Recently the City of Fort Wayne asked for ideas for investing / spending a $75 million legacy windfall coming from the Fort Wayne Community Trust and City Light Lease Settlement funds. We didn’t lack suggestions, some VERY good (cough high speed rail cough) and others a bit humorous.
I suggested starting a seed fund for ventures in both technology and the arts, and even though it has scored (so far) in 52nd place in the voting, I’d like to explain why I made the suggestion.
I believe that we should grow the tech community here in Fort Wayne. I see no reason why we can’t develop a tech community and culture that is as effective as anywhere else – the Valley, Boulder, Austin, Seattle, Boston, you name it. We are as well equipped here as anywhere to make web apps, mobile apps, game apps, and related software or webware. We have the talented young technologists, growing up in our schools and colleges or recently graduated. These ventures don’t cost the millions that our prior generation’s rust belt manufacturing ventures needed for startup.
But one thing we suffer from is the the perception of lacking a culture to support young tech geeks. That’s why it is important to invest both in tech ventures AND arts ventures!
By the way, the arts culture is here, if you look! Like the tech area, we also have lots of talented young artists, growing up in our schools and colleges or recently graduated. If you attended Drop Your Avant Garde downtown recently, you couldn’t help but notice the crowd. In fact, you had to nearly fight your way through the crowd!
I’m just saying that we need to bring it to the forefront and then grow it some more.
Tech geeks need art geeks. We need great tech entrepreneurs, and they need great places to go and be entertained. We need an arts community that packs downtown (or some neighborhood) EVERY night, just like at Drop Your Avant Garde.
Are you with me?