We are entrepreneurial talent scouts investing in the Founder and supporting them with community, connections, and money. While we want you to have a great business idea, we are more interested in whether you have the GRIT, GUTS, HEART, and FAITH to succeed as an entrepreneur. If you are this kind of person, we are excited to welcome you into our community and to provide you with support to help you succeed!
What we’re looking for.
The best entrepreneurs see opportunities before others, see innovations that have yet to be made, and ultimately are willing to work harder than the rest of the crowd because they want nothing more than to make their dream a reality.
Grants are available for businesses that will make a significant impact on our region’s quality of life. Through initiatives like Vision 2030 and the Road to One Million, we know that our quality of life is important to talent attraction and retention – and that businesses in our region can have a significant effect. Businesses must be headquartered in Northeast Indiana (Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells, and Whitley county.)
Our $1,000 Grant is just the beginning. Entrepreneurs who show significant growth after receiving our initial grant will be eligible for the $2,500 Grant through the Fortitude Fund and may gain access to additional capital and financial support facilitated by our Regional Director of Entrepreneurship.
We want entrepreneurs with…
Big & Bold Thinking
We look for founders or early-stage ventures that have growth potential. Since we want to move the needle on regional economic growth, we prefer founders who have a plan for growth.
Skin in the Game
Those who are actively engaging their customers (or ideally making sales) or building a product or a prototype. We are much less likely to approve a grant for a founder who is waiting for moneybefore they start doing anything.
We look for founders who engage with the Fortitude Community. That could be by attending Fortitude events, following and being actively engaged in our social media or online community, and more.
We are particularly focused on female entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs of color, rural entrepreneurs, veterans, young entrepreneurs, second-career entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs with disabilities.
ARE YOU READY FOR A FORTITUDE FUND GRANT?
We prefer early-stage Indiana companies with some level of customer engagement that confirms a compelling customer need. Your venture does not need to be fully selling, although that certainly helps, but it should be able to demonstrate that customers have verified a strong need for its product or service.
1. Fill out the application
Let us know a little bit about you and your business, and submit a short video of yourself sharing your experience as an entrepreneur.
2. Get interviewed
We want to meet you! After we’ve received your application, our team will be in touch to conduct a quick 1-on-1 interview with you.
3. Find out if you’ve received a grant
Wait to hear whether or not you are a grant recipient! Either way, you’ll be connected to an awesome network of fellow entrepreneurs to encourage you on your journey.