Entrepreneurship for All

The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center is igniting local entrepreneurship through community engagement.
Jun 3, 2024
Nichole Thomas
Jeffrey Crane
Entrepreneurship for All

For almost 25 years, the NIIC has been a source of innovation. It has established a legacy of stimulating economic growth and fostering entrepreneurship throughout the region. It has always placed a high priority on making entrepreneurship accessible, and equipping business owners with essential resources, training and coaching to ensure success.

Today, the NIIC’s mission hasn’t changed, but now the organization is taking it to the streets — embodying a philosophy of Entrepreneurship for All. Under President and CEO Mike Fritsch, the future-focused approach aims to spread the spirit of local business and entrepreneurship throughout the community, focusing on the underserved that have historically faced barriers in business ownership.

“It’s all about outcomes,” Fritsch explains. “We’re working to make a difference in three areas: the lives of people, existing companies and communities. We want to transform all three of those, and have found that we have to approach them with a ‘How can we help you?’ attitude to be successful.”

Through Entrepreneurship for All, the NIIC is actively expanding its outreach, with coaches in communities like Angola and Wabash bringing essential entrepreneurial services directly to these areas. The NIIC is also intensifying efforts to collaborate with other trusted community organizations to stitch a seamless support network for entrepreneurs. 

“By creating a dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem of support, we weave together a network of trusted partners to ensure every entrepreneur receives the backing they need to achieve their dreams,” Fritsch says. “Our commitment extends to engaging every community with the tools necessary to transform dreams into sustainable success and drive meaningful economic growth where it matters most.”

The local impact of NIIC’s initiatives is apparent in the success stories emerging from the community, like Elizabeth Taylor’s. Her initiative, Mas Mujer, stands out as an example of entrepreneurship fueled by community support and resource availability through NIIC. Mas Mujer began over five years ago in Mexico with the mission to empower women business owners through opportunities to promote their enterprises and grow sales.

When Taylor moved to Fort Wayne in 2021, she brought the concept with her and connected with NIIC. Mas Mujer has significantly expanded its influence, engaging thousands of social-media followers in the region and attracting scores of participants to its events. 

“By engaging directly with the needs and aspirations of these communities, we’re not just fostering businesses,” says Fritsch. “We’re creating confident people and building strong, resilient local economies.” 

Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (NIIC)

Owner(s): President/CEO: Mike Fritsch

Address: 3201 Stellhorn Road, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46815

Phone: (260) 407-6442

Website: niic.net

Email: info@niic.net

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