From college athlete to agent: This Fort Wayne entrepreneur is making her mark on the sports world

A Fort Wayne-based sports agency is capturing global attention and clientele thanks to the bold vision of its founder. 

Capture Sports Agency is the brainchild of entrepreneur and Fortitude Fund founder Chauntiel Smith. The full-service firm works with athletes on a personal level to assist with contract negotiations, financial planning, community engagement, public speaking opportunities, and more.

To make it happen, Smith scouts college athletes who aspire to take their athletic careers to the next level. At this time, she’s certified with the WNBA, FIBA, and WKBL. In the future, she says she might pursue licenses with the NFL and the USATF, which would open up more doors for her professionally. 

And who better to represent athletes than a former athlete herself? As Smith explains, her business concept came out of both her athletic career and academic pursuits. She played basketball at South Side High School in Fort Wayne and ran track in college. At one point, she considered the WNBA herself, but that plan didn’t work out. 

She ended up getting a full-ride scholarship to run track at Indiana Tech, which proved to be the “best decision” she’s made so far, she says. Indiana Tech opened many doors for Smith, including the opportunity to study sports management and business administration and later enter a traditionally male-dominated field

While success has a tendency to go to some people's heads, Smith has made a point to remain humble and grounded, and that serves her well in connecting with talent.

“Playing sports was my getaway because we didn’t have much when I was growing up," she says. "It’s a blessing to be able to understand where a lot of these athletes come from. They have big dreams, despite coming from modest means."

Smith herself had big dreams and was able to translate them into reality. While at Indiana Tech, she worked closely with an advisor and professor, Craig Dyer, who pushed her to understand what being a sports agent entailed. That led to an internship with MAC Sports Group in the Dallas, TX, area. On the job, she helped with recruiting athletes, onboarding, making connections with coaches and agents, and other essential duties of running a sports agency. 

“I gained knowledge and valuable connections,” she reflects. “After that, I felt like it was God telling me it was time for me to bring what I’ve learned back to Fort Wayne and to the community here, so I listened.”

But Smith did more than listen. She acted on the call, too.

She formally launched her business in December 2015, having graduated earlier that year. She’s grateful for a mentor in André Cummings, who she now employs as a consultant. At the time he was a law professor at Indiana Tech. His knowledge and expertise proved to be a vital asset in getting the business off the ground. She says he helped her with the paperwork and how to navigate the ins and outs of the legal landscape. 

In the process, she also identified her target market.

“It’s athletes who aspire to be leaders and give back to the community and positively represent our agency.”

In fact, the name Capture Sports Agency alludes to that high-minded stance. 

“We're capturing them to become leaders, business executives, philanthropists, role models, and more,” she says about her clients. “So we're capturing them under our agency to become more than what they think they are."

Read more articles by Lauren Caggiano.

Lauren Caggiano is a Fort Wayne-based writer. A 2007 graduate of the University of Dayton, she returned to Northeast Indiana to pursue a career. In the past 12 years she has worked in journalism, public relations, marketing, and digital media. She currently writes for several local, regional, and national publications.