FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Press Release): Fort Wayne City Councilwoman Sharon Tucker unveiled Project Activate SouthEast (PASE) Fort Wayne, an innovative new program designed to engage and empower entrepreneurs to locate their service-based businesses in the Southeast quadrant of the city.
The PASE Fort Wayne program will feature two components: workshops and training preparation and then a formal business pitch. Entrepreneurs interested in applying to PASE must complete an entrepreneurial training program such as The BUILD Institute, a SEED program, Kauffman FastTrac, or the Breakthrough Program offered through the NIIC, or have proof of completing such a program. In addition to these programs there will be workshops throughout the summer designed to offer additional business plan writing assistance.
For the pitch competition, PASE is partnering with Bloomington-based Crossroads at The Mill to develop a custom program; Crossroads is Indiana’s largest annual business pitch competition.
The PASE pitch competition will allow qualified entrepreneurs to showcase their business plans for local judges. The selected business will receive an award of up to $150,000 in business wrap-around services. These services will be provided in-kind or at a deep discount by local businesses invested in cultivating new talent in Southeast Fort Wayne. The only requirement for participating in the competition is that the selected party must locate their brick-and-mortar business in the Southeast quadrant of the city and commit to that location for three years.
The Tim and Libby Ash Family Foundation will serve as the title sponsor of the pitch competition, which will be held in December. This is an unprecedented commitment by a local organization to building entrepreneurship in Southeast Fort Wayne. The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne will act as the fiscal agent for the award, further demonstrating their commitment to community building and engagement. The City of Fort Wayne is providing significant guidance and financial support. The planning committee around this event consists of experts in entrepreneurship, economic development, fundraising, and stakeholder engagement.
“There is so much demand for service businesses in Southeast Fort Wayne,” said Councilwoman Tucker. “Residents here want places to go to get a cup of coffee, purchase products, and interact with each other. This is a great opportunity for a person to build a business that will serve the entire community and draw people Southeast.
“There are many great ideas in the community that just need a little help to thrive,” she continued. “If we are able to connect a business to the appropriate resources, we can ensure that the residents of Southeast Fort Wayne have access to services and a home-grown, community business will be successful.”
Applications to begin the education portion will open to the public May 15 and be available online. Councilwoman Tucker believes that education is integral to a successful business and ensures that all entrepreneurs get a good start in the business world.
“The city of Fort Wayne is focused on expanding access to business services for entrepreneurs and Southeast residents,” explained Andrea Robinson, Economic Development Administrator for the City of Fort Wayne. “It is imperative that we invest in the community if we want it to grow, and the best single source of new businesses are those that are developed in Fort Wayne and located in Fort Wayne. We’re excited to see what business ideas come out of this process.”
In addition to seeking applicants for the program, Councilwoman Tucker continues to seek business partners for the program who would like to be a part of helping PASE entrepreneurs succeed. If a business would like to partner with PASE, they should reach out to Councilwoman Tucker at Sharon.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information can be found here: www.fwcommunitydevelopment.org/PASE