WIBU 2017 Empowerment Series

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:

11:30AM-1:00PM

“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.

Let us know you are coming by clicking here.

 

Thursday, May 25th

11:30AM-1:00PM

“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:

11:30AM-1:00PM

Speaker and presentation to be announced

 

Thursday, August 24th 2017:

11:30AM-1:00PM

Speaker and presentation to be announced

 

Thank you to:

WIBU (Women in Business Unlimited)

Women’s Economic Opportunity Center – Ft. Wayne 

SBA (Small Business Administration) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Open Enrollment for Coding Connector Classes

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.

 

2/14/17

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

 

3/14/17

Kodu Game Lab Party

 

4/4/17

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

 

4/8/17

Day of code: Foundations Level 1 & 2

 

5/9/17

Foundations level 3

 

5/19/17

Minecraft party

 

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.

http://innovationconnector.com/coding-connector/

 

Muncie Innovation Connector Hosts 2016 Excellence in Innovation Awards

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.

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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.

Winners included:

·         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.

The Landing Zone has Spaces Available

July 7, 2016 – Muncie, Indiana – The Innovation Connector’s Landing Zone currently has open work spaces available. Monthly passes are available for only $50/month.

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The Landing Zone is a dedicated co-working space [that allows you] to work privately while being connected to an abundance of services including one desk in a shared workspace, high-speed internet, 24/7 access, use of IC conference rooms (Next Level & John W. Fisher), an individual locker with key, a USPS mailbox, access to a printer/copier, bookkeeping, business coaching, fully equipped kitchen, and ample parking. It offers a community work environment with like-minded entrepreneurs, independent professionals, freelancers, and startup business owners.

Interested in a space at the Landing Zone? Contact Ted Baker at tbaker@innovationconnector.com.

Muncie Innovation Connector Recognizes Entrepreneurs and Innovators at Excellence in Innovation Awards

November 23, 2015 – Muncie, IN – Muncie Innovation Connector recently hosted the Excellence in Innovation Awards at the Horizon Convention Center. The purpose of this inaugural event was to recognize 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. Keynote speakers for the evening were Ontario Systems co-founders, Wil Davis and Ron Fauquher. The duo recounted the challenges they faced and the lessons they learned as they launched their software company, literally out of a garage. They also challenged the crowd of more than three hundred in attendance to learn from every experience, take the time to hire the right people, be committed to developing your staff, create a sustainable organization, understand your corporate and individual purpose, and always innovate.

Innovation Connector_3924

 

Awards were presented in three categories throughout the evening. Attendees celebrated five business owners and organizations with the Excellence in Innovation Award. These businesses have survived many challenges over the years to remain solid anchors for the business community in East Central Indiana. Also accepting an award was local high school student who was presented with the first ever Young Innovator’s Award. Lastly, the Innovation Connector awarded five emerging businesses with the top prizes in the 2015 Big Idea Pitch Competition.

These five recipients were honored as inaugural Excellence in Innovation Award Winners and inductees into the Innovation Connector’s “Innovation Wall of Fame”.

  • Thomas Office Solutions, Muncie, IN – represented by Gary & Michael Thomas
  • Little Diecast Corp, Albany, IN – represented by John Littler
  • Jacks Camera Shop, Inc., Muncie, IN – represented by Mike Powell
  • Carrera Manufacturing Inc., Portland, IN – represented by Jim Hiester
  • Boyce Systems, Daleville, IN – represented by Mike Galliher

The Young Innovator Award was presented to John Pugsley from Daleville High School.

In the spirit of innovation, the five finalists of The 2015 BIG Idea Pitch competition delivered their business ideas in live; two-minute pitches to all in attendance. A panel of distinguished judges then awarded the following winners later in the evening. Big Idea Pitch winners walked away with prize packages totaling nearly $40,000 in cash and services.

  • First Place: Brent Allred & Tyler Harris – Avec Audio
  • Second Place: Alex Call & Hunter Radke – Healthy Cookie
  • Third Place: Mark Ullom – Digital X-Ray Holder
  • Fourth Place: Greg White – GW Hops & Honey
  • Fifth Place: Johnell Kelley – Royale Curves

“The Excellence in Innovation Awards and the finals of the BIG Idea Pitch Competition met all of the criteria we established, including the number of businesses and individuals that were involved,” stated Innovation Connector Executive Director, Ted Baker. “Our region has a strong base of entrepreneurial and innovative leadership, and these two events were intended to highlight and encourage this strength. The Innovation Connector will continue to create opportunities for local entrepreneurs to develop and grow their business ideas and businesses right here in East Central Indiana.”

The 2015 BIG Idea Pitch and the Excellence in Innovation Awards were presented by the Innovation Connector and sponsored in part by First Merchants Bank, Ball State University, Ball Brothers Foundation, Indiana Michigan Power, MutualBank, Whitinger & Company, Star Bank, Ontario Systems, Whitinger Strategic Services, Ivy Tech Community College, IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, LEAP Managed IT, and Defur Voran.

Innovation Connector to Host the BIG Idea Pitch Competition for Local Entrepreneurs

September 14, 2015 – Muncie, IN – The Innovation Connector of Muncie, Indiana is hosting the second 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. High school seniors and college students also are 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 three minutes to “hit it out of the park” before a panel of judges from the business and investment community.

The schedule of events is as follows:

OPENING DAY – Monday, October 19th

Opening Day: Fun, informative session to find out what this is all about. The event will be held at the Innovation Connector. Ball Park Setting – Enjoy free hotdogs and stadium style treats. 6pm – 7:30pm. The BIG Idea Pitch Competition Application Forms will be available on-line this day too.

TRAINING CAMPS – Monday, October 26th and Monday, November 2nd
Cover Your Bases: Workshop Session #1 – 6-7:30 pm – Learn from experts (people who have already done it) – Learn what is needed to take your idea to reality.

Workshop Session #2 – 6-7:30pm

THE DRAFT- Friday, October 30th
Final Day to submit your BIG Idea Pitch application (submissions close at midnight).

SEMI-FINALS COMPETITION – Monday, November 9th
Come out of the Dugout and be ready to qualify for the Finals! 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 2015.

The BIG Idea Pitch Finals & Excellence in Innovation Awards – Wednesday, November 18th
Throw Us Your Curve Ball! – Champion Final Competition 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 – two minutes to pitch business ideas to a panel of three distinguished judges. The final results will be revealed that night with prize packages of nearly $40,000 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 go to innovationconnector.com and click The BIG Idea Pitch link or contact Ted Baker at 765-285-4900.

The Big Idea Pitch 2015 and the Excellence in Innovation Awards are presented by the Innovation Connector and sponsored in part by First Merchants Bank, Ball State University, Ball Brothers Foundation, Indiana Michigan Power, MutualBank, Whitinger & Company, Star Bank and Ontario Systems.

Downtown Focused Business: New Corner Brewing Company

Sean Brady loves beers. He loves the art of crafting special beers. Sean changed his hobby into a business model and New Corner Brewing Company was formed. However the details of starting a business were somewhat overwhelming for Sean. Focusing on being part of Muncie’s downtown was important to Sean and the development of his business. Since winning the BIG Pitch, Sean has found new ways to connect to the Muncie community. He now regularly features his four different hand-crafted beers at gatherings and events which continually opens his business to new clientele. Sean is still currently working hard to build out his near-downtown location and expects to open in the near future. Sean attributes his involvement in the BIG Pitch to opening his craft to new client markets and has made many great relationships as a result of the competition. The cash prize, as well as the awarded services, was instrumental in assisting Sean to master a few new challenges and hurdles.

seanWinner

2014 Non-Technology Division Winners: Blue River Towers

Mark Thompson and Mark Sears began with a simple idea: Recycling Water Efficiently. Utilizing a patented process for geo-textile water recycling helps our government and is very cost efficient for communities to operate. Mark T. commented how The BIG Pitch helped their cause.

“Starting a business is a daunting task. Making sense of the process and details was nearly a full time endeavor for us. However, we participated in the BIG Pitch Training Camps which allowed us to see the value in our idea and how we could monetize it. The team of advisors was spot on to help us with our pitch and in the end, winning $5,000 and lots of services that we used. Stepping out of our comfort zone to enter this competition turned out to be a very good decision for us. We are sure glad that we did.”

markWinners

 

The Power of a Story: Brothers Build a Business in Film after Winning The BIG Pitch

“Toy Story” was the first movie Nick and Patrick Rieth saw in theaters. Now the brothers are on the other side of the camera, with their own Muncie-based film company called Rieth Brothers.

“Since a young age, we’ve been in love with movies and the power of story,” Patrick, a junior animation major, said. “We want to use the power of story to help people deliver messages.”

Starting their own business took the Rieth brothers 15 minutes and $90. The two started the company in May 2014 through the services of Innovation Connector. Innovation Connector is a business incubator in Muncie that supports start up businesses and helps them grow.

The Rieth brothers won Innovation Connector’s “The
BIG Pitch” idea competition in October 2014. They’ve been working with Ted Baker, Innovation Connector’s executive director, ever since. The competition provided the brothers with connections and opportunities they didn’t have before.

Nick, a Ball State alumnus, and Patrick are starting to get their footing in the film industry. They are currently doing a lot of “bread and butter” work, including weddings, events and training videos. They’ve not been able to create as many creative projects as they’d like, but these kinds of projects are in the works.rieth bros winners

“We’re definitely looking forward to what we have planned this fall,” Nick said.

One creative project the brothers recently made is a parody of Taylor Swift’s song “Bad Blood” called “Dad Bods.”

When it comes to schedules, Nick and Patrick’s are jam-packed. Aside from running their business, Patrick is a full-time student and works with Ball State’s Digital Corps while Nick works as a redshirt at Brothers Bar and Grill.

Nick’s schedule can change from week to week, which doesn’t bother him in the slightest.

“That’s part of the fun of it,” Nick said. “I like knowing my schedule, but also like having a varied schedule.”

Patrick said owning a business requires “way more hours than you’d think.” The hours depend on the work that needs to be done. Some weeks can be slow while the next week requires 50 hours of work.

“The hours don’t count, it’s what you do that counts,” Patrick said. “If you can perform when it matters, that’s what’s the most important.”

And the brothers can do that, Baker said.

“Nick and Patrick are awesome people to work with,” he said. “They want to learn and make their business successful.”

Baker works with the Rieths as a facilitator and coach and answers questions when needed. He monitors their company’s processes.

“It’s their business; it’s not my business,” Baker said. “I’m here to guide them into the best practices.”

The brothers are taking advantage of Innovation Connector and other resources in Muncie to expand their company.

“Muncie’s definitely on the upswing in the small business community,” Nick said. “It’s really cool to see all the growth that’s happening and to be able to be a part of that.”

 

Miller Kern. “The power of a story: brothers build a business in film after winning competition” Ball State Daily Published 08/21/15 8:45am http://www.ballstatedaily.com/article/2015/08/reith-brothers-company

 

Forge Strength Designs Unique Fitness Service Website

August 6, 2015 – Muncie, Indiana – Darik Hall has always had a drive for entrepreneurial pursuits. He was constantly trying to come up with fun, new ideas pdarikertaining to fitness and technology. After creating several apps and comparing what works with what doesn’t, he noticed one thing. All you could with the information was read it. Why not apply the information in the midst of a workout? Using the database’s knowledge of equipment and muscles could allow an app to dynamically hide or swap out exercises you don’t have the equipment to do.

Forge Strength’s technology allows you to do just that! It gives you great workout ideas, but it also offers a unique approach to tracking them that enables the app to do more than plot points. It can find correlations between muscle groups, recommend exercises based on the equipment at your location, and much, much more. This allows the app to more accurately interpret a trainer or athlete’s intent which, in turn, translates to a more efficient workout experience. More progress, less plateaus, and less time wasted on trying to track it all.iphone-mockup

 

The app is currently under development, but don’t worry! You can still pre-register to get the latest updates and be the first to sign up when it’s available later this year! Point your browser to https://forgestrength.io to pre-register and learn more.