Entrepreneurial competition offering $150K to build business in southeast Fort Wayne

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – “The vision that was birthed nearly a year-and-a half ago, it’s finally starting to come to fruition.”

In a gathering on Fort Wayne’s southeast side Friday morning, City Councilwoman Sharon Tucker announced her new program, Project Activate Southeast (P.A.S.E) Fort Wayne, which will aim to break down barriers that are slowing development in the area.

After winning the 6th District seat, Tucker said her goal was to bring development, access, and opportunity to the area she represents. Tucker said she’s spent time driving around the city’s southeast side to find out how to answer the outcry of services needed, and how to bring positive development to the area.

“The question that came to me was, ‘What is the challenge? What is the struggle that we see?'” Councilwoman Tucker said. “Most of the time, young entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs that are looking to change and move new locations don’t have access. Access is the key word for the southeast. There is lack of access to the quality funds to the services that they need, and the ability to afford those services, because of the lack of access, we tend to see a lack of development.”

Tucker said P.A.S.E is designed to change that.

P.A.S.E is a pitch competition that will allow qualified entrepreneurs to showcase their business plans for local judges. The program also offers workshops and training preparation.

“I don’t want a barrier to access to be the fact that a new company or a new entrepreneur not apply because they don’t have a business plan. Let me help you get that business plan together. Let the team that I pulled together with me help you get your marketing budget together, let me help you get all of the education and tools that you need, so when October 1st comes along you have a pitch to apply.”

“Economic development is a critical engine because it has jobs, it has the ability to attract more businesses,” said Councilman At-Large Glynn Hines. “Most recently Scott Glaze with Fort Wayne Metals actually opened a factory over here to appeal to employees that live southeast. I think the momentum is beginning to build.”

The first step of the program is the educational piece, where applications will be accepted from May 15 to June 15. Once the application period is open, there will be about eight weeks of educational training to help applicants get established.

“We also partnered with services providers, CPA firms, Carlson Legal is going to provide legal services,” Tucker said. “We partnered with Ferguson and they are going to provide marketing services at a reduce cost.”

Step two will be the pitch competition. P.A.S.E.. is in partnership with Crossroads, which operates the largest pitch competition in Indiana. Crossroads will host the competition.

“Crossroads is proud to power the new P.A.S.E. Fort Wayne pitch competition and support southeast Fort Wayne’s startup ecosystem” stated Andy Lehman. “Fort Wayne has all the assets startups need to thrive, and we’re expecting to hear some exciting, innovative pitches from Hoosier entrepreneurs.”

The winner of the competition will win up to $150,000. Tucker explained that the team decided to only have one winner, so all of the resources can be focused on that individual. The application process starts May 15 and the only qualification is that the entrepreneur locate its brick and mortar in the southeast side of the city.

For more information about PASE, click here.

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