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KEDCO Talent & Entrepreneurship Stories: Breaking through barriers to innovation in our local entrepreneurial community  

Thursday, September 29, 2022

In June, the Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation (KEDCO) and NEXT Studios (NEXT) announced a partnership to launch a Medical Technology (medtech) Accelerator Program unique to Kosciusko County. The program is now underway, and KEDCO and NEXT are seeking participation.

How can KEDCO and NEXT help your company? Here’s insight on what the program is, and how it can strengthen the local entrepreneurial and business community.

“The goal is to develop a pipeline of startup companies to complement and advance existing product development and manufacturing capabilities here in Warsaw, The Orthopedic Capital of the World®,” said KEDCO CEO Alan Tio. “It’s a way to be proactive and not only continue leading as the Ortho Capital, but to further strengthen the industry and entrepreneurial community.”

What is a medtech accelerator?

It’s a business accelerator program geared toward companies in the medtech space. The accelerator program led by NEXT, includes a series of experiences distilled from the startup economy, including the Lean Canvas Model, tools and practices to help startup and established companies break through barriers to innovation, and practicing human-centered design. KEDCO and NEXT are partnering with both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs within companies to offer this program, and utilize the rich resources already within reach in Kosciusko County to foster and facilitate medical innovation.

Why does building our entrepreneurial community matter?

According to research from the American Enterprise Institute and Brookings Institution, Indiana ranks 47th in America in the share of total employment in companies zero to five years old. And the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation also found that all new job roles are created by startup companies less than five years old, therefore a culture of innovation is vital to a community’s future.

What’s next with the program?

The kick-off “Barriers to Innovation” workshop was held in Kosciusko County last week. This workshop helps participants understand the 10 common barriers to innovation, how these barriers affect companies and communities, and the process for creating a more innovative culture. More Barriers to Innovation workshops will be held.

Discovery Week will take place October 18-20. This three-day workshop is designed to help startup companies propel innovation within their business. This event is free for companies to attend.

Find more details and how to apply to participate in the workshop at www.kosciuskoedc.com/events

Is the accelerator only for startup companies?

The program is customizable to best suit a company’s needs, meaning workshops are held in group settings with leaders from multiple companies, or workshops can be held on-site at the company location for team members. Local medtech startup, GemViz is participating in the MedTech Accelerator as a team, rather than a group setting which has allowed them to build a timeline that best aligns with the company’s needs and goals.

What are participants saying about the program?

“This program has allowed us to quickly identify additional opportunities and solutions which will save us time and resources in the long run,” said GemViz CEO Mike Cusick.

Judy DeLury of LevelUp Meds who participated in the Barriers to Innovation workshop said, “This accelerator allows startups to determine their viability early on, and for a lower cost. It’s an opportunity to ‘fail forward’ and improve your product, and it’s a place to meet like-minded people in the start-up arena.”

A bright future ahead

“The resources in Kosciusko County are unique to the region. Every community should celebrate and focus on its remarkable assets, and medical technology has fertile ground here,” says John McDonald, Managing Entrepreneur with NEXT Studios. “We are excited for the possibilities and thrilled to help facilitate successful entrepreneurs.”

To learn more about KEDCO and how the organization is making an impact in Kosciusko County visit www.kosciuskoedc.com, and stay connected with KEDCO on Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin @kosciuskoedc.com. Learn more about NEXT Studios at  www.nextstudios.org, and connect with NEXT on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and Twitter. Hear stories from local entrepreneurs and residents alike about what it’s like to live life fully in K-County by checking out the Clearly Kosciusko podcast, powered by KEDCO.