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Whitley EDC continues Small Business & Entrepreneurship Initiative

COLUMBIA CITY (March 16, 2011) – The Whitley County EDC today announced the start of its third FastTrac New Ventures business planning workshop , which builds upon the successful launch of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Initiative (SBEI) during 2009-10.

SBEI is led by aerospace and defense industry veteran, Bruce Stach; FastTrac facilitator and owner of Shallot Ventures, Sharon Sallot; and SBDC business advisor Scot Goskowicz, who are now completing business coaching with graduates of the fall 2010 FastTrac New Ventures workshop.

“The EDC’s SBEI business incubation program provides resources for pre-startup, startup and growing businesses to find success in Whitley County,” said Stach, “We have exceeded our initial goals for the program and are now looking toward serving this next group of clients in their entrepreneurial development.”

The latest session of SBEI will again incorporate a unique combination of the Kauffman Institute’s FastTrac New Ventures program and personal business coaching provided by seasoned and experienced business owners over a six+ month timeframe. FastTrac New Ventures is a practical, hands-on business development program designed to help entrepreneurs to fine tune the skills needed to take their businesses to the next level.

“Throughout the country, local programs like SBEI have been helping entrepreneurs turn their ideas into viable businesses, promoting innovation and creating jobs. Rather than relying solely on efforts to attract existing businesses from other locations, the Whitley County EDC recognizes the need to help local residents build new businesses from the ground up and support those already in motion,” said EDC president Alan Tio, “Like many others, I have faith in the ability of Whitley County entrepreneurs to jump-start our economy as we continue to move forward by generating revenue and creating new jobs.”

To date, the EDC’s Small Business & Entrepreneurship Initiative has worked with 16 companies that have created or retained 41 jobs and have secured $2.25 million in new investment. The program was launched in 2009 with a Rural Capacity Grant from the Indiana Office of Community & Rural Affairs, matching funds from the Northeast Indiana Fund and the Whitley County Community Foundation, and in-kind support from the EDC.

The latest FastTrac-based business planning workshop will include representatives of 10 companies focused on business development and strategic planning. Future program enhancements are already being planned in an ongoing effort to support startup and growth stage companies.

For more information on the EDC’s Small Business & Entrepreneurship Initiative, please contact program manager Bruce Stach (bstach@whitleyedc.com; 260-244-5506)

About Whitley County EDC
The Whitley County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is the lead economic development agency in Whitley County, Indiana. The EDC works closely with local, regional, and state partners to support our industry clients’ growth and success. Our mission is to implement a unified economic development effort and to expand employment and business opportunities for the benefit of the people of Whitley County by developing and maintaining cooperation of all individuals, groups, and organizations within the county. The Whitley County EDC was established in 1992 and represents Whitley County, Columbia City, and the Towns of Churubusco, Larwill, and South Whitley. For more information about the EDC, visit www.whitleyedc.com.

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Media Contacts:
Alan Tio (Whitley County EDC) – 260.244.5506
Bruce Stach (Sigma Systems Development LLC) – 260.244-5506

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