The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has awarded a $195,000 grant to Grow Wabash County. The nonprofit says the funding will support various entrepreneurship programs throughout the county.
One of the programs to receive grant funding is Innovate @ INGUARD, an innovation space in downtown Wabash that aims to provide various services to entrepreneurs in Wabash County and northeast Indiana. The grant will also be used with regional stakeholders to implement primary and secondary entrepreneurship education at Wabash City Schools through the Uncharted Learning curriculum.
Grow Wabash County says grant funds will also support Business in a Box starter kits to select entrepreneurs, expand the CO.STARTERS entrepreneurial support program, purchase a 3D printer for prototyping, and create a local pitch competition to help participants from area schools prepare for the state’s Innovate WithIN competition.
"To continue cultivating Indiana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, we’re committed to increasing our support and resources to entrepreneurs while encouraging students to develop innovative ideas from an early age through programs like Innovate WithIN," said Aaron Vigil-Martinez, vice president of small business and entrepreneurship at the IEDC. “We’re excited to support Grow Wabash County, INGUARD, and Wabash City Schools as they continue to foster an innovation-focused environment in northeast Indiana and help instill an entrepreneurial spirit among our leaders of tomorrow."
As part of the Uncharted Learning curriculum, Wabash City Schools plans to launch an after school entrepreneurship club, called FreshINCedu, at O.J. Neighbors Elementary School. Wabash Middle School plans to enroll all eighth graders in a nine-week introduction to entrepreneurship course, while Wabash High School will enroll 15 students in the INCubatoredu program. All groups will submit a pitch proposal to the Innovate WithIN competition.
"Wabash City Schools prides itself on offering a relevant education for its students," said Jason Callahan, superintendent of WCS. "No class provides relevance like INCubatoredu. Once students understand that they have a real opportunity to create an authentic business beyond class, their engagement level is off the charts. We believe this program will not only teach students an entrepreneurial mindset, we believe it has the potential to develop and retain local talent and to drive local economic development efforts."