Building an Ecosystem for Entrepreneurial Success

Entrepreneurs and start-ups looking for a place to grow should take a look at Wabash County because exciting things are happening here.

'Business in a Box' program

There's a lot of things a start-up business needs to be successful. Figuring out what those needs are can be half the battle. Maybe you need to navigate the permitting process or need some help getting your branding and marketing up and running. That's where we can help!

Through our Business in a Box program, you can receive up to $3,000 worth of business services for FREE from local professionals who want to help you and your business succeed.

How can you qualify for this Business in a Box?

  • Complete our CO.Starters entrepreneurship course.
  • Create or revise your business plan with a free consultation with a business consultation.
  • Complete and submit this application for approval by the Entrepreneurship Committee.
  • High School Students: Participate in the INnovate Wabash County pitch competition to potential win one of these packages.



Business Advice Comes to You Every 3rd Thurs

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.

Unlimited free consultation is available every 3rd Thursday of the month in our office located at 214 S Wabash Street in downtown Wabash by appointment with a Small Business Development Center advisor.

Schedule your free consulting appointment through Grow Wabash County’s office by calling 260.563.5258 or email.

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.


Wabash County Pitch Competition - INnovate Wabash County

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 29, 2020 at the Honeywell Center in the Ford Theater. 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 complete 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.

Register for INnovate Wabash County:

1. Click here for INnovate Wabash County registration information.

2. Click Register Now.

3. Select Click here to continue your event registration under Not a member?

4. Fill out the form.

5. Click Save Changes.

6. Click Next.

7. Click Next.

8. You will then receive a confirmation email that you registered.

Student Flyer Download

Teacher's Guide Download

Media Partner's Download

Innovate WithIN State Competition

Participants are encouraged to sign up for the state pitch competition for additional chances to practice their business pitch and to win amazing prizes. Register at by February 7, 2020.

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.

Winners will be announced by in late February and will receive an invitation to compete at their respective regional competitions. Feedback from judges will be compiled and returned to each team to encourage them to continue developing their venture. If the students advance, they will move to regional pitch competition in Fort Wayne early March. Finalists from each regional competition will advance to a state competition held in April.

Learn more about preparing here:


CO.STARTERS Entrepreneur Classes

Grow Wabash County along with Manchester University and INGUARD are pleased to announce they are gearing up for the third cohort of CO.STARTERS entrepreneurship classes made possible through a grant from the Community Foundation of Wabash County.

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.

The next cohort begins soon and runs 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.

Email to get on wait-list for the next class:


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.

Email to get on wait-list for the next class: