Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana, with the help of the Fortitude Fund and sponsored by Elevate Northeast Indiana, opened Sept. 5 the Farnsworth Lab in JA Biztown.

JA Biztown, 550 E. Wallen Road, is “a financial literacy laboratory built to inspire the future business leaders and employees of our area,” according to a JA statement. The Farnsworth Lab is designed to encourage students to become inventors and business owners.

The lab is named after Philo T. Farnsworth, the Fort Wayne-based entrepreneur who was crucial to the invention of television. An inventor since age 15, by age 20, he was filing for his first patent and received hundreds throughout his lifetime. The Farnsworth Lab aims to help students discover entrepreneurship at a young age, according to the JA statement.

Farnsworth Lab was made possible by sponsorship from Elevate Northeast Indiana with its input into the concept for the room and the day’s curriculum. Design Collaborative used that input to create Farnsworth Lab’s architectural and graphic design.

In May 2018, Elevate Northeast Indiana created the Fortitude Fund (originally named the Farnsworth Fund) to encourage “entrepreneurial culture shock” in Fort Wayne. The Fortitude Fund awards $1,000 grants to help up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

The Fortitude Fund is particularly interested in helping student entrepreneurs gain the funds, the network, and the support to start their businesses, according to the JA statement.

JA has recently moved into its new 35,000-square-foot Wallen Road building, which now houses its Biztown, formerly at Northcrest Shopping Center on Noble Drive; the JA Lincoln Financial Park, previously on Clinton Street; and its offices. Read more about that in our interview with Lena Yarian, Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana president, in Sept. 13’s issue and at fwbusiness.com.

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