An Emerging Entrepreneurs fund recently started by Elevate Northeast Indiana plans to announce its first three investments at a launch event next month.

The Emerging Entrepreneurs Launch Night is scheduled for 6-9 p.m. Oct. 16 at Wunderkammer, 3402 Fairfield Ave. in Fort Wayne.

The new fund was established to help “ideation-stage, high-potential companies move closer to a specific, measurable technology or product development milestones through an investment between $5,000 and $20,000,” an event announcement said.

Emerging Entrepreneurs applications must represent Indiana-based companies with a headquarters in a community under a partnership with Elevate Ventures to qualify for funding. The companies must have no more than $50,000 in trailing revenue over the past 12 months.

Funding for the investment is from the Indiana Economic Development Corp.’s 21st Century Technology and Research Fund, provided by Elevate Ventures from its $200,000 Community Ideation Fund.

The Community Ideation Fund was created to feed entrepreneurial momentum through investment in some of northeast Indiana’s startup and early-stage companies.

The first three companies receiving Emerging Entrepreneurs investment will be identified at Launch Night.

The individuals running the businesses are among the early $1,000 grant recipients of the Farnsworth Fund, which Elevate Northeast Indiana started this year to provide entrepreneurs in the region with community, mentors and money to help them launch and grow their companies.

Launch Night coincides with the next Farnsworth Fund Social, “which means you get to connect and collaborate with other northeast Indiana entrepreneurs while enjoying drinks and appetizers,” the announcement said.

“Whether you are brand new or a seasoned business veteran, you will find yourself surrounded by a supportive community of peers who want to see you achieve your vision.”

More information on the event is available at https://farnsworthfundfw.com/event/emerging-entrepreneurs/.

Start Fort Wayne schedules Startup Week

The Farnsworth Fund Social is among 18 events Start Fort Wayne has scheduled for next month as part of Startup Week, a five-day celebration of the region’s entrepreneurial community.

An announcement accompanying a related event schedule for Oct. 15-18 invited interested parties to “join your community in a new type of conference that builds momentum and opportunity around entrepreneurship, led by entrepreneurs and hosted in the entrepreneurial spaces you love.

“Startup Week is a reflection of your hard work and your community’s unique entrepreneurial identity,” it said.

Workshops for the city’s first Techstars Startup Week will relate to topics such as tech, finance, legal, innovation, “Startup 101” and diversity and inclusion.

The workshops will be led by members of Fort Wayne’s entrepreneurial community and hosted at a variety of their venues throughout the city, mostly in the downtown area.

Electric Works, for example, will be hosting Paul Singh, who will be making a Tech Tour visit to the city Oct. 17-19 as he travels across the country in his Airstream, looking for excellent investment opportunities between the coasts. His Linkedin page refers to him as chief hustler for the Results Junkies investment group.

“Techstars visited Fort Wayne last year and did an assessment of Fort Wayne’s entrepreneur ecosystem. One of the areas where we received the lowest score was around the culture of entrepreneurship,” Rhonda Ladig, Start Fort Wayne’s executive director, said in a statement.

“Startup Week and other community-building events are our steps to tackling this problem — creating opportunities for entrepreneurs to grow and strengthen their networks, which strengthens our overall entrepreneur ecosystem.”

There is no charge for the workshops, but registration is recommended because seating is limited. For registration, go to https://fortwayne.startupweek.co/.

IFN rebranding to Intelligent Fiber Network

Indiana Fiber Network rebranded earlier this month and will now provide state-of-the-art technology services to independent phone companies and other telecommunications providers across the state as Intelligent Fiber Network.

“From 5G to IoT, high-speed connectivity is changing the way industries across the world operate,” Jim Turner, IFN president and CEO, said in a statement.

“Every sector of the economy — agriculture, manufacturing, health care, government services, education and telecommunications — is adapting this technology to serve their customers more effectively and efficiently,” he said. “To enable these industries’ increasing demands for bandwidth, IFN must continue to evolve as well and encourage new and old partners alike to embrace today’s disruptive technologies.”

In addition to telecommunications providers, the company offers internet backbone, data transport and colocation services directly to large customers such as government facilities, financial institutions, hospitals and schools.

The company has been known for its work within the state throughout its 16-year history, and now it plans to expand the pace of its growth inside and outside of Indiana, Turner said.

“IFN has achieved strong, double-digit revenue growth in recent years, and we have expanded our staff by nearly 30 percent in just the past 15 months,” he said.

“We believe there are significant growth opportunities in Indiana, and we’re also opening the door to opportunities outside of the state, as well as with additional investors and partners,” Turner said.

“Launching this modern brand signals our intention to the market and position IFN to meet these expansion goals.”

IFN has more than 4,500 route miles of fiber-optic cable in 456 Indiana cities and towns, including some in northeast Indiana. Turner said it plans to invest up to $100 million during the next five years in the state.

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