How do you build an inclusive, connected environment for entrepreneurs?

What is inclusive entrepreneurship, and how can civic leaders and organizations use it to empower minorities and disenfranchised communities?

Furthermore, how can business founders utilize a global network to advance their startup?

These questions and more will be discussed by Travis Sheridan, President of Cambridge Innovation Center’s (CIC) Venture Café Global Institute at two free, public events in Fort Wayne in August: Getting in the Game: Driving Success for Business Owners and Startup Tune-Up: Moving Up Startups for a Global World.

A man of many talents, Sheridan went from selling rocks as a kid to becoming the founder of several companies as well as the president of an international organization, Venture Café.

The organization began in Boston in 2009 as an informal, organic gathering of innovators. Today, it has created a global network of Venture Cafés driven by the common mission that the human condition improves through the nexus of innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic mobility.

Travis Sheridan 

In Fort Wayne, Sheridan will share his triumphs, tribulations, ideas on inclusion, and what’s needed to support minority business communities.

The events are brought to northeast Indiana by a coalition of community organizations, led by the Managing Director of Innovation at Electric Works, Crystal Vann Wallstrom.

She says it’s part of Electric Works’s plan to invite community conversations on regional inclusion, innovation, and entrepreneurship, as the redevelopment of the former General Electric campus begins to take shape.

“When people think innovation, they often think of technological innovations, but they also need to be thinking in terms of social innovation,” Vann Wallstrom says. “We are just beginning to understand what an inclusive Fort Wayne looks and feels like, and these events are just one step toward furthering that discussion.”

Vann Wallstrom says Electric Works ultimately hopes to have Venture Café involved and onsite at the campus to advance entrepreneurship in northeast Indiana and connect creators to a global network.

“Building a startup is tough,” she says. “Being part of a community and a larger network helps founders be connected and grow their business. Venture Café has a global network of mentors, founders, and Travis is one well-connected guy. He travels the world meeting with startups and community members all over the world. I can’t wait to hear what he has seen on his trips, what he has learned from other cities, and how our founders can use a global network to grow their business.”


Attend the Events

Getting in the Game: Driving Success for Business Owners

When: Monday, August 6th from 5:30-7:30PM

Where: The Summit, 1025 W. Rudisill Blvd., Fort Wayne, IN 46802, Enter Door G.

Register for this free event on Eventbrite. Childcare, light hors d’oeuvres, and beverages will be provided.


Startup Tune-Up: Moving Up Startups for a Global World

When: Tuesday, August 7th from 5:30-7:30PM

Where: Atrium, 111 W. Berry Street, Ste. 211, Fort Wayne, IN 46802

Register for this free event on Eventbrite. Light hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be provided.

Read more articles by Kara Hackett.

Kara is a Fort Wayne native, passionate about her hometown and its ongoing revival. As Managing Editor of Input Fort Wayne, she enjoys writing about interesting people and ideas in northeast Indiana. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @karahackett.
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