Nov 15th, 2023

Thank you for an awesome Founder Factory 2022! We hope to see you on Nov. 15 for Founder Factory 2023. More info to come!

About the Summit

This startup summit for “Movers, Makers and Shakers” brings together entrepreneurs, investors, and enthusiasts for a day of inspiration, motivation, and real-world insights from those who have been there. We have something for everyone, whether you’re just starting out, venture capital backed, looking to invest in the next big thing, or a fan who wants to see what the entrepreneurial ecosystem has down the pipeline.

Keynote Speakers

Jewel Burks Solomon

Google for Startups

Jewel Burks Solomon is managing partner at Collab Capital, but you are probably more familiar with her as the Head of Google for Startups.

Justin Dawkins

Collab Capital

Justin Dawkins is a partner at Collab Capital and founder of entrepreneur support non-profit Goodie Nation.



10:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

All Attendees | Doors and Resource and Startup Hall Open
Start the day off by visiting over twenty exhibitors! The hall features primarily regional entrepreneurial support organizations (ESOs) highlighting what is available in the region to support entrepreneurs, as well as showcase successful entrepreneurs that have leveraged regional resources.

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

All Attendees | Lunch and Networking 
Fuel up before our exciting keynote session! Help yourself to the Founder Factory lunch buffet which includes your choice of two salads, white cheddar and chive mashed potatoes, grilled vegetables, vegan stir-fry, and chicken picatta.

12:30 – 2:00 p.m.

All Attendees | Keynote Session: Building Businesses, Creating Impact 
Two powerhouse speakers will take the stage at Founder Factory 2022 – Jewel Burks Solomon and Justin Dawkins. Jewel is the Head of Google for Startups in the U.S. and serves as Managing Partner for Collab Capital, a $50M venture capital fund she launched to close the funding gap for Black entrepreneurs. Jewel founded Partpic, which was acquired by Amazon in 2016, leading her to become a product leader at Amazon’s Visual Search and AR team. Justin has worked on founding teams, including the startup SilverPop, which was acquired by IBM 2014. Justin also serves as a Managing Partner for Collab Capital, while also being the co-founder and co-chair of Goodie Nation, a social impact organization based in Atlanta.

Together, Jewel and Justin will share their entrepreneurial journeys, from startup to selling, and their insights on securing funding from venture capital firms. Plus, they’ll discuss the recipe a region requires to create a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem!

Welcome and Introductions

    • Julie Heath, Vice President of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems, Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC)

Keynote Speakers

2:00 – 4:45PM

All Attendees | We+You Lounge and Experience 
Rest, relax, and have fun in the WE+YOU Lounge! Learn more about the regional attraction brand, pick up some free swag, or just connect with friends new and old! The lounge will be open the entire day leading up to the launch party beginning at 4:45pm.

2:15 – 3:15 p.m.

Entrepreneurs | Professional Services Speed Dating 
The number one request we get is “do you know a good attorney to help with X” or “what marketing agency can help me with X”. To solve this, we will have roundtables anchored by professional service providers from across the region. Need help building a website? Looking for a CPA? Interested in patenting a product or process? Find your partners here! Service providers will be pitching you on why you should work with them, with the end result that you walk away with connections to advance your business needs long after the event!

Services Include:

    • Financial Service Assistance
    • Legal – Government Contracting
    • Legal – Intellectual Property (IP)
    • Marketing Assistance
    • Mentoring/Getting Started
    • Outsources Product/Product Assistance
    • Raising Capital

Enthusiasts and Investors | Regional Pitch and Panel 
Have you ever experienced a live pitch competition?! Now is your chance to celebrate three entrepreneurs that are calling the South Bend – Elkhart region their headquarters! Three entrepreneurs from the region will pitch for funding – FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS – Shark Tank style! During the judges’ deliberation, the entrepreneurs will transition to a panel to share their perspectives on what it’s like being an entrepreneur in the South Bend – Elkhart region.



3:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Entrepreneurs | Entrepreneurship, A Tale of Trials and Triumphs 
Regardless of if you’ve started or thinking about starting a service-, product-, software-, or store- based business, the path of entrepreneurship has common traits and trends. It can be lonely and daunting, yet you stick it out because you believe in your solution! During this session, you’ll hear from a successful founder discussing their perspectives deciding where to take their business: Should it be family-owned? Should I take on investors? How do I maintain the “Me”-ness of the company while adding team members? Hear answers to all this and more during this for entrepreneurs-by entrepreneurs’ session.


    • Devin Biek, Co-Founder, Janus Motorcycles
    • Susan Ford, Chief Operating Officer, Graham Allen Partners


Entrepreneurs | How to Do Business with Crane Naval Base/Indiana Manufacturers 
Presented by PTAC, North Central, this session on how to do business with Crane Naval Base and Indiana manufacturers will be led by Matt Burkett and Andy Alexander.

Matt Burkett is NSWC Crane’s Deputy Director for Small Business. Matt’s responsibilities include serving as chief advisor on small business matters to the Commanding Officer and representing the command in small business outreach events within the regional and surrounding communities. He is the single point of contact for NSWC Crane on all small business matters. NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today’s Warfighter.

Andy Alexander is a certified government Contracting Assistance Specialist (CCAS) and Certified Procurement Professional (CPP) by the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC). He also served as an APTAC national CPP Certification Reviewer/Approver, and currently serves as a certified Verification Counselor by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.


Enthusiasts | Connect 2 Catalyze: How You Can Fuel the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem! 
If you describe yourself as entrepreneur-adjacent, meaning you love startups, local shops, and cool ideas, this session is for you! Hear from entrepreneurial ecosystem builders on how everyone plays a part in building a vibrant community that encourages investing and frequenting region-based businesses. We all have a role to play and we’re here to help you understand yours!


    • Bethany Hartley, President and CEO, South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership
    • Julie Heath, Vice President of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems, Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC)

Investors | Angel Investing 101 
Have you thought about getting into the startup investment game but aren’t sure where to start? Are you curious about why angel investing matters? Answers to these questions and much more will be provided in this breakout session. Featuring serial entrepreneur, Kem Krest CEO, and angel investor, Amish Shah, interviewed by Elevate Ventures Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Nicholas Kuhn, this session will equip future and nascent angel investors with a new knowledge set that can get you going in the right direction!


4:45 – 6:30 p.m.

All Attendees | IEDC Global Entrepreneurship Week Launch Party 
Global Entrepreneurship Week is quickly approaching, and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) has exciting news to share! As you may know, the IEDC has been hard at work to create impactful tools for our most brilliant minds, making Indiana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem more accessible and visible to all.

During Global Entrepreneurship Week (November 14-20), the IEDC is bringing the entrepreneurial ecosystem together to celebrate the launch of new statewide entrepreneurial ecosystem initiatives, including our all-new digital front door and the official 2022 Indiana Entrepreneurship Yearbook.


    • Julie Heath, Vice President of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems, Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC)

Our Sponsors

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