Eric Doden announces plans for entrepreneur-recruitment initiative

Eric Doden campaign sign.

Press release from the Eric Doden for Mayor campaign:

Eric Doden announces plans for entrepreneur-recruitment initiative
Goal: Attract up to 1,000 entrepreneurs to city

Calling for a rebirth of entrepreneurial activity in Fort Wayne, Eric Doden today unveiled details of his initiative to attract 1,000 entrepreneurs to the city in less than a decade, a key facet of his plan for creating jobs and modernizing Fort Wayne’s economy.

Through three key components, Doden’s initiative is designed to transform Fort Wayne’s economic future by increasing its wage and tax base through the creation of high-paying jobs and by attracting the kinds of businesses best-suited for a global, 21st-century economy. The three components of his plan to attract 1,000 entrepreneurs to Fort Wayne are:

[list type=”BW”]
[li] Encouraging the formation of dedicated angel investment funds to provide crucial seed capital for new businesses in Fort Wayne[/li]
[li] Establishing an annual Fort Wayne business-plan competition, in which aspiring entrepreneurs would present business plans to local private-equity funds[/li]
[li] Implementing an aggressive marketing and recruitment plan directed toward entrepreneurial students attending local and regional university campuses encouraging them to locate and pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions in Fort Wayne[/li]

“One of our hallmarks as a city has been our tradition of innovation and entrepreneurialism, and this plan sets us on a path toward a new generation of business leaders in Fort Wayne,” Doden said. “Companies like Sweetwater, Vera Bradley, Fort Wayne Metals—these are companies that began here, created hundreds of high-paying jobs and remain loyal to their home. My administration will work to create the kind of economic climate that facilitates the creation of the new breed of these innovative companies.”

“As a young entrepreneur, one word comes to mind when I think of Eric’s plan and vision: opportunity,” Jamal Robinson, a Fort Wayne entrepreneur, IPFW student and member of Doden’s mayoral committee, said. “Creating opportunities for our city to nurture innovation and grow and retain our talent is an essential building block to long-term success. A better future for Fort Wayne begins with better opportunities, and I believe that’s what Eric’s plan will help facilitate and achieve.”

Doden’s own successful experience in the world of business at Ambassador Steel and private equity at Ambassador Enterprises uniquely qualifies him for facing head-on the challenges Fort Wayne’s economy faces, he said.

“I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so I understand firsthand the unique challenges they face and specific circumstance they need to survive and thrive,” Doden continued. “We need a mayor who can serve as our city’s chief marketing officer, and part of that duty is marketing our city to people who can build and grow businesses here and bring quality, high-paying jobs to Fort Wayne.”


About Eric Doden
For the past two-plus years, Doden has served as the director of investments at Ambassador Enterprises, a Fort Wayne-based consulting, investment and private equity firm. Prior to joining Ambassador Enterprises, he led the distribution and fabrication arms of Ambassador Steel Corporation.

Doden graduated from Valparaiso University School of Law and from Hillsdale College with majors in business finance and Christian Studies. He is a member of the Fort Wayne Chapter of Executive Forums, a current board member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and a former board member of his local church. He and his wife, Maci, a Fort Wayne attorney, have been married for 12 years and have 4 children. Learn more at

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  1. As someone who is currently living in Atlanta, but trying to get back to Fort Wayne, and in the technology startup / entrepreneurial field – I whole heartedly support this initiative.


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