Today, Fort Wayne City Councilwoman Sharon Tucker announced Project Activate SouthEast Fort Wayne (PASE) which is an entrepreneurial pitch competition.
Fort Wayne City Councilwoman Sharon Tucker announces exciting entrepreneurial pitch competition
Fort Wayne, Indiana (May 14, 2021) – Fort Wayne City Councilwoman Sharon Tucker unveiled Project Activate SouthEast (PASE) Fort Wayne, an innovative new program designed to engage and empower entrepreneurs to locate their service-based businesses in the Southeast quadrant of the city.
The PASE Fort Wayne program will feature two components: workshops and training preparation and then a formal business pitch. Entrepreneurs interested in applying to PASE must complete an entrepreneurial training program such as The BUILD Institute, a SEED program, Kauffman FastTrac, or the Breakthrough Program offered through the NIIC, or have proof of completing such a program. In addition to these programs there will be workshops throughout the summer designed to offer additional business plan writing assistance.
For the pitch competition, PASE is partnering with Bloomington-based Crossroads at The Mill to develop a custom program; Crossroads is Indiana’s largest annual business pitch competition.
The PASE pitch competition will allow qualified entrepreneurs to showcase their business plans for local judges. The selected business will receive an award of up to $150,000 in business wrap-around services. These services will be provided in-kind or at a deep discount by local businesses invested in cultivating new talent in Southeast Fort Wayne. The only requirement for participating in the competition is that the selected party must locate their brick-and-mortar business in the Southeast quadrant of the city and commit to that location for three years.
The Tim and Libby Ash Family Foundation will serve as the title sponsor of the pitch competition, which will be held in December. This is an unprecedented commitment by a local organization to building entrepreneurship in Southeast Fort Wayne. The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne will act as the fiscal agent for the award, further demonstrating their commitment to community building and engagement. The City of Fort Wayne is providing significant guidance and financial support. The planning committee around this event consists of experts in entrepreneurship, economic development, fundraising, and stakeholder engagement.
“There is so much demand for service businesses in Southeast Fort Wayne,” said Councilwoman Tucker. “Residents here want places to go to get a cup of coffee, purchase products, and interact with each other. This is a great opportunity for a person to build a business that will serve the entire community and draw people Southeast.
“There are many great ideas in the community that just need a little help to thrive,” she continued. “If we are able to connect a business to the appropriate resources, we can ensure that the residents of Southeast Fort Wayne have access to services and a home-grown, community business will be successful.”
Applications to begin the education portion will open to the public May 15 and be available online. Councilwoman Tucker believes that education is integral to a successful business and ensures that all entrepreneurs get a good start in the business world.
“The city of Fort Wayne is focused on expanding access to business services for entrepreneurs and Southeast residents,” explained Andrea Robinson, Economic Development Administrator for the City of Fort Wayne. “It is imperative that we invest in the community if we want it to grow, and the best single source of new businesses are those that are developed in Fort Wayne and located in Fort Wayne. We’re excited to see what business ideas come out of this process.”
In addition to seeking applicants for the program, Councilwoman Tucker continues to seek business partners for the program who would like to be a part of helping PASE entrepreneurs succeed. If a business would like to partner with PASE, they should reach out to Councilwoman Tucker at Sharon.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information can be found here: www.fwcommunitydevelopment.org/PASE.
Tim Ash, Ash Brokerage
The Tim and Libby Ash Family Foundation is proud to be the title sponsor of Project Activate Southeast, an initiative presented by Councilwoman Sharon Tucker. Starting a business is hard work and requires dedication, enthusiasm, and resources, beyond a viable product. Councilwoman Tucker, in working with local entrepreneurs, has identified that by providing access to business wrap-around services, the Fort Wayne business community can support new businesses. This will improve the entrepreneurial culture and assist in the possibility of success for that new business. The development of new business in Fort Wayne is good for all residents and the business community and I am excited to see what pitches will be presented later this year, and what entrepreneurs come through the education portion.
Brad Little, The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne
The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne is pleased to partner with Councilwoman Sharon Tucker and Project Activate Southeast as the fiscal agent of this program. The idea behind P.A.S.E. is simple – promote entrepreneurship on the Southeast side of Fort Wayne. We know that entrepreneurialism and creativity is the lifeline of a thriving and prospering community but only if there is opportunity. By addressing the needs of this specific part of our community and creating a way for good ideas to be nurtured and brought to life, the entirety of Allen County will see growth, positive change, and improved quality of life. To advance that notion, the Community Foundation is also excited and proud to be involved as a sponsor by supporting the pitch and business plan portion of PASE to identify and grow a great business idea that will call Southeast Fort Wayne home.
Andy Lehman, Head of Accelerator Programming, The Mill
Crossroads is proud to power the new P.A.S.E. Fort Wayne pitch competition and support southeast Fort Wayne’s startup ecosystem. Fort Wayne has all the assets startups need to thrive, and we’re expecting to hear some exciting, innovative pitches from Hoosier entrepreneurs.
P.A.S.E. Fort Wayne is powered by Crossroads, one of Indiana’s biggest pitch competitions. Founded in 2017 by The Mill, Bloomington’s nonprofit center for entrepreneurship, the flagship Crossroads Pitch Competition attracts dozens of diverse entrepreneurs from every corner of Indiana and is backed by a broad network of venture firms, entrepreneurs, investors, and businesses. Crossroads Collegiate spotlights student entrepreneurs from Indiana universities and colleges. In 2021, The Mill launched the Crossroads Platform to support regional pitch competitions, showcase Indiana’s entrepreneurial talent, and fuel innovation across the state. The Mill’s mission is to help launch and accelerate startups, and its vision is to become Indiana’s center of gravity for entrepreneurship.
About Sharon Tucker
Councilwoman Sharon Tucker has been serving the insurance community in multiple professional roles for more than 30 years. A graduate of Indiana Tech, she holds two Bachelors of Science degrees in Management and Human Resources.
Sharon’s civic engagement is extensive, having served as the treasurer for the Allen County Democratic Party for five years and as vice chair in 2016. Sharon was elected as 1st District Councilwoman on the Allen County Council in 2014 and was re-elected to a second term in 2018. While on County Council, she was the only female, African American, and Democrat serving at the time. Sharon then ran for the 6th District City Council seat in 2019 and won, wherein she continues to make her mark in local politics as the first African American woman to hold this seat.
Finally, Councilwoman Tucker makes time for running a successful e-Commerce business and YouTube Channel — ‘Classy Shay Design’s’ — where she offers affordable craft supplies for do-it-yourself projects as well as custom gifts. Sharon also relishes time with her family and friends.
About Crossroads by The Mill: P.A.S.E. Fort Wayne is powered by Crossroads, one of Indiana’s biggest pitch competitions. Founded in 2017 by The Mill, Bloomington’s nonprofit center for entrepreneurship, the flagship Crossroads Pitch Competition attracts dozens of diverse entrepreneurs from every corner of Indiana and is backed by a broad network of venture firms, entrepreneurs, investors, and businesses. Crossroads Collegiate spotlights student entrepreneurs from Indiana universities and colleges. In 2021, The Mill launched the Crossroads Platform to support regional pitch competitions, showcase Indiana’s entrepreneurial talent, and fuel innovation across the state. The Mill’s mission is to help launch and accelerate startups, and its vision is to become Indiana’s center of gravity for entrepreneurship. Competitors are judged by vetted and respected panels of 30-plus Indiana entrepreneurs and investors. Over 70% of Crossroads startups touted a woman or minority founder. Over 50% of judges have been women or minorities.