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Photos by Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Mike Fritsch, entrepreneur-in-residence at the Innovation Center, recently was named by Entrepreneur magazine as one of the Best Under the Radar Business Incubators in the U.S.

Local business incubator wins wide accolades

Karl LaPan, right, consults with Janeann Perkins about her business, KeyPoint Training, during a coaching session Wednesday at the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center.

An entrepreneur support organization in Fort Wayne has been honored as one of the nation’s best.

The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center was named a Best Under the Radar Business Incubator by Entrepreneur magazine. The Irvine, Calif.-based monthly publication said it selected the Summit City’s center from a field of more than 1,250 centers nationwide.

The magazine, which has a circulation of 600,000 readers, received assistance from the National Business Incubation Association of Athens, Ohio, in selecting four incubators from across the nation.

Innovation Center entrepreneur-in-residence Mike Fritsch said officials are pleased with the acknowledgment but ironically would like to be a little less under the radar.

“We’re constantly working to create best-in-class programs,” he said of the nonprofit that was formed in 1999. “It’s a real honor to be recognized by our peers. Still, we are working on marketing ourselves better because we need to let people know who we are.”

The Innovation Center is a private-public partnership among the city of Fort Wayne, Allen County, IPFW, Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce and various community stakeholders. The operation provides seed money, free office space, training and related services.

Jasper Welch, president and CEO of Incubation Association, said Fort Wayne business leaders are on the right track.

“We aren’t surprised that Entrepreneur magazine selected Northeast Indiana Innovation Center as one of the four Best Under the Radar Business Incubators,” he said.

Welch credited Innovation Center President and CEO Karl LaPan with guiding an effort that has “a great set of facilities and supporting incubation programs that are getting results.”

The three other incubators that earned the magazine’s praise are High Tech Rochester in West Henrietta, N.Y.; University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program in Orlando; and the Santa Fe Business Incubator in New Mexico.