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FWIS: $1,000 Grant for Entrepreneurs

By August 17, 2018No Comments

$1,000 Grant for Entrepreneurs


July 28, 2018


Over the next three years, the Fortitude Fund will bestow a micro-grant worth $1,000 to 200 entrepreneurs across the 11-county Northeast Indiana region.  As of the end of June 2018, 16 out of the 50 grants planned have already been gifted.

Four grants were given on the May 3 launch date and 12 recently in one night.  Capture Sports Agency’s Chauntiel Smith (FWIS Issue 7) and Ayesha Forte’-Wright, on behalf of her wife Cicely and their business, Black Seed Vegans (FWIS Issue 4), were recently awarded grants.

Entrepreneurs, for-profit distinctions, need only to apply online on the Fortitude Fund’s website for consideration:

The program has the dual goal of building a diverse community of entrepreneurs and to change the narrative about regional entrepreneurs, according to Fortitude Fund program manager Steve Franks.

“People say it’s all about the money, but that’s not it at all,” Franks said.  “We are looking for the stories that are good to tell, with people that don’t get talked about like they should.”

In addition to the grant, the Fortitude Fund will bolster local entrepreneurs by providing access to mentors through informal “socials,” held quarterly.  The last social, held at Wunderkammer Company, brought together forty-three people.  “They wouldn’t shut up,” Franks said of the event’s atmosphere.” They just kept talking.”

Hit up the calendar at for future get-togethers.  The next social should occur somewhere around mid-to-late July.  Another will happen during Start-Up Week, October 15-19, 2018.

“We view the Fortitude Fund as community first, mentoring second, and money third,” Franks said.  “We’re not a venture capitalist company. We’re not looking for the 1%, we are looking for the 99%. We want to grow everybody.”

The program is funded from donations by elevate northeast Indiana [sic], a regional community partnership of Elevate Ventures out of Indianapolis and local donors spearheaded by the Northeast Regional Partnership in Fort Wayne.

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