Calling all inventors and innovators: This new program is ready to support your venture

It’s no secret that Northeast Indiana is full of entrepreneurial talent, but Start Fort Wayne and Elevate Fort Wayne are joining forces to seek out and support an often-overlooked entrepreneurial category– scalable ventures.

Through Scalable Assembly, Start Fort Wayne and Elevate Fort Wayne will work together to identify and grow scalable ventures. The selected ventures and entrepreneurs will help develop business ideas, build competency, and provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to hone their mission, gain financial literacy and gain access to capital.

Scalable Assembly is also designed to engage the entire Greater Fort Wayne entrepreneurial ecosystem, as laid out by the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Strategy, a joint project between Start Fort Wayne and the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, which launched in late 2021. The Scalable Assembly program will also partner with organizations like the Northeast Indiana Innovation Collaborative (NIIC), and a variety of area support professionals.  

Now, you might be asking yourself, “What exactly is a scalable venture?”
Dan Swartz is the Executive Director of Start Fort Wayne and its coworking space Atrium.
Don’t worry, Dan Swartz, Executive Director of Start Fort Wayne, says it can be tricky to define, but usually involves some sort of technology– such as software or a new product or device. Typically, these types of ventures have a “TAM” or Total Addressable Market, which is business jargon for a large market to sell to.

For example, companies that sell medical devices, like replacement joints, are often considered scalable ventures because they have created and product that can be sold to a wide audience. People of a wide age range, around the globe, need joint replacements, which means there’s a large target audience for that product.

Swartz also points out that the thinkers, inventors, and creators who typically fall into this category might not identify themselves as entrepreneurs or even have a business plan– but that’s okay, Scalable Assembly is looking for people on all ends of the entrepreneurial spectrum. From people with a full fledge business to a person with an idea, and everything in between Scalable Assembly is ready to help.

“We want to reach you, who isn’t an entrepreneur, and we want you to tell us who you know that should be an entrepreneur,” says he. “Who has an idea? Who is inventing stuff in their garage?”

Swartz says there is a lack of resources in Northeast Indiana for these types of businesses, and while Start Fort Wayne works with all types of entrepreneurs, this program will allow them to target a different audience.
Andie Hines-Lagemann
“We’re excited to partner with northeast Indiana entrepreneur support organizations to further our mission of identifying and nurturing high growth (scalable) companies and getting them the resources they need,”  Andie Hines-Lagemann, Startup Ecosystem Manager Northeast for Elevate Ventures.  

Scalable Assembly is now accepting applications for its first cohort. Entrepreneurs will be notified of acceptance in April, and the first cohort will run until fall. Swartz says even if you’re not sure your business or idea doesn’t fit into their scalable venture criteria, you should apply.

“We’re looking for something specific,” he says, “but we’ll help connect you if you don’t meet the criteria.”
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Brittany Smith.

Brittany Smith is Input Fort Wayne's Managing Editor. Previously she served as Assistant Editor and participated in the College Input Program. She also volunteers for Northeast Indiana Public Radio.