Nov 10th, 2021

Where entrepreneurs, enthusiasts, and investors can come together for one incredible afternoon to learn, connect, and engage about all things entrepreneurship and innovation!

Registration Closed

About the Summit

The goal of Founder Factory 2021 is to create a collision of startups, enthusiasts, and investors in one place and space and to foster connections amongst these individuals that lead to more entrepreneurial and innovative activity in the South Bend – Elkhart region.

Founder Factory is inclusive to all types of business owners – whether they’re selling lemonade on the side of their neighborhood road or manufacturing luxury boats, or maybe you’re creating the next technology to disrupt the healthcare industry. Or perhaps you’re interested in working for one of these businesses, come and start your next career adventure!

Keynote Speakers


Amanda Brinkman

Small Business Revolution

Amanda Brinkman is the creator, producer, and host of the hit Emmy-nominated series “Small Business Revolution,”which streams on Hulu and Prime Video and was named among Inc. Magazine’s top shows for entrepreneurs.

Emma Willis

Emma Willis

Venture Noire

Emma Willis’ career has spanned from marketing to financial services to business strategy and thought leadership, focusing on higher education savings plans and resources. Willis recently was named chief operating officer for Bentonville-based Venture Noire, a nonprofit focused on supporting Black entrepreneurs.

Luke Cooper

Luke Cooper


Luke is the founder and CEO of Fixt, a venture capital-backed technology startup acquired by Assurant, a Fortune 300 company, for more than 11x revenue in 2020. His diverse trench experience as both a leader and entrepreneur has earned him a place on the TEDCO board of directors and as a trustee of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).


11:30am – 12:30pm Food Trucks in the “Bay”

Grab your lunch from local food trucks in the Studebaker’s original loading bay! Fill up on the fly in the Studebaker lobby, in the bay, or bring your lunch into Studebaker 112 for the keynote sessions kicking off at 12:30!

12:30pm – 2:15pm Keynote Sessions

Two dynamic keynote sessions will kick off Founder Factory programming, featuring nationally recognized speakers Amanda Brinkman, Emma Willis, and Luke Cooper!

Main Stage for Main Street: Amanda Brinkman is the creator, producer and host of the hit Emmy-nominated series “Small Business Revolution,” which streams on Hulu and Prime Video and was named among Inc. Magazine’s top shows for entrepreneurs. Now in production of their 6th season, each year the Small Business Revolution revitalizes a different community’s “Main Street” through small business makeovers. Every episode they help work to help the entrepreneur with marketing, finance, operations and physical transformations of their space.

Amanda will share the lessons learned in working with small businesses across the country, offering the audience actionable advice on marketing and communication best practices. Often small businesses feel they can’t afford the time or fiscal investment in marketing, but Amanda is often quoted saying small businesses can’t afford to NOT to invest in marketing. She will share insights of the most important focus areas of your brand and digital footprint, sharing case studies from real businesses featured in the Small Business Revolution series.

The Business of Being Venture Backable: Amanda Brinkman returns as the moderator of an incredible duo – Emma Willis and Luke Cooper. Emma and Luke bring years of knowledge and expertise around scaling ideas, businesses, and communities. Emma currently serves as the COO of Venture Noire, a nonprofit serving Black entrepreneurs in Arkansas. Prior to her current role, she oversaw the state of Arkansas 529 plan and increased its assets from $600M to $1B, as well as working with a FinTech startup focused on supporting college students. Luke is the founder of Fixt, one of the fastest growing tech companies in the country. Luke sold his first tech company for $60M to multi-billion-dollar defense contractor CACI.

Both Emma and Luke will share their stories of entrepreneurship, adversity, and adventure in this session!

2:30pm – 4:30pm Founder Focused Expert Roundtables

Learn on your own time in a small group setting. Subject matter experts will cover topics in brief, informal presentations after which you can ask specific questions and learn from your tablemates. Tables are limited to seven entrepreneurs at a time. Entrepreneurs will receive the opportunity to rank their preferred topics following registration through Eventbrite. Each entrepreneur will have the chance to participate in three roundtable conversations.

2:30pm – 4:30pm Co-Work: Factory Style

It’s not every day you get the opportunity to remote work from one of the oldest yet one of the most modern buildings in the South Bend – Elkhart region. During Founder Factory, you can set up shop in the perfect coworking space between 2:30 – 4:30pm, located on the second floor of Studebaker Building 113. Bring your computer and we’ll provide the wifi, electrical outlets, drinks and snacks to keep you fueled, and the Instagram-worthy backgrounds.

2:30pm – 4:30pm Connection Lounge

Feeling inspired after leaving the keynote sessions and want to share your thoughts and bounce off ideas with others? Or, setup meetings ahead of time to meet at the Connection Lounge between 2:30 – 4:30pm. Located in the lower mezzanine of Building 113, we will have a lounge outfitted with comfy, modern furnishings provided by SIXINCH, who has provided furniture for Machine Gun Kelly’s 27 Club, Adobe’s Corporate Headquarters, and SXSW 2019.

4:30pm – 6:30pm Startup Happy Hour

Wind down the day with a glass of wine, a pint of beer or other beverage of your choice as you network with fellow entrepreneurs, enthusiasts, and investors. Walk through the exhibit booths put together by regional Entrepreneurial Support Organizations (ESOs), startups, and small business owners.

Tours of Building 84 will be offered to guests following the keynote programming and tenants of Building 113 will have their doors open to show you their Studebaker style!

Our Sponsors

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