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Fort Wayne, Ind. – The Summit City Entrepreneur and Enterprise District (SEED) recently graduated its 20th Build Institute Entrepreneur Education class.

The 14 new companies are launching or relaunching their businesses in the areas of employment for healthcare agencies, adult residential care, childcare centers, housing support for low-income households, and business counseling. The retail businesses include a bookstore, specialty gifts, beauty supply, barber shop, and jewelry. Online businesses include travel and hospitality, and handcrafted wood décor.

“By the end of May, we will have graduated 200 people from Build in the first two years of the program,” said SEED’s Director Trois Hart. “With the vast majority of the graduates as women and people of color, we are positively impacting the future of entrepreneurship in Northeast Indiana.”

Women and people of color are historically underrepresented as business owners. SEED secured the Build Institute of Detroit curriculum in 2019 because the organization has documented success in attracting these populations to the program.

“Build Institute's expansion into Fort Wayne has been a resounding success,” said Ernestine Lyons, Economic and Community Development Director for Build Institute of Detroit, Michigan. “We are proud of SEED Fort Wayne’s work to prepare underestimated entrepreneurs with the tools to go above and beyond.”

Build Institute in Fort Wayne is funded through the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Old National Bank, SEED, and the City of Fort Wayne.

Applications are now open for Tuesday classes from 5:30 – 8:30 pm beginning May 18. Those interested in participating should visit www.BuildInstituteFW.com or inquire through This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. A limited number of seats are available.

The Build Institute is a nine-week basic business and project planning course designed for emerging entrepreneurs. Cohorts of up to 14 participants meet for three hours once per week for nine weeks – a total of 27 education and community building hours. Classes are led by trained facilitators and cover the basics of starting a business including; the establishment of an entity, financial literacy, market research, cash flow management, loan types, cost-benefit analyses, and more.

SEED Fort Wayne is a quasi-government 501c(3) established for redevelopment of the Summit City Entrepreneur and Enterprise District (SEED). In partnership with the City of Fort Wayne, the organization operates the SEED Enterprise Center at 1830 Wayne Trace as incubation space to help entrepreneurs start and scale their businesses. SEED also leads three programs that support small business startups; Build Institute Fort Wayne, Summit City Match, and tax incentives for businesses locating in and growing in the SEED. For more information on these programs visit www.SEEDfw.org or inquire through This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..