organizing and uniting people. Guests at the dinner cast a ballot to select an entrepreneurial idea worthy of receiving part of its $5 admission price.
The organizations both believe micro grants can have a big impact on entrepreneurial success at the early stages of a startup, but they are not directly connected to each other.
In addition to Allen, the new cohort of Fortitude Fund recipients includes entrepreneurs from LaGrange, Huntington and Steuben counties. It also includes four teens, who have had their ideas recognized in a variety of business plan competitions.
Peyton Schrock, 18, took the top prize and Jordan Miller, 19, won third place in the most recent Launch LaGrange competition.
Schrock has started Schrock Mobile Poultry Butchering and Processing to supply farm customers with chicks and feed, then follow that up with processing services so the chicken they produce winds up freezer ready and vacuum sealed.
Miller’s Donn-A-Glove markets a device that inflates medical gloves to make the process of putting them on easier and more sanitary.
The youngest recipient, Karly Wolfcale, 17, developed an app she calls PeTinder to help users find new pets, and intends on marketing it as a platform for selling products or advertising. Her business plan took fifth place out of 50 entries in a statewide DECA competition.
Michael Skees, 18, won the Northeast Indiana Innovation CenterMirro Student Founder Award with his brother, Connor Skees, for developing 3B Apps, a mobile app designed to take orders for restaurants, food trucks, and corporate cafes. It is designed to help smaller restaurants compete with large restaurant chains.
Since the Fortitude Fund launched in May, it has been averaging a new applicant a day for the micro-grants and guidance it offers entrepreneurs in the region, Arnett said.
“The grants affirm to these early entrepreneurs that the northeast Indiana region believes in them,” he said. “We are connecting them with mentors and a network of support; and we are introducing them to the many other entrepreneurs in our region who are excited to have them here to grow our future economy.”
Other recipient founders and their projects include: Aaron Robles, Hyper Nova; Ayesha Forte, Black Seed Vegans; Frank Yang, Upward Language Co.; Dylan Belcher, CARTT; Dylan Caldwell, Percussion Lab; Ben Fair, S.B. Carper; Victor Lopez, Global Medical Industries, and Melanie Watson, Blaire Biomedical.
The fund planned to award 50 micro-grants this year. More information on its program and grantees is available at elevatenei.com/fortitude-fund.
LaPan joins BSU Entrepreneurship Center board
Karl LaPan, president and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center, has joined the advisory board of Ball State University‘s Entrepreneurship Center.
The center operates one of the nation’s most recognized entrepreneurship programs.
“I am excited Karl LaPan has agreed to serve on the Entrepreneurship Center advisory board. Our program has been a pioneer in entrepreneurship education since 1983, and a strong board helps us bridge the gap between teaching entrepreneurship and doing entrepreneurship,” Matt Marvel, the center’s director and George A. Ball distinguished professor of entrepreneurship, said in a statement. “As we continue to focus on applied entrepreneurial learning at Ball State, leveraging thought leaders like Karl in venture acceleration is a big value add to our program.”
“The NIIC has long-standing ties with the Ball State entrepreneurial program,” LaPan said. “The focus on applied learning through Ball State’s entrepreneurship program and its connectivity to employers provides enriching and meaningful student experiences. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to lend my expertise, insights and support to ensure the continued success and development of this world-class program.”
Grants support USF Science Center renovation
The University of Saint Francis has received $650,000 in two local foundation grants for continued renovation of its Achatz Hall of Science and Research Center.
The English-Bonter-Mitchell Foundation awarded the university $500,000 for the project and the Edward M. Wilson Foundation awarded $150,000 for it. Both foundations are longtime USF supporters and a statement said their grants put the project more than halfway to its fundraising goal.
“These generous grants are a wonderful example of the Fort Wayne community’s support of our students,” Sister Elise Kriss, USF president, said in the statement. “We are very grateful to these foundations for their commitment to enhancing our students’ education experience, especially in the sciences.”
The hall is under renovation to transform it into a modern science laboratory center with specialized laboratories and other research space as well as preparation and storage areas designed to meet the university’s rapidly expanding needs in health science and in other sciences requiring lab facilities.
The project will improve the ability of USF students to conduct innovative research and collaborate with companies operating in the region on research and development projects, the statement said.
USF plans to complete the project by the end of next year.
Inventors Club to meet at TekVenture
The Fort Wayne Inventors Club has scheduled its next meeting for 7 p.m. July 12 at TekVenture, 1550 Griffin St. in Fort Wayne.
The group, formed to advance invention in the region, requires no dues or fees and asks only that individuals come to its meetings with a curious mind, desire to learn, and a willingness to help fellow inventors.