Three “Co”s

Since I last wrote here back in October (wow, has it been that long?), a lot has changed here in the Fort.  Let me tell you about three “Co”s that I’m excited to see happening in Fort Wayne.

  1. Co.Starters at Artlink’s Fort Wayne Arts Incubator
  2. Co Work Fort Wayne
  3. Coder Dojo

Co.Starters at the Fort Wayne Arts Incubator

I have the pleasure of facilitating the first cohort of Co.Starters in Fort Wayne.  Artlink licensed the program from the Chattanooga company to use in the newly formed Arts Incubator.

CoStarters Fort Wayne

Arts Incubator Co.Starters cohort digging in one day one.

Over 1,000 entrepreneurs across the nation have built business models and graduated from this program, producing ventures with over 2,000 jobs.  Now there are 11 more entrepreneurs a few weeks from graduation – right here in Fort Wayne.

They are a diverse group of creatives.  Their ventures include a craft beer operation, fine art, digital media marketing, retail gallery or store art, musical performing art, product photography, and food venture.  They are intensely engaged in the process of thinking through a business model – and, at the same time, staying true to their art.

It is enormously gratifying to see Artlink step up and provide a venue for creatives here to make a living with their art.  Kudos to Rebecca Stockert and Deb Washler.  I thank them for giving me the opportunity to facilitate this group.  If you’ve visited my about.me page, you’ve noticed that I am interested in growing both the entrepreneur and arts communities here.  This program touches on both goals!

 Co Work Fort Wayne

Some good people, led by Dave Sanders and Chad Clabaugh, have banded together to create a coworking space with a great location and an even better view.  Located in the Murphy Building right across the street from Pint and Slice and the Dash In, Co Work Fort Wayne sits on the 5th floor overlooking Calhoun Street.  It is a shared-cost space.  Right now $125 will buy you a monthly table space with some amenities, and the cost will go down as more member join.

Co Work Fort WayneOne of Co Work Fort Wayne’s conference rooms overlooking downtown.

Coder Dojo

Last year, Noel Knox got the idea to start an after-school coding program for kids.  Well, actually his son may have had the idea – or at least was the first intended beneficiary.

Coder Dojo

February Coder Dojo Meeting

That idea turned into the Fort Wayne Coder Dojo.  It started small, with just a few kids showing up to code together for a couple of hours on a Saturday at the Indiana Tech computer science lab (thanks to Brian Lewandowski).  The group grew, affiliated formally with the Coder Dojo global network, and now includes a diverse group meeting twice a month with kids working on everything from Minecraft, robotics, Arduino, MaKey MaKey, web apps, and more.

Three new initiatives that add a lot to Fort Wayne entrepreneurial and arts cultures.  Go check them out!