Elevate Ventures offering seed money to Indiana companies

Indiana startup companies can begin applying now for their share of $660,000 in pre-seed and seed investment from Elevate Ventures, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit that funds promising young firms.

Applications for the 2020 Elevate Nexus Regional Pitch Competitions will be accepted through Sept. 28. Finalists will be selected Sept. 29 and invited to compete. The competitions will be held virtually on the following dates:

Northern Region: Oct. 27

Central Region: Oct. 28

Southern Region: Oct. 29

The most recent Elevate Nexus competitions culminated in May with $1.64 million invested throughout the state. Each winner also is considered an Elevate Ventures portfolio business and gains access to Elevate’s network of advisors and resources.

To apply, go to www.elevateventures.com/apply and select Elevate Nexus Pre-Seed and Seed Awards from the topic dropdown. The Sept. 28 deadline is at 11:59 p.m.

Traffic alert

Fort Wayne’s Public Works Department is making changes to traffic lanes along St. Joseph Boulevard, Columbia Avenue and Lake Avenue in the Northside Neighborhood to prepare for long range plans to add bike lanes. Motorists should expect lane restrictions in those areas for the next two weeks.

The existing lane configuration will be modified from two lanes to a single lane to accommodate on-street parking as well as the added bike lanes. Weather permitting, construction is expected to be completed by the end of September.

Tox Away Day

Fort Wayne’s Solid Waste Department, along with the Allen County Department of Environmental Management (ACDEM), are offering another Tox Away Day 9 a.m.-noon Sept. 19 at the Allen County household hazardous waste facility, 2260 Carroll Road. Residents should enter off Lima Road onto Ft. Recovery Road.

A small fee will be charged to those bringing in the products for disposal. Residents should bring cash or a personal check to cover the disposal costs. Credit cards will not be accepted.

For the protection of residents and workers, this will be a drive-thru event only. As residents pull up, staff members with personal protective gloves and masks will accept the disposables and fees without anyone getting out of their vehicle.

Typical items for disposal include:

• Automotive products

• Batteries

• Fertilizers

• Fire extinguishers

• Fluorescent light bulbs

• Herbicides

• Household cleaners

• Mercury

• Paint

• Pesticides

• Pool chemicals

• Propane tanks

Fees by item:

Household Hazardous Waste:

• 0-25 pounds = $5

• 26-50 pounds = $10

• Over 51 pounds = $1 per pound

• Auto, ATV, mower battery: $2 a piece

• Fire extinguisher: $2 per item

• Latex paint: $1 per quart, $2 per gallon

• Propane tank: $1 per pound

Fluorescent 4 and 8 foot bulbs:

• 1-10 = $1

• 11-20 = $2

Ivy Tech prepping people for post-COVID world

Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne and Warsaw are addressing northeast Indiana’s high unemployment rates and need for skilled workers by focusing on short-term certificates. This quick training is designed to get people back into the workforce faster. To this end, Ivy Tech Fort Wayne and Warsaw have developed a website that helps visitors navigate the approximately 50 short-term certificates available and take the next steps to get signed up. The college is also hosting an Express Enrollment Week in September, which will help students start as early as Oct. 26.

The short-term certificates website is an interactive tool that allows interested individuals to easily choose a certificate that works for their schedule and needs. Finding a program that works can be difficult, but this tool lays out the available certificates and allows individuals to filter by industry, time to complete, location, salary, and more. View the short-term certificate website at IvyTech.edu/fortwayne/certificates.

The state of Indiana has designated most of these short-term certificates as Next Level Jobs eligible and extended Workforce Ready Grant funding to offset most, if not all, out-of-pocket costs for students.

To help with the enrollment process, Ivy Tech Fort Wayne and Warsaw are hosting an Express Enrollment Week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 21-25. Available services include: completing enrollment steps, registering for classes, and completing financial aid. RSVPs are required. Virtual appointments are recommended, but limited in-person appointments are available. To RSVP for a virtual or in-person appointment visit link.ivytech.edu/EEDays.

Registration is now open for classes beginning Oct. 26 or Jan. 19.

September Express Enrollment Week

9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 21-25

Ivy Tech Fort Wayne’s North Campus Student Life Center, 3701 Dean Drive

Ivy Tech Warsaw, 2545 Silveus Crossing, Warsaw

Purdue University Fort Wayne’s Day of Giving hits new records

The second annual Day of Giving at Purdue University Fort Wayne set a new record Sept. 9 for both the number of gifts and the total amount of money raised.

The 634 gifts this year nearly tripled last year’s participation. Donations of more than $470,500 are also a 70% increase from 2019. Preliminary estimates show the sources of the gifts to be 20% Mastodon alumni and students; 50% faculty, staff, and retirees; and 30% community members.

“The money raised will support scholarships, academic programs, and athletics programs that will help Purdue Fort Wayne students and strengthen the university,” said Ruth Stone, vice chancellor for development and alumni relations.

New electric scooter rental business

A young entrepreneur has launched a mobile electric scooter rental business that includes delivery to the customer’s home. Two-Wheel Rental, LLC provides an option for people wanting to explore their city via scooter, according to owner John Bontrager. Customers can rent one or more scooters for a designated day, and schedule delivery and pickup times according to their needs.

Two-Wheel rents by the day or week and delivers its scooters to the customer’s home or chosen location. Two Wheel’s scooters can be ridden wherever it is convenient to the customer, keeping in mind that riders are expected to obey all community rules and safety regulations while traveling. The scooters provide about 40 miles of travel per charge, according to Bontrager.

Two-Wheel Rental currently has a fleet of 20 Segway Ninebot Max scooters available and intends to add 28 new scooters.

Business Advisor Billie Wunderlich from the Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center helped him scale back his original idea to a more manageable plan.

While Bontrager currently resides and works in Fort Wayne, he comes from LaGrange County, where he grew up in the Amish community. He attended an Amish school through eighth grade and then completed a GED diploma at age 22 before enrolling in college at Purdue University Fort Wayne. He is a 2020 graduate of Purdue Fort Wayne with a degree in business management.

For more information on Two-Wheel Rental, LLC, visit www.TwoWheelRental.biz or call Bontrager at 260-600-1647. To learn more about the Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center, visit www.isbdc.org or call 260-481-0500.


The story “High-speed broadband more essential than ever,” which ran in the Sept. 8 edition, should have said IFN is owned by 20 rural telephone companies and one rural electric cooperative. Also, rural broadband is not the company’s only focus.

- FWBW staff reports

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