Empowering Entrepreneurs: Introducing the Women’s Peer Collective

The Innovation Connector’s theme for 2023, “Empowering Entrepreneurs,” is an exciting endeavor that aims to support and uplift the entrepreneurial community. As part of this mission, we are thrilled to announce the launch of the “Women’s Peer Collective,” a unique 8-session program specifically designed to bring together twelve women who own businesses or serve as non-profit Executive Directors/CEOs. The primary objective of this collective is to foster an environment of mutual learning and growth, where members can draw from each other’s experiences and help one another thrive in their entrepreneurial journeys.

Running and maintaining a business can be an incredibly rewarding but challenging experience. While friends and family are undoubtedly supportive, sometimes they may not fully grasp the unique hardships and pressures. That’s why having a group of like-minded women who truly understand this lifestyle is essential. Our vision is for the Women’s Peer Collective to evolve into a tight-knit team that remains devoted to each other’s growth and success.

The Women’s Peer Collective will hold sessions every other Thursday from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm, commencing on September 7th. Understanding the busy lives of entrepreneurs, we have deliberately scheduled these meetings during the workday. Participants are welcome to bring their lunch to the sessions for convenience.

The dynamic of the group will be collaborative, with members leading the meetings after the initial session. To ensure productive discussions, an Innovation Connector team member will facilitate the first gathering. During this introductory meeting, the group will collectively decide on the topics of interest and how the sessions will function each week. In subsequent sessions, one or two members will lead the discussion on a topic of their choice, encouraging engaging group conversations.

Rest assured, the Women’s Peer Collective is a safe space where confidentiality, openness, honesty, and vulnerability are respected. To maintain this trusted environment, each member will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

The Sessions:

Mark your calendars for the following Women’s Peer Collective sessions from 11:30 am – 1 pm, all to be held at the Innovation Connector:

– September 7th

– September 21st

– October 5th

– October 19th

– November 2nd

– November 16th

– November 30th

– December 14th

Join us as we embark on this exciting journey of empowerment, growth, and support for women entrepreneurs and leaders. Together, we will build a thriving community that uplifts each other to reach new heights in our business ventures. The Women’s Peer Collective looks forward to welcoming you into our circle of empowerment and inspiration. Let’s create a brighter future together!

For more information and to apply, click here.

Spotlight- Techwise Academy

Techwise Academy provides educational courses teaching coding and computer science to students in grades K-12. Techwise is creating a generation of problem solvers and innovators through its classes providing a safe space to learn new technologies. Their mission is to teach coding and computer science to children and introduce them to new ways to problem solve and explore curiosity and creativity. They offer both online and in-person courses and have frequently held classes at the Innovation Connector.

4th of July Holiday Hours

The Innovation Connector will be closed on Monday, July 3rd, and Tuesday, July 4th for Independence Day. As always, residents of the Innovation Connector can access the building 24/7. We will resume normal hours Wednesday, July 5th.
Happy 4th!

Providing Excellent Client Experiences

This workshop is FREE!

Register Here

Join us on Tuesday, July 18, 2023, for an insightful workshop on providing excellent client experiences.

Location: 1208 W White River Blvd, Muncie, IN 47303 – Innovation Connector, Inc.

It is the goal of most businesses to provide excellent customer service. While this sounds great, most businesses do not have a plan to make that happen. And even more concerning is that they have no processes or initiatives to empower employees and customer-facing team members with adequate tools to deal with customer service issues.

This session will be a practical session for all business owners and entrepreneurs discussing various aspects of Providing Excellent Customer Experiences and ways to implement them into their daily business. While customers are the core component of a business, dealing with them can be difficult and tiring. This workshop will be instructed by Ted Baker, CEO/Executive Director of the Innovation Connector, who has been trained at Disney’s Institute of Customer Experience. By participating in this session, you will receive tools and resources utilized by Disney to help turn customer complaints into happy and returning customers.

It is suggested to bring a note-taking object as much of this information can apply to your business and daily life.

Please register for this event so that we can plan accordingly. Thank you!

If you have any questions, please reach out to Natalie Smith, Program and Events Coordinator, by emailing nsmith@innovationconnector.com or by calling 765-285-4900. We look forward to seeing you!

Time for a Mid-Year Business Health Checkup

Muncie Journal Article – June 2023

By: Ted A. Baker, CEO/Executive Director

Muncie Innovation Connector, Inc.

Time for a Mid-Year Business Health Checkup  

It is hard to believe that 2023 is nearing the halfway point. After enduring a cold winter and unpredictable spring, warm, nice weather and days full of sunshine are welcomed. During this time of year, it is important to consider reviewing the status of our businesses and organizations. Much like my semi-annual physical with my doctor, assessing what is going well and what is not is vital for businesses and organizations.  Making changes midway through the year related to my personal health and wellness can alleviate the serious problems that could occur if I wait too long. We know that identifying a physical problem in its early stages of development can save our lives and lead to less intrusive and costlier remedies. For my doctor to gain insight into my physical health, he orders a full regiment of blood tests a week before my appointment. The numbers and blood test results do not lie. They highlight specific problem areas so that during my appointment, we can discuss any root issues and possible steps to improve my health. As I have gotten older, I value these times with my doctor.  He celebrates the victories and accomplishments with me but is also very candid in telling me the hard truths if needed. Only when I know the truth can I choose to make the needed changes. And honestly, my health has improved significantly over the past few years because I have chosen to hear the truth and listen to his professional advice.

We owe the same level of attention to our businesses and organizations. Far too often, many business owners have not taken the time to evaluate how they are doing – until it is too late. Just because a business owner or organizational leader “thinks” things are going well does not mean they are. I have often heard, “There is money in my bank account. Things are going great.” Not only are they missing a critical piece of business management, but this mentality is also dangerous and can quickly lead to business failure. I suggest that business owners and leaders of organizations do what I do – get their “business bloodwork” reviewed to learn the truth about their organizations. Of course, what I mean by this is to check the data and information that impacts the health and wellness of the organization. Doing this regularly will uncover and reveal trends and situations that should be corrected before it’s too late. You will also probably learn what parts of the business are going well so you can capitalize on them. I recommend that a few areas be reviewed during a business health checkup.

1. Identify the Key Economic Indicators for your business or organization. In my past business ventures, I always practiced this concept.  While owning a manufacturing business, I regularly looked at four key economic indicators. 1.) Cash in our bank account, 2.) The dollar amount of Accounts Receivable, 3.) The dollar amounts of Accounts Payable, and 4.) The total dollar amount of all outstanding customer orders. Combined, these indicators painted a clear picture of the business’s health. For your business, the key indicators might include total payroll hours or dollars spent each week, weekly sales, the amount of inventory, customer satisfaction reviews, employee productivity, or other factors that are key to your business’s success. These same principles also apply to nonprofit organizations since similar best practices apply to both.  I challenge you to decide on three of four key economic indicators for your business and monitor each regularly.

2. Plan a regular review of the financial documents for your business or organization. This sounds easy, but this is difficult for many business leaders. Just like bloodwork, the numbers tell the true story!  If the documents and data indicate a healthy business,  celebrate and build upon that success.  If the news is not so positive, be thankful that you know the truth and can make the appropriate changes to your business operations. Not knowing will sink your business or organization.  And trust me, the bad news does not go away when we ignore it – it compounds! Many owners fear reviewing their businesses’ financial status with an outside professional. I understand – it can be embarrassing.  But to improve your financial condition, it must be done.  

In my many years working with business owners and nonprofit leaders, I have been shocked by the number who fail to keep accurate records or any records at all. Maintaining accurate and up-to-date records is not merely an activity to keep bookkeepers and accountants busy but are instruments and tools to grow and sustain your business. They compare past business growth or losses and keep a perspective on costs and expenses.  You also might better understand your customer base and what are the most profitable and successful products and services you provide.  

3. Business health checks are important to examine the leader’s mental health and wellness. As the leader goes – so do the followers. Unless you as a leader are healthy, the sustainability and longevity of your business hang in the balance. After all, while leading a business or organization is hard work, there should be some aspects of fulfillment and satisfaction in your efforts.  You are making meaningful contributions to your community. You have the opportunity to influence and inspire coworkers and others around you.  Successful business owners not only create wealth for their families, but they can also financially contribute to the needs of their communities. Another aspect of being a business leader needs to be discussed. Business owners and nonprofit executives can live a very lonely life.  I understand – I have been there too. People in these positions find it difficult to share with others they employ or work with. Many times, we do not believe anyone else will understand or care.  Please find someone you can trust outside your business or organization to talk with. You will find out they will soon be a lifeline for you.

I hope this helps you understand the importance of regular business checkups. The Innovation Connector offers this service free of charge to any business or organization in the Muncie community. The only thing required beyond supplying the documents we believe are needed is total honesty and a commitment to move your business or organization forward. If you want to participate in a regular business health check, please get in touch with me at tbaker@innovationconnector.com or our office at 765-285-4900.  Our services are confidential and private.  You and your business will be glad you do.

Spotlight – East Central Indiana Small Business Development Center

The Indiana Small Business Development Center (Indiana SBDC), which is housed within the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, helps small businesses start, grow, finance, innovate, and transition through no-cost, confidential business advising and training. The Indiana SBDC was established in 1985 with funding support from the U.S. Small Business Administration and the State of Indiana and has worked with over 50,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses. With a network of 10 regional offices throughout the state, the Indiana SBDC helps Hoosier entrepreneurs and small businesses start stronger, grow faster, and work smarter.
The East Central Indiana Location is located here in the Innovation Connector, helping hundreds of people a month.

Intellectual Property Basics: USPTO

Unfamiliar with patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets? Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from Damian Porcari, Regional Director of the Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), about intellectual property (IP) basics and potential ways to protect your innovation as you transition from idea to product. Join him in person on Thursday, June 1 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET at the Innovation Connector at 1208 West White River Boulevard in Muncie, Indiana. The target audience for this session is aspiring entrepreneurs, innovators, students, small businesses, and start-ups. Space is limited, so register early. The discussion will cover: An overview of intellectual property types: patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets
Why innovators and entrepreneurs should consider protecting their IP
Local resources and assistance are available through the USPTO and other agenciesFor registration, please visit: Intellectual Property (IP) Basics at Innovation Connector to register for this FREE event. For more information, email  or call 313-446-4800.

Guide to Starting a Business–Delaware County

 Launching Your Own Business

This workshop is your first step towards small business ownership success. Every successful business is built on a solid foundation. This class will help you evaluate your business idea with the end in mind.

Overview of Topics Touched from the “Guide to Starting a Business”:

1. Perform a Self-Assessment

2. Perform Market Research

3. Refine or Reconsider Your Business Idea (Is it Viable?)

4. Analyze Your Startup Costs

5. Refine or Reconsider Your Business Idea (Is it Feasible?)

6. Write Your Business Plan

7. Complete the Startup Checklist

8. Secure Financing

Register here: https://isbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/16310

 Judy Porter (765) 282-9950
 1208 W White River Blvd, Muncie IN 47303-8002

Entrepreneur Showcase Week Sponsorship Announcement

We are excited to announce that sponsorship opportunities are now available for Entrepreneur Showcase Week 2023, hosted by the Innovation Connector! This highly anticipated event celebrates and empowers entrepreneurship as well as innovation and the spirit of creativity.

We are thrilled to have secured our title sponsor. Their generous support and commitment to fostering entrepreneurship have set the stage for an incredible week of inspiration, education, and networking. Several sponsorship opportunities are available for companies and organizations that want to be part of this exciting event.

One of the big sponsorship opportunities is The Big Idea Pitch Sponsor. This sponsor will have the opportunity to support and present the highly anticipated “Big Idea Pitch” competition. Additionally, we are also seeking In-Kind Food Sponsors to provide delicious meals or snacks. This sponsorship is an excellent opportunity for restaurants, catering companies, and food-related businesses to showcase their culinary offerings to a diverse audience of entrepreneurs, investors, and industry professionals.

For a comprehensive list of sponsorship opportunities, including benefits and pricing details, we invite you to download the sponsorship PDF.

Don’t miss the chance to be part of this extraordinary event. Secure your sponsorship today, click here or contact Ted Baker at tbaker@innovationconnector.com or 765.285.4900

Let’s come together to celebrate and empower entrepreneurship during Entrepreneur Showcase Week 2023!

Enneagram 101 is Back!

Join Jennifer Stanley for Enneagram 101 5-Week Course

This class aims to equip you with powerful questions that will help you live and lead with authenticity, humility, and balance
Virtual: 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
In-Person: 6:30 – 8:00 pm

May 17, 2023

May 24, 2023

May 31, 2023

June 7, 2023

June 14, 2023
$149 total for all 5 sessions, REGISTRATION REQUIRED.
If you are new to the Enneagram, we HIGHLY recommend taking an online assessment as a starting point. Go to www.enneagraminstitute and click “take the RHETI test”. It is $12 and will be valuable as you find your number. You will receive an informational review that you can bring with you to class.