As an arts entrepreneur, Kurt (26) created SoundWalk–a mobile app that gives listeners an immersive audio experience as they walk through public spaces. Artists compose music or narratives that are geotagged on a map within the app, allowing the listener to experience unique art of various kinds produced for wherever they are. Using the micro-grant, Kurt will be able to fund at least one fictional narrative production, geotagged locally in Fort Wayne.
Stephanie (35) has established a re-employment agency for people who struggle to find a job because of their criminal background or disability. Her agency offers training for individuals to equip them for any workplace, helps them create a working resume, and assists them in finding the right kind of work that fits their skills and personality. With a micro-grant, Stephanie can invest in office equipment and software and fund her rental space.
Megan (30) has created an online natural skin care boutique called Rajean Beauty, specializing in scented shea butters, body oils, and natural sugar and salt scrubs that cater to women of color. Although the products are for pampering, the mission behind the company is to promote the freedom, wellness, and empowerment of women of color by partnering with businesses and organizations with the same focus. With a micro-grant, Megan can invest in web design, licensing, and materials for production.
Inspired by their personal experience and their children, Marna and Susan created innovative weighted products to help anyone and everyone ages two and up cope with an array of issues, from medical to psychological. Their trademarked weighted wearables are designed to help anyone with any type of lifestyle. With the micro-grant, Marna and Susan can market their products more effectively, increasing their sales and exposure.
For the past year and a half, Raul (32) has been working to build his inspirational clothing brand called Change Your Fate. With a background in graphic design, Raul creates designs for his tshirts that share a simple message: take a risk, do your best work, and change your fate. A micro-grant through Fortitude will enable this new company to invest in social media marketing that will grow their exposure and increase sales.
Karly Wolfcale, 17, is adopting an entrepreneurial approach to finding a new pet through an innovative app she calls PETinder. The app will also be a platform to sell products or advertising. Karly’s potential for success has already been recognized with a 5th place award out of 50 entries in the statewide DECA competition. The Fortitude Fund grant enables building out the software and content.
Dr. Melanie Watson is the inventor of a handheld biotech hematology device that performs blood cell analyses in real- time when linked to a smartphone. What drives this Trine University professor of biomedical engineering is the potential to significantly decrease hospital-acquired illnesses and increase the ease of blood testing for the chronically ill. With the Fortitude Fund grant, Blaire Biomedical is seeking a provisional patent.
Mitchell Skees, 18, is helping smaller restaurants compete with the large chains through his mobile ordering company 3B Apps, which he began when he was 16. His younger brother Connor heads technical development and programming. Mitchell is excited about plugging into a community of entrepreneurs and mentors. With the Fortitude Fund grant, Mitchell is building out his platform for Web and Android use.
Peyton Schrock, 18, is excited about Fortitude Fund mentors as he capitalizes on the Farm-to-Table trend. Peyton plans to supply farm customers with baby chicks and feed, then return with a mobile processing unit and onsite service to provide butcher fresh chicken, freezer-ready and vacuum sealed. Wise beyond his years, this LaGrange County entrepreneur is eager to help other young entrepreneurs with what he has learned.
Jordan Miller, 19, watched his school nurse struggle to put on medical gloves. That’s how Donn-A-Glove was born. Jordan’s device autonomously mounts a pair of gloves and inflates them for the user to insert hands in a quicker and more sanitary way. This 3rd-place winner of Launch LaGrange is excited to join the Fortitude community as he continues to perfect and commercialize his invention.