Group, web site looking to boost entrepreneurs in Fort Wayne

A group of Entrepreneur Support Organizations (ESOs) is making it easier for businesses to start and grow in northeast Indiana.

FuseNEI.com is a new website intended to illuminate the vast network of resources available to founders. “Many ESO providers can refer people to a good number of resources, but it is difficult for any of us to name them all,” Trois Hart, Director of SEED Fort Wayne, said in a statement. “Imagine how difficult it is for someone not familiar with the network to find the resources they need.” SEED is an ESO and convened other like organizations to launch the website.

As a resource hub, the site offers a searchable directory of 13 options that are specific to a need, whether it is business planning, funding, or mentorship. People can also search by the business development stage. Aaron Robles of Founders Spark stated, “The combined calendar brings all of the opportunities for networking into one place, which overcomes one of the largest challenges when starting a business which is, ‘how do I tap into local networks?’ ” The Fuse calendar also includes workshop options and other startup education opportunities.

The website’s partners designed the site to provide a focused and consistent voice to the region’s entrepreneurship movement. “When we strengthen the network of resource organizations supporting the movement, we improve the ability of founders and other emerging companies to succeed,” stated Kristin Marcuccilli, COO of STAR Bank. Marcuccilli also serves on the Indiana Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors and is vice chair of its Entrepreneurship Committee.

The site was developed with the financial support of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, American Electric Power, Greater Fort Wayne Inc., Knight Foundation, and SEED Fort Wayne.

“We believe that the more people who have access to this type of information and resources, the more equitable the opportunities are for entrepreneurship,” said Hart. “Starting a business often runs in families, so where to go for information and help is baked into the startup effort. Providing everyone access to the strong ESO community brings us closer to what we call equitable entrepreneurship, which drives a lot of what we do as your local entrepreneur ecosystem.”

Additional resources will be added in the coming months including a listing of additional startup business resources provided by universities, government and other providers.

FuseNEI.com Northeast Indiana Entrepreneur Support Organizations include:

1 Million Cups, John Richards, john@fortwaynestartups.com

1517 Fund, Nick Arnett, nicholas.a.arnett@gmail.com

212 at Artlink, Matt McClure, matt@artlinkfw.com

Believe in a Dream, Steve Franks, swfranks@gmail.com

Brightpoint Development Fund, Sherry Early-Aden, sherryaden@mybrightpoint.org

Build Institute (powered by SEED), Trois Hart, AskSEED@CityofFortWayne.org

Electric Works, Crystal Vann Wallstrom, Crystal@fwelectricworks.com

Elevate Ventures, Erica Schweyer, ESchweyer@ElevateVentures.com

Elevate Northeast Indiana, Marilyn Moran-Townsend, MMTOWNSEND@CVCCOMMUNICATIONS.COM

Fort Wayne Community Development Corporation (CDC), Cheryl Blackman, Cheryl.Blackman@cityoffortwayne.org

Fortitude Fund, Steve Franks, swfranks@gmail.com

Founders Spark, Aaron Robles, aaron@foundersspark.org

ISBDC, Wes Shie, WShie@isbdc.org

Indiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), Robert Warner, RWarner@IEDC.in.gov

Junior Achievement, Lisa Kern, lisa.kern@ja.org

Ocean NEI, Ben Westfall, ben@ocean-nei.com

Own Your Success, Andie Hines oysfortwayne@gmail.com

Penta Minority Entrepreneurship Center, Cozey Baker, cbaker42371@gmail.com

SCORE, Mona Dewart, mona.dewart@scorevolunteer.org

SEED Fort Wayne, Trois Hart, trois.hart@cityoffortwayne.org

Start Fort Wayne, Dave Sanders, daves@startfortwayne.com

The Build Guild, Abraham S. Parra, thebuildguild.org@gmail.com

The NIIC, Tammy Allen, tallen@niic.net

The Workbench Fort Wayne, Jon Rehwaldt, jon.rehwaldt@gmail.com

WEOC, Leslee Hill, lhill@niic.net

Wunderkammer, Dan Swartz, d.h.swartz@gmail.com


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