Famous innovator Steve Jobs once said: “Innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea.”
We agree. That’s why we opened a state-of-the-art innovation space in our downtown Wabash, Indiana headquarters. The space hosts entrepreneurs, changemakers and students building the next big ideas in technology, insurance and business. Members can co-work, network and attend events designed to accelerate their ventures.
“This space is unlike anything local entrepreneurs have seen,” says Parker Beauchamp, INGUARD CEO. “We bring a slice of Silicon Valley, complete with tech and mentorship, right here to Wabash and Northeast Indiana.”
The region agrees. The innovation space’s grand opening on February 28 saw more than 200 attendees from Wabash and surrounding communities. Guests included clients, VIPs and influencers, as well as Manchester University representatives, students and professors. Also in attendance were graduates of the CO.STARTERS entrepreneurship program run by the Economic Development Group of Wabash County.
Manchester University and the Economic Development Group are strategic partners in the effort, contributing invaluable expertise, time and energy to help the space’s members accelerate their ventures.
The space itself features a stunning modern design, decor engineered to spark creativity and the perfect layout to get ambitious entrepreneurs in the zone. Members receive 24/7 access to the space, so they can work any time of day or night when inspiration strikes. The space, which holds 30-40 people, is free to join.
Co-working space members enjoy access to mentors from Manchester’s faculty, formal entrepreneurship classes taught by local businesspeople and informal lunch-and-learns with inspiring individuals. The full schedule of programs at the space includes:
- Manchester University College of Business Entrepreneurship Class — The class uses the innovation space to collaborate with local and regional clients to develop their current businesses and create new startups.
- CO.STARTERS — A nine-week course taught by regional business leaders about the basics of creating and maintaining a successful startup takes place here.
- Speaker Programs — The space hosts regional and national thought leaders having inspiring TEDx-style conversations.
- Co-Working — Local individuals who are members use the space 24/7 to work remotely.
- Creative Collisions — The space hosts weekly lunches for local organizations and businesses to collide, network and leverage channels in the region.
- Fellowships — Sponsored fellowships use the space to collaborate and launch ideas.
- Startup and Business Consulting — Advice for entrepreneurs and businesspeople from local experts.
- More — At any given time, the space might host even more exciting initiatives, such as incentivized business competitions, venture clubs and the Little INGUARDIAN Lemonade Stand.
“We just hosted Manchester University professor Joe Messer’s entrepreneurship class, which helped launch several startups in 2016 alone,” Beauchamp says. “The co-working space is somewhere that entrepreneurs and students can meet, collaborate and accelerate their ideas.”
The space is just the beginning of a larger economic revitalization effort. INGUARD sees the space becoming a fully functional incubator and accelerator that connects startups with investors.
These activities will take place in tandem with other INGUARD regional economic programs, like our sponsorship of the 13-24 Drive In and the Honeywell Foundation’s renovation work on the historic Eagles Theatre.
“Wabash has always been a city of self-starters and makers,” says Beauchamp. “It’s the perfect place for an innovation space that accelerates big ideas, big dreams and big economic wins.”
INGUARD’s innovation space is open to people of any age with a big idea. Innovate at INGUARD: Engage here to become a member or follow the space’s programs.