Many business incubators and business start-up support organizations employ on staff an Entrepreneur-in-Residence: someone who has been a business owner and can share their practical insights. At the Innovation Connector, we mixed this up a little. Meet Nate Spell, a 17 year old high school senior and the IC’s Young-Entrepreneur-in-Residence.
*Original Story posted on the Muncie Journal. *
JULY 31, 2017
By: Tracy Dishman—
An Innovation Connector Success Story:
The Rieth Brothers
Nick and Patrick Rieth, owners of Reith Brothers, is an Innovation Connector success story.
The Rieth Brothers are two young entrepreneurs passionate about telling great stories through digital media. They operate their business out of the Innovation Connector in Muncie, Indiana, creating videos for local businesses and organizations, and producing films for themselves and other artists.
Rieth Brothers is a digital media company that combines both brother’s skill sets. Nick is a 2015 graduate of Ball State University and has been doing commercial video work for the past four years. Patrick is a 2017 graduate of Ball State University in Animation, but his skill sets are many. He creates beautiful work not only through 2D and 3D animation, but also in his digital paintings, story boards, and motion graphics.
Nick Rieth wondered what he was going to do with his life when he began college at Ball State University. “I liked film and that’s about all I knew,” said Nick. He worked in a startup business with a college buddy who had heard of the Innovation Connector. They visited with SCORE, Service Corps of Retired Executives, that provide free business mentoring services to entrepreneurs. SCORE was located in the Innovation Connector at that time.
When Patrick started at Ball State University, the two brothers decided they wanted to merge their talents and make creative things together, including feature films. In looking at a variety of paths to take in order to reach their dream career, they chose to start a business and begin creating and filming commercials. That decision led them directly to the Innovation Connector.
“That’s when we met Ted Baker and he told us about The Big Pitch Competition,” said Patrick. “We ended up winning the technology category.”
(The Rieth Brothers video above is magical. Please watch it and give it time to play for a while.)
The Innovation Connector (IC) is a full-service business incubator. The IC exists to help entrepreneurs succeed by offering resources and support to address their ever-changing needs. The IC is the host for the 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. Competitors have three minutes to talk, or pitch, before a panel of judges
“After the Rieth Brothers won The Big Idea Pitch competition, it was obvious to me that these two young men were special,” said Ted Baker, Executive Director of the Innovation Connector. “At that time, I decided the Innovation Connector would do whatever we could to assist them in growing their business. From there it’s been a journey, step-by-step, of learning and successes.”
“We took [the win] as a sign that we should keep on doing this,” stated Patrick. “Winning the contest gave us a little bit of cash so we bought some equipment, spent a lot more time mentoring with Ted Baker and got some of our very first gigs.”
Not only did the Rieth Brothers get some gigs, they landed a job to create a series of videos for online textbooks for Pearson Educational Resource. Ted Baker landed the contract from Pearson Educational Resource and then contracted the Rieth Brothers to do the filming and editing.
The brothers also enjoy talking about the work they have done for the Excellence in Innovation Awards the last two years for the Innovation Connector.
In the spring of 2015, and lots of business coaching later, Nick and Patrick bought a company. Ted Baker suggested they move into the Innovation Connector.
“The Innovation Connector has been huge for our growth. Ted gave us a ton of vital help and advice that otherwise we would have missed if we had just bought a small office downtown,” said Nick Rieth.
“The best thing about working with the Rieth Brothers is their ability to learn, or their teach-ability,” added Baker.” They listened and they learned and they were able to gain insight and growth in their business because they were willing to learn from others.”
“Our dream is to move to the West Coast,” said the Rieth’s. “We have a group of creative people that always work together. Recently, part of the group moved out to Los Angeles and found the beautiful paradox of LA is trying to find a place to live.” The creative group re-grouped and decided that the integrity of the creative team, and staying together, was more important than moving to LA.
“We know that LA is the hub of entertainment. We don’t do things arbitrarily. We are taking a little more time in an area that we know, around people and business that we know, to get even better prepared. We are moving to Indianapolis for a year,” said the Rieth’s.
“Ted Baker and the resources at the Innovation Connector did more than help us learn how to start a business, he showed us the possibility of a business,” said Patrick Rieth, when asked about memorable lessons learned.
“When we bought the business and had to go into debt for it, the dream became a reality!” stated Patrick. “What gets me up in the morning is knowing that Nick and I take on the business part of the dream. We’re the ones who are going to make it tangible to keep our creative group together and make a living doing something we love to do AND be with people we really love to work with. And THAT’S the end goal.”
Visit www.RiethBrothers.com to view Patrick and Nick’s online portfolio and follow them on their dream job journey.
In the week of July 10-July 14, the Coding Connector held the first Robotics Camp at Southside Middle School. During this week of activities, students learned how to program EV3 LEGO robots to move different directions, follow a line by using color sensors, and some even learned how to make sounds with their robots. (An elephant noise was programmed into one of the robots!)
The hot word for the week was Algorithm. – A process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.
The students were taught that the robots would not move if they did not have rules or a process to be followed. By having this way of thinking, each student walked through the steps with their group before programming the steps into the EV3 LEGO robot.
Ryan Hunter and Brandon Coppernoll with TechWise Academy instructed the students all week long with help from Roza Selvey (teacher) and Joyce King (teacher.) The instructors made sure each student knew that the number one rule throughout the week was to HAVE FUN.
The Coding Connector (a partnership between TechWise Academy and the Innovation Connector) was honored to have held the robotics summer camp at Southside Middle School.
Make sure to watch for future Coding Connector classes and camps.
Special thanks to Southside Middle School and TechWise Academy.
By: Ted Baker of the Innovation Connector and Ryan Hunter of TechWise Academy—
Muncie, IN—The idea for the camp was conceived by Roza Selvey, Southside STEM teacher, and Ryan Hunter of TechWise Academy during a MCS Professional Development Day in January. Ryan reached out to Ted Baker at the Innovation Connector who was immediately on board with the vision. As an outcome of this partnership, the first Robotics Summer Camp will take place at Muncie Southside Middle School during the week of July 10 -14 from 9am to noon each day. Muncie Southside Middle School has taken care of signing up interested students. There is no cost for the camp.
“This really is a great example of multiple organizations in the community working together for a common goal of impacting our youth,” says Hunter. “These students will be engineers for the week and use math, science, computer programming, and problem solving to address real-world problems with the robots. And they’ll have tons of fun while doing it.”
“This is an exciting “first” for the Innovation Connector,” states Ted Baker, Executive Director of the Innovation Connector. “This camp is a direct result of the success of our Coding Connector initiative and is our first move to partner with local schools.” The Innovation Connector recently purchased ten Lego robots with funds received from a grant by The George and Frances Ball Foundation and will be used in many other classes that will be held at the Innovation Connector.” Baker continues, “Programs like this camp and others would not be possible without the financial support from our community partners. These robots are definitely the most innovative learning tool we have now at our center.”
While the Innovation Connector focuses on the behind-the-scenes work, TechWise Academy does the hands-on code and robotic training. Led by Brandon Coppernoll and Ryan Hunter, TechWise Academy provides the technical training for all of the Coding Connector programs and is now leading the Robotics Summer Camp initiative. Future computer coding sessions and robotics programs will start again in the fall and will be posted on www.innovationconnector.com as soon as available.
For more information, contact: Alexis Dishman, 765-285-4900, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
June 2, 2017– Muncie, IN – The Innovation Connector of Muncie was thrilled to partner with the Venture Club of Indiana to be the sanctioned host for the Regional iNX3 Pitch Competition that took place on May 31st, 2017. The event consisted of a panel of judges listening to eight pitches from qualified candidates who shared their business ideas in hopes of being one of the three finalists to qualify for the iNX3 Final Pitch Competition.
Pitches that will move to the Finals include:
- 1st place – Drone Camp (dronecamp.org)
Drone Camp is about hands-on learning, innovation and adventure. You’ll take to the skies and become an honorary junior drone pilot. Come make friends, play creative games and jump in at the forefront of an emerging field. This one-of-a-kind summer camp is for anybody and everybody. No experience needed, great memories guaranteed! We even supply the Drones and you will be able to BUILD your own drone!
- 2nd Place – Aubry Lane (www.aubrylane.com)
Aubry Lane is inspired by women’s intrepid pursuit of personal style. Each handbag is constructed from the highest quality materials. The Aubry Lane Amulet is a 1 Touch Emergency SOS, Cellular, and GPS device that allows you or your Aubry Lane handbag to be tracked almost anywhere in the world. Aubry Lane seamlessly integrates fashion and technology into each unique bag, ensuring both style and security.
- 3rd Place – The Traveler (mytravelerapp.com)
Whether you are planning your next vacation, road trip or weekend getaway, be sure to take The Traveler along for the ride. For globe-trotting travelers to casual vacationers who struggle to capture, organize, and share their travel experiences, The Traveler is a road-tested mobile app, with a companion web site, that creates an immersive and digital journal of all those cherished memories.
“We were honored to be chosen as a sanctioned site for the inaugural iNX3 Regional Pitch Competition,” stated Innovation Connector Executive Director, Ted Baker. “A total of eight prepared, investor-ready pitches were delivered at the Innovation Connector. All eight were worthy of being selected to move to the finals, the Innovation Showcase on June 14th, but the judges could only select three. The Innovation Connector looks forward to a continued partnership with The Venture Club of Indiana and all that they do to encourage and promote entrepreneurship in our great state.”
These three finalists will pitch their ideas at the iNX3 Pitch Finals on June 14, 2017 for a chance to win over $100,000 in cash and services.
iNX3 is a phenomenal week of venture-focused events where entrepreneurs across all industries, venture capitalists and investors, and service providers of all kinds converge to inspire, innovate, and invest. It brings together multiple venture-focused events in one week to help venture capital and investors connect with scale-up and investment-ready companies. It combines the Venture Club of Indiana’s Innovation Showcase with TechPoint’s Winner’s Circle Event, and a series of other elements designed specifically to cause interaction between early-stage and later-stage companies and venture capital of all forms.
The Innovation Connector is proud to be the sanctioned host of a Regional Pitch Competition for The Venture Club of Indiana’s first iNX3 event.
Be a part of the excitement that is in every corner of our state to send the best startup and early stage companies to the iNX3 Pitch Finals in Indianapolis in June.
Join us on Wednesday, May 31st and be a part of the excitement that is in every corner of our state to send the best startup and early stage companies to the iNX3 Pitch Finals in Indianapolis.
The prize package for the Finals is over $100,000 in cash and services.
The event is FREE to attend. Hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be served.
iNX3 is a phenomenal week of venture-focused events where entrepreneurs across all industries, venture capitalists and investors, and service providers of all kinds converge to inspire, innovate and invest.
Please register by clicking HERE if you plan to attend.
Check out the Venture Club of Indiana by clicking here.
JOB DESCRIPTION FOR LEGAL ASSISTANT
Our expanding law firm is currently seeking a qualified applicant to fill a part-time position of Legal Assistant. We are looking for a self-motivated Legal Assistant to ensure smooth running of the law office and effective case management. You will provide a broad spectrum of legal services under the supervision of an attorney. The areas of legal services which this law office provides to its clients are: estates, estate planning, real estate, corporate, family law, guardianships, adoptions and general corporate matters.
The anticipated number of hours of work needed for this position is 10 to 20 hours a week. As the law firm’s business increases, the number of hours for this position will increase. The rate of pay will be based on skills and prior work experience of the person hired for the position.
- Provide administrative support to lawyer and enhance office effectiveness
- Handle communication with clients, witnesses, courts, etc.
- Prepare court pleadings, contracts, wills, power of attorneys and other legal forms
- Prepare correspondence to clients, witnesses, courts, etc.
- Conduct investigations and statistical/documentary research
- Locate and develop case relevant information
- Monitor deadlines and juggle calendars
- Assist attorney preparation of trials and hearings
- Familiarity with law, legal procedures and protocols, and court system
- Satisfactory knowledge of day-to-day operations of a legal office
- Computer literacy with Microsoft Word and Excel
- Working knowledge of legal research programs
- Excellent secretarial and organizational skills
- Ability to juggle multiple activities and work under pressure
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
- Able to take direction and work independently with little or no supervision
If interested in applying for this position, please contact Alexis Dishman by email: Akdishman@innovationconnector.com
Further instructions will be given to interested applicants.
The Innovation Connector has partnered with WIBU (Women in Business Unlimited) and WEOC (The Women’s Economic Center – Ft. Wayne) to bring you the WIBU Empowerment Series. With outstanding speakers and presentations, we bring you four different inspiring luncheons.
All meetings will take place at the Innovation Connector with lunch provided.
Thursday, April 27th 2017:
“How to Recession Proof Your Business”
During this luncheon attendees will hear from Melissa St. John, President and Owner of Relocation Strategies, on her topic of: How to Recession Proof Your Business.
Melissa St. John is President and Owner of Relocation Strategies, a move and furniture management firm in Indianapolis, IN. Melissa joined the company in 2004 as Project Manager. She has 20+ years of experience in Indianapolis working in various capacities in interior design services and real estate. With her extensive experience in furniture procurement and facility management, she expanded the firm’s offerings from move management to a more all-inclusive offering. She has a passion for building relationships. Having bought the business in late 2007, Melissa was forced to start from scratch having lost most, if not all, of Relocation Strategies reoccurring clients in the fallout from the housing market crash. Through smart marketing strategies, top talent hiring and sheer force of will Melissa doubled and then tripled Relocation Strategies’ worth. Today she is adamant that any business should have a plan on how to survive and thrive come the next economic downturn.
She’s a high-energy motivator, with a gift for recruiting the right people to support her. Her influence extends beyond her industry and out into the community, where she serves on boards of various causes she enthusiastically champions such as the Indiana Construction Round Table, Girl Scouts Capital Campaign, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Melissa is a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacey Leadership Program. In 2010 she received Indy’s Best and Brightest award by Junior Achievement and NAWBO Indy’s (National Association of Women Business Owners) Visionary Award. In 2012, she was named Runner-Up for the Starkey Entrepreneurial Woman Business Owner which awards inspiration and success.
Thursday, May 25th
“Transforming a Leaky Row Boat into a Cruise Ship”
During this luncheon attendees will hear from Janet South who has served as President and owner of DECO Coatings, since its incorporation in 1995. Janet will speak on her topic of: Transforming a Leaky Row Boat into a Cruise Ship
Janet has served as President and owner of DECO Coatings, since its incorporation in 1995. She is a certified WBE, DBE, ACDBE, and two national certifications DECO Coatings is an industrial coating/painting which applies liquid protective high performance coatings in a 26,000-controlled environment. What began with a paint brush & roller knocking on doors evolved into an industrial 5-acre campus with 12 overhead cranes from 3-ton up to 100-ton capacity. Janet has treated the company like a cruise ship rather than a row boat…even when the row boat was leaky and she had to bail water to stay afloat. Janet oversees company operations, finances, reviews and directs proposal preparation, contract negotiation, and reviews all social media before it is posted.
Janet has been an active member of NAWBO-Indy since she joined in 2007 and was appointed to serve on the Board of Directors then NAWBO National Presidents’ Assembly. She serves on Indiana Subcontractors Association (ISA) Industry Advancement Committee. Immersed in the construction industry, she is active in public policy for job training, technical education pathway for those who are wired to work with their hands. She belongs to the National Protective Coatings Society, Indiana Fabricators, and Indiana Constructors. Janet has been recognized for mentoring, business, promoting women in business, women in construction, best business practices, and philanthropic efforts. In addition, Janet supported Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom wounded soldiers and their family members in Washington, D.C. and San Antonio, Texas from 2004-2011 while assisting her critically wounded Marine during his extensive recovery.
Thursday, June 22nd 2017:
*Presentation to be announced*
Executive Director of Creative Women of the World
“Every person on earth is gifted with at least one asset that can transform their world.”
Since high school, Lorelei felt called to help people through the power of creativity but it wasn’t until she turned 56 that her dream found full expression.
After a career in art related businesses and opportunities to travel to many corners of the world in mission projects, she found she enjoyed them but none of them seemed to fulfill her full vision.
Then in 2007 she was invited to Haiti to help start an artisan-based organization called Haitian Artisans for Peace International or HAPI. That was it! Lorelei partnered with artisans in product development and business management skills and set up a HAPI distribution center in the US where their products could be sold.
When invitations from several other countries started pouring in, she knew it was time in the summer of 2011 to start a new social business called Creative Women of the World.
It is a nonprofit devoted to offering business training through our unique curriculum, “Unlocking Your Design” and sells products made by artisans from 49 countries around the world.
Creative Women of the World has trained hundreds of women in eleven countries and has grown a retail customer base to several thousand locally and online. Lorelei passionately works to give a voice to those who want to get out of poverty through the power of their own creativity!
Lorelei’s past work experience and certificates include:
BS- Indiana Wesleyan University – Art Education Major
MA- Ball State University— Art with a Textile Design Emphasis
- Art teacher for ten years
- Entrepreneur in several art related businesses- including Friend to Friend, a company that sold handmade cards in every state and exported to three countries; Free-lance artist who painted over 200 murals in several states and various countries
- 2007-2011 Full time volunteer as Artistic and Marketing Director for Haitian Artisans for Peace International
- 2011- Current- Founder and Executive Director of Creative Women of the World
Thursday, August 24th 2017:
*Presentation to be announced*
First Lady Janet Holcomb
First Lady Janet Holcomb / State of Indiana
Janet Holcomb is the wife of Indiana’s 51st Governor, Eric Holcomb. Janet grew up on a horse farm near Muncie, Indiana, where horses and ponies were her first passion in life. Janet rode competitively in Western, English, and Contesting Events at 4-H and regional shows.
Janet also developed a love of the Arts, particularly drawing, early in life. She went on to complete her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Fine Arts at Ball State University. As the daughter and granddaughter of small business owners, some of Janet’s most valuable lessons were learned at the dinner table. Most recently, Janet served as Vice President of her family’s manufacturing business, R&R Engineering, which has been producing and distributing bolts and fasteners across the U.S. and Canada for the past 47 years.
Prior to joining the business, Janet led fundraising efforts for a number of Federal, and Statewide campaigns for a decade. She has utilized her fundraising experience to benefit many non-profit organizations, including Veterans, Social Service providers, Arts organizations, animal welfare advocates, and Scouting groups.
Janet and Eric are also staunch supporters and defenders of the 2nd Amendment. Both are Life Members of the NRA, and Janet is a certified NRA pistol instructor. She has led training classes throughout the state, and particularly enjoys sharing her passion for shooting sports and personal protection with other women.
Janet is a multi-discipline shooter with experience in pistol, shotgun, and rifle shooting. She has been included in a NRA Armed and Fabulous video. For fun, you might find Janet hunting hogs from a helicopter, gardening, or just hanging out at home with Eric and their dog Henry.
Thank you to:
With an eye on the future of our community, the Innovation Connector launched the Coding Connector on January 1, 2017. This initiative is intended to reach school aged children in 1st-12th grade. Utilizing the expert instructors from TechWise Academy, the Coding Connector combines a state-of-the-art facility with fiber based internet access, computer resources, an active marketing and business center and the absolute best coding instructors and facilities in our community. Please consider having your daughters and sons join us on this exciting and educational journey. Coding does not have to be difficult to learn and we make it fun to learn.
Watch as your child learns the ways of code through gaming. Events such as the Minecraft Party and Kodu Game Lab Party allow kids to code within a game and show the class what they have created at the end of the class.
Please join us as we teach your children…
“THE NEW LANGUAGE OF THE FUTURE.”
Classes offered are listed below.
Scratch Level 1 (Three Session Class)
- February 14, 2017 – 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
- February 21, 2017 – 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
- February 28, 2017 – 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Kodu Game Lab Party
Unity Level 1 (Five Session Class)
- April 4, 2017 – 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
- April 11, 2017 – 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
- April 18, 2017 – 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
- April 25, 2017 – 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
- May 2, 2017 – 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Day of code: Foundations Level 1 & 2
Foundations level 3
By clicking the link below, you will be taken to the list of classes offered this school year. All classes are open enrollment and offer a limited number of laptops that can be used for each class.
November 18, 2016 – Muncie, IN – Muncie Innovation Connector recently hosted the second annual Excellence in Innovation Awards at the Horizon Convention Center. This celebration recognized leaders in business innovation including those who are well established and others who are emerging.
Ted Baker, Executive Director of the Innovation Connector, served as the evening’s emcee. Karl LaPan, President & CEO of the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center in Fort Wayne, was the evening’s keynote speaker. His presentation was entitled, Innovation is a Messy Business.
Awards were presented in four categories throughout the evening. Two individuals were recognized for their impact on innovation in East Central Indiana. Nathaniel Spell, a local high school student, was presented with the Young Innovator’s Award for his unique marketing business. Longtime business and community leader, Stefan Anderson received the Excellence in Innovation Mentorship Award for his many years of business leadership and investment in the lives of others.
Attendees celebrated five business owners and organizations with the 2016 Excellence in Innovation Award. These businesses have demonstrated the entrepreneurial characteristics necessary to remain solid anchors for the business community in East Central Indiana.
· Dustin Humm – eKeeper Systems, Yorktown, IN
· Jason Brooks – Jay-Crew, Muncie, IN
· Math Pathway Teams – Ivy Tech Community College, East Central Indiana Region
· Ralph Amos & Family – R&R Engineering Company, Inc., Summitville, IN
· Roy Padgett and Tim Padgett – Small Engine Warehouse, Inc., Muncie, IN
In the spirit of innovation, the five finalists of the 2016 BIG Idea Pitch competition delivered their business ideas in live, two-minute pitches to all in attendance. A panel of ten distinguished judges then awarded first through fifth places later in the evening. These five finalists emerged from nearly fifty original ideas during the BIG Idea Pitch. Winners walked away with prize packages totaling nearly $40,000 in cash and services.
· First Place: Scott Massey – Hydro Grow, Grobot
· Second Place: Travis Hickey – Vacuums Are Just the Beginning
· Third Place: Ashley & Robert Runkle – Smallmark Creations
· Fourth Place: Kyle Parker – The Traveler
· Fifth Place: Sandy Brown & Jerry Mack – Hook ‘n Ladder Pizza
“Our region has a strong base of entrepreneurial and innovative leadership, and it was certainly on display at the Excellence in Innovation Awards. It was energizing to bring together innovators, both young and old, to celebrate the power of the entrepreneurial spirit,” stated Innovation Connector Executive Director, Ted Baker.
At the Innovation Connector, we are the ‘gateway to entrepreneurship’ which is why we create events like this for local entrepreneurs to develop and grow their business ideas right here in East Central Indiana.”
The 2016 BIG Idea Pitch and the Excellence in Innovation Awards were presented by the Innovation Connector and sponsored in part by First Merchants Bank and Ball State University. Additional sponsors included The Community Foundation of Muncie & Delaware County, Indiana Michigan Power, MutualBank, Whitinger & Company, Star Bank, Ontario Systems, Whitinger Strategic Services, Ivy Tech Community College, IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, Bingham Greenbaum Doll, Chick-fil-A, R&R Engineering, Co., WLBC Radio and The Muncie Journal.