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.
“Entertaining tiny humans and trying to get dinner made can sometimes feel like a noteworthy feat. Sometimes you need a new idea. Sometimes toys just lose their appeal and you have to get creative,” said Ashley Runkle. Ashley and her husband, Bob, pitched the idea for Kiddo Keepsakes, a children’s activity set, at the Innovation Connector’s BIG Idea Pitch.
In the spirit of ”getting connected”, the Innovation Connector is bringing a new initiative to Muncie to do just that. It’s called “1 Million Cups.” 1 Million Cups is a nationwide program created and funded by The Kauffman Foundation, designed to educate, engage and accelerate the growth and implementation of entrepreneurial ideas.
A professional and beautiful building, and amenities such as plenty of free parking and back-office staff support, adds to the credibility and professionalism of an organization. Align these attributes with matching values and missions and you find a resource partner that calls the Innovation Connector their home—The Shafer Leadership Academy.
The Innovation Connector team believes connection drives innovation. So when Executive Director Ted Baker was introduced to Kyle Parker and Mark Caravello and learned of their mobile app The Traveler, he knew there were resources available that could help their business succeed.
The Innovation Connector has a unique opportunity for young people to learn “the language of the future” — computer coding. “The students learn not only how to code, but also learn how to problem solve,” said Brandon Coppernoll.
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.