Building an Ecosystem for Entrepreneurial Success

Wabash County has become a hotbed for small business development over the past few years. Grow Wabash County has helped to cultivate a nurturing environment to help entrepreneurs begin the process of making their ideas a reality as well as help current business owners take a look at their current operations and find ways to grow, change or maximize their profits.

We provide access to a variety of resources, programs and organizations to help the Wabash County business community, at any stage, thrive.

Innovate WithIN State Competition

Applications are OPEN for the 2021 Innovate WithIN State pitch competition!

Apply Here

Business submissions will be accepted from Jan. 1 - Feb. 28.

Innovate WithIN™ Participant Rules

· The competition is open to all high school students in the state of Indiana.

· Students can work in teams of 1-3, but all team members must be from the same region.

· The venture must include a recurring revenue model demonstrating that it is self-sustaining.

· The venture can be for a product, service, platform, component, or system.

· Teams moving beyond the first round must demonstrate that thorough customer validation has been completed.


Wabash County Pitch Competition - INnovate Wabash County

REGISTER TODAY for the 2021 INnovate Wabash County Pitch Competition!

Wabash County High School students are invited to compete in the 2020 INnovate Wabash County (presented by INGUARD) competition. INnovate Wabash County is a county-wide shark tank style competition for Wabash County high school students.

This competition will be held on April 28, 2021 at the Eagles Theatre. High school students are encouraged to walk through the entrepreneurial ecosystem through programming, pitching and pathways to nurture the next generation of innovators. Participants can be in groups of 1-3 students and participants will compete for a chance to win cash prizes, scholarships, and other prizes.


Participant Rules

· Students are encouraged to apply for the state Innovate WithIN competition.

· The competition is open to all high school students in Wabash County.

· Students can work in teams of 1-3 people.

· The venture can be for a product, service, platform, component, or system.


CO.STARTERS Business Workshops

Grow Wabash County has worked closely with the CO.STARTERS program to help bring impactful, engaging workshops for both aspiring entrepreneurs and existing business owners.

CO.STARTERS is a nationally recognized program that equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the insights relationships and tools needed to turn ideas into action and turn a passion into a sustainable and thriving endeavor. The class is designed to help entrepreneurs as well as existing businesses that want to grow their business while learning from successful entrepreneurs and community leaders about what it takes to launch and run a successful business.

Are you interested in adding more tools to help your business thrive and grow? Click here to register for the CO.STARTERS Wait List to stay up to date on upcoming locally-organized workshops based on the CO.STARTERS curriculum.

CO.STARTERS Rebuild: Returning to business after a disaster.

CO.STARTERS Rebuild is designed for existing businesses in operation. The program is intended for early or small-stage businesses from any industry or market, including "solopreneurs" or freelancers.
This virtual, live-facilitated, 10-week program will help you refocus your business, stabilize it, and build toward long-term recovery. Working with a dedicated group

of like-minded peers and experienced professionals from around the country, you will gain a better understanding of the various topics relevant to the current COVID-19 challenges, the complex impacts in can and will have on your business and how to face these challenges head on to fortify your business.

Check the CO.STARTERS Rebuild website for future program dates!

CO.STARTERS Core: First steps and planning process for entrepreneurs.

A foundational, three-month, cohort-based program that aims at providing aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools they need to turn their ideas into action.

In collaboration with community partners such as INGUARD and the Community Foundation of Wabash County, Grow Wabash County periodically organizes CO.STARTERS Core workshops to help aspiring entrepreneurs take their big ideas and break it down into the steps needed to take to launch the business. Topics covered may include marketing, strategic planning, acquiring funding and the legal and certifications requirements to ensure your business is operating properly and above board.

Click here to register for the CO.STARTERS Wait List to stay up to date on upcoming locally-organized workshops like this based on the CO.STARTERS curriculum.


CO.STARTERS for Causes: Non-Profit Strategic Planning Course

CO.STARTERS for Causes is a social entrepreneurial training program for nonprofits that aims to help organizations become self-sustaining and even thrive. Not-for-profits and people on a mission to make an impact in our community are encouraged to attend. CO.STARTERS for Causes is a nine-week program that helps individuals put ideas into action, turning a passion for bettering the community into a sustainable and thriving endeavor.

If you have a new idea for a project, nonprofit, or socially minded business or you are an existing organization looking to become more sustainable or launch a new program - CO.STARTERS for Causes is for you. The only real prerequisites are (1) having an idea you're ready, willing, and excited to share and pursue and (2) a willingness to study, shape, and fine-tune that idea in a supportive, collaborative, and welcoming environment.

The next cohort is in the works and will run one evening a week for nine weeks at INNOVATE at INGUARD located at 231 W Canal St, Wabash, IN 46992. The cost for the course is $300 to cover cost of materials but do not let limited funds dissuade you as financial grants may be available.

Click here to register for the CO.STARTERS Wait List to stay up to date on upcoming locally-organized workshops like this based on the CO.STARTERS curriculum.



Receive Professional Business Advice for FREE

Thinking of starting a small business? Own a small business and want to grow? Want to improve your marketing?  The Purdue University Fort Wayne Division of Continuing Studies has partnered with The Small Business Development offer you free consultations, practical advice, and workshops to help you reach the short- and long-term goals of your small business hosted right here in Wabash County at the Grow Wabash County office.

Sign up today for a free, confidential one-on-one business consulting session with one of our SBA Business Advisors! Contact Wes Shie - to set up an appointment. 


SCORE Mentoring: Free & Confidential Business Advice

Grow Wabash County can help connect you with a local SCORE mentor to help you help you start and grow your business through free and confidential business advice online and in person.

SCORE is the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, with more than 10,000 volunteers in 300 chapters. As a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), SCORE has helped more than 10 million entrepreneurs through mentoring, workshops and educational resources since 1964.

SCORE has been mentoring new and existing businesses for over 40 years and has a network of over 13,000 volunteers who donate their time to help entrepreneurs. As highly successful and experienced business professionals and entrepreneurs, SCORE mentors deliver valuable, timely, and practical advice. Whether you are a start-up or an existing business, our mentors will help you and your business open new markets, reach new customers, and achieve new goals.

Find out more about SCORE HERE.


INNOVATE at INGUARD's Co-Working Space

INGUARD Insurance in collaboration Manchester University and Grow Wabash County opened the county’s first collaborative co-workspace in February 2017. Located at the INGUARD headquarters in downtown Wabash, the workspace will provide students and entrepreneurs with a state-of-the-art workspace to help them develop and grow their businesses.

The innovation space is loaded with all the tech and amenities you need to fuel your next big idea—and it’s open 24/7 so you can use it whenever inspiration strikes. Just show up, let yourself in and get to work alongside local entrepreneurs, business people and high-performing students. The space features a stunning modern design, engineered to spark maximum creativity and the perfect layout to get you in the zone. Sign up to use the space or find out more information here.