Indiana women starting and growing new technology companies are invited to apply through Oct. 9 for the Launch Women Business Builders program, an initiative of the WEOC Women’s Business Center at the NIIC.

Participants establish and grow their businesses through this three-phase program: Phase 1 Business Model (12-week duration), Phase 2 Implementation (6-month duration), Phase 3 Growth (3-month duration). The program includes one-to-one business coaching, peer-to-peer mentoring, training and workshops, shared workspace at the NIIC, the NIIC Navigator Learning Management System, potential funding to fuel business growth, and access to the NIIC’s extended talent network.

Cohort 6 will be announced mid-October, and the program is set to begin the week of Oct. 26. Up to 10 companies may be accepted into the program. Once accepted into the program, participants invest in a $299 program fee. Up to five program participants may be eligible for up to $1,000 non-dilutive funding at the completion of Phase 2.

“Thirty companies have participated in this program since it was launched two years ago. These new tech companies have introduced apps or websites for design thinking, real estate, ride-sharing, interior design, e-tail stores, and memberships for education and wellness programs,” said Leslee Hill, director of WEOC Women’s Business Center. “We are excited to see what industries, products, and services come through our next cohort.”

The NIIC is a nonprofit entrepreneurial community designed to advise entrepreneurs to plan, launch, and grow successful business ventures.

The WEOC Women’s Business Center serves northeast Indiana women at all stages of their business ventures. They respond to the unique needs of women entrepreneurs through business growth coaching, training, and entrepreneurial education, connectivity and access to capital. PFW announces its Researcher of the Year

David S. Cochran, professor of systems engineering and the director of the Center of Excellence in Systems Engineering at Purdue Fort Wayne, has been named the university’s 2019-20 Outstanding Researcher of the Year.

Cochran’s areas of research include enterprise design for sustainability, healthcare system redesign, and product development. He teaches systems engineering and collective systems design in the Purdue Fort Wayne Master of Science in Engineering degree program and with Purdue University Master of Science in Engineering Technology degree program. He is also developing an engineering management concentration with the Richard T. Doermer School of Business and has served as the Fort Wayne representative to the Purdue University Graduate Council for six years.

Cochran’s research output includes three book chapters, 29 peer-reviewed journal publications, 52 refereed conference publications, and 37 technical reports. He has made 35 international and 125 domestic presentations, and his work has been cited more than 1,500 times by worldwide researchers.

Sponsors of Cochran’s research include Triton Metal Products, Pyromation, BFGoodrich, Alexin, Nissin Brake Ohio, Rogers Electro-Matics, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, DAVAUS, LLC, Oji Intertech, Paragon Medical, Parkview LaGrange Hospital and Medical Center, and Franciscan Health Indianapolis.

Cochran received his bachelor’s degree from Auburn University, a master of science from Pennsylvania State University, and a doctorate from Auburn University. He began his teaching career as an assistant and associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also served as faculty at Meijo University in Nagoya, Japan, and at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Cochran joined Purdue Fort Wayne in 2012 as an associate professor and was promoted to full professor in 2018.

Cindy Larson is a longtime Fort Wayne journalist and is a Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly reporter. To submit items, send email to or call 260-426-2640. ext. 3369.

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