Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with Ted Baker, executive director of the Innovation Connector, to discuss the upcoming Excellence in Innovation Awards banquet to be held at the Horizon Convention Center on November 14th. My interview with Ted is below.
September 4, 2018 – Muncie, IN – The Innovation Connector of Muncie, Indiana is hosting the fifth annual BIG Idea Pitch competition for local entrepreneurs and innovators to “pitch” their business, business concepts, product or invention to a panel of judges from the business and investment community. There are many very creative and interesting concepts from people in our region, and this competition will showcase those ideas and offer what it takes to advance them. This event is for individuals in all phases of the business, including startup or pre-startup. Jr High and High School students as well as college students are also encouraged to apply.
The BIG Idea Pitch competition is your chance to prove the potential of your business idea, meet people who can help you succeed, and maybe even win a cash prize! Competitors will have just three minutes to pitch before a panel of judges.
The schedule of events is as follows:
Each Training Camp will be held at the Innovation Connector from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. The BIG Idea Pitch Competition Application Forms will be available on-line Monday, October 22nd.
TRAINING CAMPS –
Training Camp #1 – Monday, October 22nd
What is the BIG Idea Pitch Competition? How do ideas happen? Forming an idea as a business
or product. What is the problem being solved? What is the opportunity being seized? From ideas to solutions – how to solve problems. Does your solution fully solve the problem/opportunity?
Training Camp #2 – Monday, October 29th
Are there revenue streams and profit potential for this solution? Who else is currently solving the problem? How are others solving this problem? Why is your solution better or different? What value does your solution provide? How do I present and pitch? What is the judging criteria?
SEMI-FINALS COMPETITION – Monday, November 5th
All competitors will pitch to a panel of judges. Five finalists will be selected to compete in the Finals to claim the place of The BIG Idea Pitch Winner 2018.
The BIG Idea Pitch Finals & Excellence in Innovation Awards – Wednesday, November 14th
The Final Competition will take place at the Excellence in Innovation Awards Event held at the Horizon Convention Center. Attendees will be able to see and hear the five finalists from The BIG Idea Pitch competition – three minutes to pitch business ideas to a panel of distinguished judges. The final results will be revealed that night with prize packages of nearly $30,000 in cash and services awarded.
All competitors will receive invaluable feedback, a fun experience, and valuable exposure to business leaders & potential mentors. For more details or to make a submission, click The BIG Idea Pitch link here or contact Alexis Dishman at 765-285-4900.
The BIG Idea Pitch 2018 and the Excellence in Innovation Awards are presented by the Innovation Connector and sponsored in part by First Merchants Bank, Ball State University, Indiana Michigan Power, MutualBank, Whitinger Strategic Services, Whitinger & Company, Mathewson Law, Jay-Crew, Cooper Consulting, The NIIC, Shafer Leadership Academy, R&R Engineering, Ontario Systems, WLBC, Woof Boom Radio, and the Muncie Journal.
If you’ve been involved in the “entrepreneurial ecosystem” around Muncie and East Central Indiana, then you’ve probably had the opportunity to hear or meet Peggy Cenova, regional director of the East Central Indiana Small Business Development Center (ECI-SBDC). Because she’s seemingly everywhere!
As you know, the Innovation Connector has been the home to many startup businesses and organizations in the Muncie community. Mark Slusher’s company, Endpoint Creative, is one of them. The company specializes in digital video production, visual marketing, and high-end live video streaming.
Anti-Fraud Workshop for Small Businesses
10 No-Cost Ways to Reduce Financial Fraud Risk
June 11, 2018, Fort Wayne and Muncie, Ind.—Each year United States businesses lose over
$1 Trillion of revenue due to fraudulent accounting practices and embezzlement. Small business
owners are invited to attend an anti-fraud workshop to learn 10 No-Cost Ways to Reduce
Financial Fraud Risk. “Financial fraud closes companies, eliminates jobs, and damages the
perceived integrity of the U.S. market. If we can prevent one company from experiencing this,
our workshop will be a huge success,” said Abigail Grenfell, MBA, CFE, CIA, CPA, President,
Internal Control and Anti-Fraud Experts, LLC.
Grenfell, a forensic accountant with a proven track record of felony convictions and guilty pleas,
developed this small business workshop specifically for The NIIC and The Innovation Connector
to help raise business owner fraud risk awareness. The workshop will be offered twice on
Thursday, June 21, first at The NIIC, 7:30 a.m. – 10 a.m. (7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. open breakfast, 8
a.m. to 10 a.m. workshop), and then at The Innovation Connector, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
(11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. open lunch, 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. workshop). There is no charge to
attend the workshop, and registration is required. Seating is limited. Click here to register for the Fort Wayne Workshop.
Click here to register for the Muncie workshop.
“So many different professionals, including those in the for-profit and non-profit sectors, may
benefit from attending this workshop. CEOs, CFOs, business leaders, finance professionals,
non-profit leaders, senior leadership at churches, etc. are all welcome to attend. We are offering
this workshop as part of our moral obligation to our community. We want them to succeed and
not be part of that annual statistic of U.S., annual revenue lost due to fraud,” said Leslee Hill,
Director, Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center (WEOC).
“Fraud begins small. By the time it’s discovered, it has grown substantially. Small businesses
are at greatest risk. They can lack segregation of duties or staff qualifications to monitor for
fraud and the abnormal activities that enable it—which may appear normal on the surface. This
workshop will help business owners recognize warning signals of fraud. We’re happy to see the
NIIC present this as a topic and excited to help underwrite it,” said David O. Cole, CPA, CRFAC,
CVA, CDFA, CGMA, Haines, Isenbarger & Skiba, LLC, workshop sponsor.
This workshop is powered by WEOC, The NIIC, Innovation Connector, Internal Control and
Anti-Fraud Experts, LLC, and Fort Wayne SCORE. It is sponsored by Gibson; Haines,
Isenbarger & Skiba, LLC; PNC Bank, and The Thompson Group.
The Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center (WEOC) serves Northeast Indiana women at
all stages of their business ventures. WEOC responds to the unique needs of women
entrepreneurs through business growth coaching, training and entrepreneurial education,
connectivity and access to capital. In October 2017, the name changed to Women’s
Entrepreneurial (instead of Economic) Opportunity Center to more accurately reflect what
WEOC does. WEOC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small
Business Administration. As the Host organization, The NIIC also provides funding and
supplemental and complementary resources for WEOC, an SBA designated Women’s Business
Center—one of two in Indiana. For more information, visit www.inweoc.com.
About The NIIC
The NIIC is a non-profit, vibrant entrepreneurial community. We help business builders and
entrepreneurs launch and grow successful business ventures. We are located in a designated
U.S. Small Business Administration HUB Zone. Formed in 1999 by a consortium of community
and government leaders and organizations in 2013, The NIIC was recognized by Entrepreneur
magazine as one of the top four under-the-radar incubators in the country. This basically means
Entrepreneur magazine, with the help of International Business Incubation Association, picked
four U.S. incubators to highlight, and we were one of them. In their words, we “stand out in a
state not always perceived as small business friendly.” The NIIC is the country’s only ISO9001:
2008 registered business incubation and acceleration program. https://theniic.org/.
About Innovation Connector
The Innovation Connector exists for one purpose: to help new entrepreneurs with truly
unique business ideas turn their dreams into a reality. Our mission, vision, and guiding
principles explain exactly what we do and why we do it. Our mission is to support and
accelerate the creation of successful technology based and emerging companies in order to
improve the economy of Muncie and east central Indiana. Our vision is to be a dynamic
business incubation center which is recognized as a major contributor to the economic vitality of
About Internal Control and Anti-Fraud Experts, LLC
Internal Control and Anti-Fraud Experts was formed over 10 years ago with the specific intent to
assist public reporting companies with their required internal control compliance and reporting
requirements in a cost-effective manner. The company quickly expanded to offer internal control
assistance to privately held companies and developed a full range of forensic accounting and
litigation support services for all companies. With an emphasis on business process efficiency,
ICAFE-MN has enabled numerous small and medium-sized companies to reduce their fraud
risks, comply with reporting requirements, and improve efficiencies while decreasing overall
About Fort Wayne SCORE
Fort Wayne SCORE provides Northeast Indiana with the professional advice and tools to help
businesses thrive. This includes offering free business mentoring, business workshops, and
numerous templates and tools to help individuals start or grow a business. SCORE Fort Wayne
is one of 10 Indiana chapters. Fort Wayne is our main location, and we have branches in
Warsaw, Kendallville, and Angola to serve Northeastern Indiana. The organization recently
relocated the downtown Fort Wayne brand to The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (The
NIIC), 3201 Stellhorn Road. For more information about SCORE,
visit https://fortwayne.score.org/ or call 260-422-2601.
Alexis Dishman is one of the Innovation Connector’s “key connectors.” She’s not just the smiling face that greets you when you walk in the door; she helps make connections for clients, stakeholders, and partners.
“If you fly over a rainforest, pretty much all you see is the tops of the trees,” said Ted Baker, executive director. “But, what is really happening down there? There’s an entire ecosystem under those trees. When you come to the Innovation Connector, we can help you by connecting you to a component of our “ecosystem” you may need.”
Yes, the Innovation Connector offers modern, well-equipped office space to entrepreneurs and startups. But in addition to space, the Innovation Connector offers a unique array of business consulting services to help your business succeed and grow.
The Coding Connector, Them LLC, and TechWise Academy have collaborated to create the first ever Roblox Training Camp in Indiana. Learn from one of the top game designers on the Roblox platform as well as the owner of THEM Magazines in an all-day course to be held at the Innovation Connector in Muncie on Saturday, February 17th from 9am – 5pm.
About a year ago, Ted Baker, executive director of the Innovation Connector, decided to take a hard look at the Innovation Connector’s branding—and perhaps refresh it. Ted sat down with Richard Crist, CEO of Whitinger Strategic Services, and together they worked on answering similar questions about the Innovation Connector.