Entrepreneurial Entrepreneurship Teachers – Part 4, Joyce Vogely

If only we had proof (or at least an example) that teaching entrepreneurial skills in Middle School leads to entrepreneurship careers later in life.  Wouldn’t that be cool?

Well, read on!

I had the pleasure last year of being invited into Joyce Vogely’s Summit Middle School classroom.  Summit students were going to be issued laptops.  Joyce saw that as an opportunity to teach a little bit of innovation.

She set up a project where the students designed the procedures for how to store, care for, and keep track of the laptops.  I came into the classroom to help the students do some brainstorming about their project.


I’m pretty sure they had brainstormed before.  Check out how they papered the walls with ideas!  They did a great job, and came up with a number of very clever and thoughtful concepts.

But that is just part of the story.

I got to know Joyce in the first place because she taught two students who just graduated from the Innovation Center’s Student Venture Lab program.  Graham Bredemeyer and Scott BonAmi, co-founders of Roaring Mouse Innovations, were both taught by Joyce.  They later worked together in a Project Lead the Way class, where they cemented a friendship that has resulted in a prospering business.

I say that Joyce helped fuel the fire that is Roaring Mouse.  I know the relationship she has with these guys persists.  Here she is with Scott at the February Jumpstart260 entrepreneur meetup, an event that Scott and Graham are co-hosting along with Ray Angel.

Thank you, Joyce, for inspiring a generation of young entrepreneurs!  I can’t wait to see who else graduates from your classroom to the Fort Wayne startup scene!

Entrepreneurial Entrepreneurship Teachers – Part 1, Riley Johnson

Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure to see some absolutely wonderful teachers in action.  They act entrepreneurial themselves, and as a result they find and cultivate the entrepreneurship in their students!

I have 6 teachers in mind who I already know deserve big kudos for their entrepreneurial work.  Yes, I am going to keep you in suspense for now about who they all are.  Please feel free to nominate your own favorite entrepreneurial teachers in the comments.

First up:  Riley Johnson of Wayne High School’s New Tech Academy.

Riley Johnson dressed for what one student called “Wacky, Tacky Thursday”
Pictured with student Su Su Lwin


I first met Riley a few years ago when a friend invited me to speak to Riley’s New Tech class about student entrepreneurship.  I found a teacher that encourages his students to think for themselves and approach learning entrepreneurially.

I’ve see him and his classes a few times since then.

  1. Once to talk to a digital media class that had a project with commercial possibilities.
  2. Last year, he brought the most students to the Innovation Center’s Youth Entrepreneurship Symposium (YES!) that any school has ever brought.
  3. Two years running to help judge class projects where student teams invent a business concept that brings cultural awareness to our city.  Each year I saw some projects that were thoughtful, bold, and absolutely good enough to commercialize for real.

And that leads me to why I was at New Tech last week.  A few months ago I got a call from Riley.  One of those groups wanted to talk about commercializing their project.  I came out to New Tech, met with them, and encouraged them to apply for the Innovation Center’s Student Venture Lab.  Their application came in, and I did a little research to assure myself that their team could pull off what they want to make – a mobile app for tourism and cultural tourism in Fort Wayne.  An app not just for out of town tourists, but for you and I to discover new wonderful places and events around town.

Meet Alex, Anthony, Su, and Corey – the latest additions to the Student Venture Lab.

Alex Cagle, Anthony Aquino, Su Su Lwin, Corey Mendenhall


We met this week to kick off work on their new venture.  Sometime within the next six months, you are going to be able to use a new mobile app to discover more about our community.

Thanks Riley, for helping bring entrepreneurship out of the classroom and into the community!

Calling all Fort Wayne Entrepreneurs

In case you haven’t heard yet, the next JumpStart260 event is scheduled for Friday March 16 at 7:00 p.m. at Columbia Street West.  My confidential inside sources (cough Graham and Ray cough) tell me that nearly as many people as attended the last meeting have already registered for their FREE tickets.

Go to jumpstart260.com and get your free ticket.  Worried about being under 21?  Don’t.  This room at Columbia Street is open to all ages.  You’ll want to come in the side door (bring your ticket), and you’ll go upstairs to the ALL-AGES-WELCOME meeting room.  No need to be over 21.

This event will be great.  My confidential sources also tell me that there just might be a very cool product release at the event – in addition to some pitches and presentations about alternative funding sources.

I’ll see you there!

Listen to This: My City

Last week I wrote about a ground breaking entrepreneurship event here in Fort Wayne.

Only one week later and I find myself embedding a just-released video showing some great work by a bunch of our young artists (musicians, videographers, audio folks) – in a video that shows some love for our city.

Damn.  This city of Fort Wayne is moving!

Makes me feel proud.

CertiFLYYed, A Better Fort Presents: My City from Kelly Lynch on Vimeo.

Jumpstart260 Brings Fort Wayne Entrepreneurs Together

Hey, what just happened here!?

Yesterday, the newly revived Jumpstart260 filled the upstairs room at 816 Pint and Slice with entrepreneurs.  Yes, you read that right.  Filled.  Entrepreneurs.  Downtown Fort Wayne.  I’m guessing there were 50 people there – I know there were at least that many tickets out.  VERY cool!

Our hosts were two of Fort Wayne’s most enthusiastic young entrepreneurs, Graham Bredemeyer from Roaring Mouse Innovations and PYPline.com and Ray Angel of LaunchNow.co (yes, there is a Jumpstart260 badge on LaunchNow.co), posing here with Seth Bauserman‘s “Shave” (graphite and transfers – on display at Pint and Slice – along with more of Seth’s great work – go check it out).  Although he plays humble and claims to be on the sidelines, I’m pretty sure that Graham’s business partner Scott BonAmi helped make this happen.  And, since Ray was involved, I’d bet that Anita Homco of Cupcakes and Company fame had to be involved in some way.


There were presentations by Ray, by Olivia Fabian of OFabz Swimwear, and by Jordan Ross.  Ray talked about his “F’ups”, the mistakes he has made over the course of a bunch of startups (starting in his high school days).  Great information (and a fun talk).  Olivia presented her swimwear business investor pitch.  Jordan presented his vision for a future product that does to TV what the iPod did for music.  Jordan, a very confident and comfortable presenter, is 14!


All night long – until Pint and Slice closed – there were conversations followed by conversations followed by conversations.  At times it was difficult for Graham to get everyone’s attention to introduce a presenter.



Most everybody posted a card on the social wall – and then connected themselves to the people they knew – or had just met that night.  Check out all of the connections!

By the way, there were some great artists in the room – and that obviously does not include me.  It does, however, include my friend Kate Vaynberg who was visiting us from Moscow, Russia.


Nametags had room for icons that represented your skills.  Marketing, graphic design, business development, programming and web development.  Our resident overachiever, Kevin Mullett, seems to be our renaissance man (next time we need an SEO icon too, right Kev?).

So, why did I feel the Jumpstart260 event was so very cool?  Three main reasons.

  1. It clearly demonstrates that Fort Wayne’s entrepreneurial community has reached a critical mass and has gained some momentum.  This was a entrepreneur-led grass roots effort.  Graham and Ray (with help) made it happen.  It was not led by some economic development entity (although, since I work for one, I must say there is nothing wrong with that).
  2. It was just plain good to see Graham and Ray have a great success. They are good people who want to give back to our community and help it grow.
  3. A lot of the people in the room (including the organizers) are my friends from the Innovation Center – mainly from the BizWiz Meetup or the Student Venture Lab (thanks Graham and Ray for letting me pitch them).  My business partner Gary Coker from SCIGuild was there.

I like this group – a lot.  I bet that you will, too.  Come visit us next month!