Northeast Indiana Celebrates Entrepreneurship at The NIIC Ideas@Work Event

Tammy Y. Allen, The NIIC, Fort Wayne, Ind

Do you know myths vs. realities of entrepreneurship? More than 500 entrepreneurs, business leaders and students recently convened at The NIIC Ideas@Work Event at the Parkview Mirro Center for Research and Innovation to be educated and inspired on the topic.

2017 Mirro Student Founder Award–Gary Fry, Student Venture Lab Program Manager/Business Coach, The NIIC; Jentri Cripe, Owner/Designer, Spread the Sparkle; Mike Fritsch, Entrepreneur in Residence, The NIIC

Keynote speaker Dr. Don Kuratko (Dr. K.), distinguished, gifted speaker and leading U.S. educator of entrepreneurship and innovation, challenged those at the event to conquer the myths of entrepreneurship. Some of these include The Mystery of Phase 2—the belief that one can skip from Phase 1 Idea to Phase 3 Profit. Phase 2 makes Phase 3 possible. And Paradigm Paralysis—the terminal fear of failure. And Wall Street versus Main Street—Main Street, the enduring enterprise is where you find the real entrepreneurs, the real economy. Also, Individual Innovation—that individuals cannot make things happen. “Individual innovation is the link to disruption, which translates to opportunity. This is a true entrepreneurial force,” stated Kuratko. “Visionaries have changed the world with an idea. Think about Steve Jobs, Apple Inc., Fred Smith, FedEx and Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook.”

The event also showcased important work of entrepreneurs. Jentri Cripe, Owner/Designer, Spread the Sparkle, received The Mirro Student Founder Award. “Being this year’s award recipient really stopped me in my tracks. I was that little girl with enormous dreams that others thought were unattainable. Receiving this award is a huge milestone in my entrepreneurial journey. Sometimes we need that little reminder, all the long hours and dedication are worth it. It means so much to me to know that there is an organization like The NIIC who wants to invest in and encourage young innovators to chase their passions,” said Cripe. “When I first came to The NIIC, I had my business started. I know it would not be where it is without them. I envisioned my products being available in hospital gift shops. After the second phase, that vision became a reality. The NIIC provided networking opportunities that encouraged my business growth.”

“This year’s event exceeded our expectations, thanks to our sponsors who helped make the event possible and also the entrepreneurs, innovators, educators and students who invested time to attend the event. We wish Jentri Cripe the best as her vision for Spread the Sparkle continues to evolve and encourage all NIIC Student Venture Lab clients as they are building their businesses,” stated Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO, The NIIC. The funds raised from the event will help support the Student Venture Lab Program and the Women’s Economic Opportunity Center (WEOC).

This annual event is led and made possible by the Ideas@Work Event Committee, including: Chris Rush, The DeHayes Group, and Committee Chair; Tammy Allen, The NIIC; Mike Altendorf, Do It Best Corp.,and The NIIC Board Chair; Tyler Binkely The Bradley Group; Otto Chang, PhD, IPFW; Phil Downs, PhD, Southwest Allen County Schools; Mike Fritsch, The NIIC; Karl R. LaPan, The NIIC; Tammy Sipe, The NIIC; Daryl Yost, PhD, The NIIC.

Remember to save the date for the fifth annual Ideas@Work event for April 17, 2018, at the Parkview Mirro Center for Research and Innovation.

 About The NIIC

The NIIC is a non-profit, community-based entrepreneurial community. We assist business builders and entrepreneurs to launch, expand, or re-invent successful businesses and ventures 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. This basically means Entrepreneur magazine, with the help of International Business Incubation Association, picked four U.S. incubators to highlight, and we were one of them. In their words, we “stand out in a state not always perceived as small business friendly.” The NIIC is the country’s only ISO9001: 2008 registered business incubation and acceleration program. For more information visit: www.TheNIIC.org.



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