D-n-S Design Receives The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center – Mirro Student Founder Award

April 28, 2016, Fort Wayne, Ind. – Nearly 400 entrepreneurs, business leaders and students attended The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (The NIIC) annual signature Ideas@Work Event on April 26, 2016, at the Parkview Mirro Center for Research and Innovation. “We are thrilled with the support of our sponsors, clients and business leaders at this year’s event and impressed with the businesses represented from Northeast and Central Indiana. Our annual, signature event provides a platform to share about our progress, to secure funding for NIIC programs and to recognize an outstanding NIIC Student Venture Lab client,” said Karl R. LaPan, President and CEO, The NIIC.

D-n-S Design Company was presented The 2016 NIIC Mirro Student Founder Award. In addition to the award, a check from The NIIC was presented to D-n-S to further fund the business. Founders Matt Vanlandingham and Lindal Walker accepted the award on the company’s behalf. The award was established to recognize the top performing student venture during The NIIC Student Venture Lab Demo Day, best exemplifying what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

LaPan said, “In addition to the characteristics of a promising growth venture The Mirro Student Founder Award recipient reflects three key attributes of our Founding Board Chair, Dr. Mike Mirro. We are looking for student founders who:

  • Personify personal excellence: Our Founder sets a high bar of success. He is engaging, intellectually curious and challenges the status quo.
  • Possess energy & passion: Our Founder is entrepreneurial and innovative. He is intentional, smart, and deliberate in his actions.
  • Make lasting impact: Our Founder is a civic and philanthropic leader who gives back to the community and makes a big difference in people’s lives. He leads by example.

Vanlandingham and Walker launched the company about a year and a half ago when they initially engaged with The NIIC. “We are honored, surprised and couldn’t be happier to be the recipient of this year’s award. We are grateful for all The NIIC staff has done for us. Without their generosity and the amazing NIIC Student Venture Lab Program, D-n-S would not be as far along as a business today. We benefited from The NIIC’s network and opportunities, resulting in amazing jobs that have come our way,” said Vanlandingham. “The NIIC opened doors for us that would not have been opened otherwise on our own. D-n-S has been able to grow using the mentoring and financing provided by the NIIC Student Venture Lab Program. We have also launched a successful KickStarter campaign, multiple gaming applications and have built a network of professionals from various other markets,” said Walker.

All attendees of the event were spurred by keynote speaker J.B. Bernstein, entrepreneur, sports agent and author—anyone can drive innovation by training their minds to do so. He presented his idea formation process. “You can succeed as an entrepreneur, given the right information, pursuing the right thought processes, finding your ‘Eureka’ moment and the right resources. Contact The NIIC for those resources. Call them, they can tell you if your idea is right to start a business,” said Bernstein.

The NIIC serves entrepreneurs, business owners and existing businesses that want to launch, expand or reinvent a company. Contact The NIIC for more information and to take the first step to transition from dreamer to doer.

Cutline for picture:
D-n-S Design Receives The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center—Mirro Student Founder Award. Shown left to right: Matt Vanlandingham, D-n-S Design, Karl R. LaPan, The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center, Lindal Walker, D-n-S Design, and Dr. Mike Mirro, Parkview Health.

About the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (The NIIC)
The NIIC is a non-profit, community-based entrepreneurial resource center that assists in the growth and development of innovative companies in Northeast Indiana. Formed in 1999 by a consortium of community and government leaders and organizations in 2013, The NIIC was recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the top four under-the-radar incubators in the country. The Innovation Center is the country’s only ISO9001: 2008 registered business incubation and acceleration program, serving entrepreneurs, business owners and existing businesses who want to launch (or to expand or to re-invent) a company. For more information visit: www.niic.net

About D-n-S Design Company
D-n-S, which stands for dreams and solutions, was started when the co-founders were advised during college that to pursue a career in the game design industry, relocation to a U.S. coast would be necessary. Their determination and passion led them to form their own business instead. D-n-S Design Company’s vision is to create a community of gamers/programmers/artists to expand the $120 billion industry to Northeast Indiana. This will result in opportunities, economic development, growth and diversification. For more information visit: http://www.dnsdesigncompany.com/.


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