(Talk of the Town photo provided)
Above, from left, are EDC Venture Accelerator program participants Brett Facer, Leanne Facer, Miranda Ringel, Corey Jeffries, Laura Richcreek and program manager Steve Franks. Not shown is participant Bill Simpson.
The Whitley County Economic Development Corporation celebrated entrepreneurs at the EDC Venture Accelerator Program graduation last week. The Venture Accelerator program is a 10-week program of business coaching and mentorship to help clients build their business models, plans and business pitches. The program focused specifically on agribusiness and specialty foods businesses, medical technology and "small town downtown businesses" which would support and grow the downtown community in Whitley County.
Last night the EDC wrapped up the third cohort of the program which included: Bill Simpson of Bart's BBQ, Miranda Ringel and Brett and Leanne Facer with Taste of the Town, Corey Jeffries of New Hope Vertical Farm, and Laura Richcreek with Laura's Voice. Each of the graduates shared presentations summarizing their business models and business plans to move forward.
"I'm so thankful to Steve and the EDC for helping me through the next steps to continue growing my business," said graduate Laura Richcreek.
Ringel, Leanne and Brett are working toward gaining a nonprofit status for Taste of the Town, a food and music event, and increasing awareness throughout the community with specific marketing strategies.
Richcreek shared insight on how much her voice over talent business has grown over the past year, where it's headed, and plans for expanding the business. Jeffries shared his plans for a vertical farming product, and how he hopes to provide jobs in the future for veterans. Bart's BBQ was able to "speak" for itself since the event was catered with a lineup of pulled pork sliders, homemade barbecue sauce and blueberry thumbprint cookies. "Working with Steve at the EDC accelerator program really helped me focus on how to expand my BBQ business," said program graduate and owner of Bart's BBQ, Bill Simpson. "I would recommend it to anyone starting a small business."
"We've graduated four more ventures from the Whitley County EDC Venture Accelerator, bringing the total to 12," said Venture Accelerator program manager Steve Franks. "This cohort includes women-owned ventures, an entrepreneur who has already recorded numerous audio books and videos, a venture originally conceived by a local high school student, ventures that want to focus on improving our quality of life downtown and a disabled veteran who has reinvented vertical farming. I am proud of each and every one of them!"
The next Whitley County EDC Venture Accelerator cohort will begin this winter. The EDC is currently accepting applications for the program.
For more information on the program or to apply, contact Steve Franks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 244-5506. Learn more at www.whitleyedc.com.