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The Contenders: Fort Wayne Development

Business, Featured, Social GoodJosh Wickersham
Chalk art displaying pride in the Fort
Chalk art displaying pride in the Fort

Tenacious, collaborative, progressive, and big-hearted. These are all words you’ve probably heard, but perhaps never when describing the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana -- until now. Residents can feel the gaining momentum of change and want the rest of the world to know. And if there's one thing that has become evident, when the people of Fort Wayne want something to happen, they make it happen.

Promenade_Evening
Promenade_Evening

The city is growing, evolving, and becoming more competitive (proof in the promenade). The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership (NEIRP) recently commissioned a study to help the region find a common narrative that can be used on websites and marketing materials to help create a common theme while speaking about the area. Over the course of a couple months, 856 voices were heard, across 10 counties.

While it may not seem especially proactive, it is a necessary step in changing the perception of Northeast Indiana. In order for Fort Wayne to remain competitive on a national level, business owners need to know that an investment here is going to grow and thrive. It’s important for people as a whole to speak about the area as one community, with one voice and a million resources. For more information on the NEIRP Our Story Project, visit NEIndiana.com.

Area leaders gathered to hear Our Story
Area leaders gathered to hear Our Story

Most inspiring of all is that people are already investing. The Regional Opportunities Council (ROC), made up of private and public investors, actively seeks ways to improve Northeast Indiana. In December, the ROC voted to allocate $125,000 to support an entrepreneurial ecosystem to encourage and support new business ventures to help grow the economy. Greater Fort Wayne Inc is a local organization dedicated to gaining a competitive edge. In doing so, they aim to create jobs and develop leaders.

A common goal that every organization in Northeast Indiana has, is to attract talent. Fort Wayne can’t grow alone. In order to be competitive in an ever-changing landscape of technology, agriculture, and industry, the area needs to be able to bring in talent alongside the skilled workers to offer insight and direction to continue to push things forward. Fort Wayne has a lot of desirable facets that make it appealing to young talent and experienced experts alike, but none of this means anything if the message isn’t heard.

Not everyone has $10,000 a year to invest in the community, but there are ways you can get involved. Millennial 2020is group of young adults from the 10 county region that dedicate time and effort to develop, attract, and retain talent in Northeast Indiana. Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana (YLNI) is an organization with similar goals but focuses heavily on community engagement and professional development in an effort to keep our leaders in the area.

The easiest, and possibly most effective, thing you can do is to keep a positive attitude. Don’t get stuck on what Fort Wayne is, but look forward to what it can be. Don’t be afraid to dream big because odds are, someone else shares that dream and will work to help make it a reality.

General Anthony Wayne

General Anthony Wayne