ALLEN COUNTY - The Foellinger Foundation has awarded the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center in Fort Wayne nearly $280,000 through the foundation’s Breakthrough Fund. The foundation says the fund was created to support projects that better Allen County and address a social challenge in ways that are feasible, measurable and sustainable. 

In July 2019, a panel of judges selected the NIIC to proceed to the Breakthrough Fund’s Realize Phase, with a full funding recommendation of $279,900. 

The NIIC’s proposed project would encourage and support underdeveloped talent in historically marginalized communities to fully participate in economic prosperity and social well-being through “grassroots” entrepreneurship.

By connecting those in crisis to relevant entrepreneurial resources, officials say the program will aim to break down socio-economic barriers, end poverty and create new opportunities for prosperity. 

“Indiana ranks 47th in the United States in new venture formation. The central problem, in Indiana and the US as a whole, is access and equity in social and economic prosperity by underestimated entrepreneurs and business builders. The NIIC is very excited to partner with local non-profit agencies in lessening the barriers and obstacles for underestimated founders to fully realize their economic and human potential through entrepreneurship. By focusing on creating more connected and fulfilled lives in Allen County, the community’s aspiring and inclusive entrepreneurs will realize the dividends of NIIC’s Breakthrough grant opportunity. We are thankful to the Foellinger Foundation for its investment in this game-changing entrepreneurial approach to shared prosperity,” said Karl LaPan, president and chief executive officer.