Believe in Your Business (BIYB)

Practicing entrepreneurial skills at Pave the Path

Practicing entrepreneurial skills at Pave the Path

Pitching their healthcare business venture

Pitching their healthcare business venture

Believe in Your Business helps high school students to learn, practice, and grow their entrepreneurial skills.  We are creating a pipeline of young entrepreneurs prepared to take their place as business leaders in their respective Northeast Indiana communities.

Since 2013, we have worked with hundreds of high schools students in various Northeast Indiana counties, providing mentorship, support, encouragement, and sometimes even seed capital.

How We Got Started

Concept meeting with Riley Johnson, Steve Franks and Jamal Robinson on August 6, 2012 at New Tech Academy.

Concept meeting with Riley Johnson, Steve Franks and Jamal Robinson on August 6, 2012 at New Tech Academy.

  • 2013: Believe in Your Business began as a project in New Tech Academy (located at Wayne High School in Fort Wayne, IN). Working with teacher Riley Johnson, we facilitated a classroom business plan competition and provided $500 seed capital to two winners.

  • 2014: New Tech Academy teacher Todd Roberts (now a BIAD board member) took the lead after Riley Johnson accepted the Principal position at Napa New Tech High School, expanding on Believe In Your Business.

  • 2015 - 2016: While continuing to mentor in the classroom at New Tech Academy, we expanded our high school competition to the entire Northeast Indiana region. Three student ventures from three different counties were seeded, and over 100 student entrepreneurs were engaged. 2016 also saw a New Tech Academy Student Tradeshow in downtown Fort Wayne at The city Exchange, where students sold to and networked with members of our business community.

  • 2017: Engagement at New Tech Academy continued during 2017, as did the second Student Tradeshow at The City Exchange.

  • 2018: A major expansion occurred in 2018, as BIYB started two new expanded programs. First, BIAD partnered with nonprofit 4WARD to produce a young leaders Summit, Pave the Path. The 2-day leadership event was enthusiastically attended by 100 handpicked students from all 5 Fort Wayne Community Schools high schools. Second, as part of Pave the Path, students were introduced to the Young Visionaries Fellowship program where students can receive grants to produce projects that make a positive impact in our community or the world.

  • 2019: At the kickoff to our second year of Pave the Path, it was gratifying to see dozens of alumni from the 2018 Pave the Path group join the new students to get it all started. In the summer, we awarded our first cohort of Young Visionaries Fellowship and Young Entrepreneur Award winners. 10 deserving young entrepreneurs (and their teams) received grants to help them grow their dreams.

Enjoy some BIYB moments!