Nationally Acclaimed Innovation Center Student Venture Incubator Program Expands

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Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (NIIC) accepts three new student ventures and launches new website to kick-off enhanced program.

We invest in the entrepreneurial potential of young people who want to make their own cool jobs of the future. - Karl R. LaPan, NIIC CEO

The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center ( is pleased to announce the expansion of its nationally acclaimed Student Venture Lab program with the acceptance of three new student ventures and the launch or its new Student Venture Lab website ( The new website contains new tools and communications mechanisms to plan and track venture progress.

As part of the NIIC Student Venture Lab program, student companies receive early stage funding investment and office space, as well as business services at the Northeast Indiana Innovation Campus in exchange for a small amount of equity in the student venture in each of three six-month gated phases. Ventures receive one-on-one coaching from Mike Fritsch, the Innovation Center’s Entrepreneur-In-Residence ( and must be invited to advance to the next phase based on progress in the previous phase.

Throughout the three phases of the Student Ventures Lab program, NIIC could invest over $11,500 in business funding and $9,000 in office space and services in each company. At the end of each six month term, each venture demonstrates their product and their customer-validated business model at Demo Day to investors, bankers, and other leaders of the region’s business and technology community.

The three new ventures recently accepted into the program include student companies involved in personalized golf equipment, online teacher-student-administration collaboration tools and innovative public restroom products. The three new companies join six other ventures currently in the program.

“We are very happy to be able to expand this wonderful program,” said Mike Fritsch, NIIC Entrepreneur-In-Residence. “The new website and new collaboration tools will really help expand the program”.

Karl R. LaPan, President and CEO, stated, “We invest in the entrepreneurial potential of young people who want to make their own cool jobs and companies of the future. Now, students can apply on a rolling basis into our program. We encourage young people with ideas to apply. We are accepting spots now for new student ventures.”

NIIC’s Student Venture Lab is made possible by generous contributions from The Lincoln Financial Foundation, iAB Financial Bank, The Edward M. & Mary McCrea Wilson Foundation, and private individual & corporate donors. Any future proceeds from NIIC’s equity investments in Student Venture Lab ventures will be reinvested in support of the mission to grow the next generation of student entrepreneurial leaders. Interested in applying for an investment in your student venture or business? Contact Mike Fritsch for more information.

Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (NIIC) - NIIC is a non-profit, community-based incubator and entrepreneurial resource center that assists in the growth and development of technology-based companies in Northeast Indiana. For more information, contact the NIIC Entrepreneur-In-Residence, Mike Fritsch at 260-407-1754 or mfritsch(at)niic(dot)net.

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Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO

Michael Fritsch, Entrepreneur-in-Residence
Northeast Indiana Innovation Center
since: 04/2013
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