FORTVILLE — Fortville entrepreneurs unable to pursue financing options through a traditional bank are now eligible to apply for a loan of up to $250,000 through a new program designed to encourage small business growth.

The Fortville Entrepreneurship Initiative, announced Wednesday at the Taxman Brewing Co., consists of numerous local organizations that will offer educational programs and help applying for loans for small business owners in the community, said Lacey Willard, co-founder of the organization.

The Fortville Entrepreneurship Initiative provides new businesses with professional financial guidance and an opportunity for camaraderie among fellow business owners, Willard said.

The initiative also will provide small loans to fresh entrepreneurs new to the Fortville community through Bankable, said Bankable Loan Officer Kyle Fawcett.

Bankable, a nonprofit organization with the Fortville Entrepreneurship Initiative, works with banking partners to provide small business loans to those who cannot pursue traditional financing options, Fawcett said. The loan format they use allows for a faster payoff and better credentials to apply for larger loans as the business grows, he said.

Existing small businesses and new start ups can apply for loans up to $50,000 to $250,000, depending on the type of application, Fawcett said.

Interested participants can learn more about the types of loans, what they can be used for and the application process at a meeting at 6 p.m. Jan. 30 at Foxgardin Kitchen & Ale, 215 S. Main St., Fortville.

The allowance will come coupled with advisory services on marketing and business plan development from the Indiana Small Business Development Center, Willard said. The initiative ensures their resource partners are willing to hold the hand of small business owners trying to make the most of their money, Willard added.

The initiative is especially focused on welcoming new businesses to Fortville, Willard said. Town officials and members of the redevelopment commission are involved in the program to provide educational and financial advisory to self-starters, ensuring their efforts will lead to them becoming viable businesses in the future.

Fortville leaders aren’t interested in large-scale commercial production for the downtown area. Rather, their attention is on boutiques and other small shops that will thrive in a small-town setting. Their goals are to encourage education and connectivity between business owners, Willard said. The Fortville Town Council has plans to build a coworking/incubator space to benefit local growth, she added.

“We’re inheriting a lot of growth,” Willard said. “What we do with that is important. How we welcome that is even more important.”

Collaborate 317, an Indianapolis business development platform partnering with the Fortville Entrepreneurship Initiative, offers services to help new businesses access whatever they need to get started, whether it’s legal help, financial advice or assistance in setting up employee benefits.

The initiative is about pro small-business partners pooling their resources, which always helps a community develop, said Luke Keay, Collaborate 317 experience manager. Keay said he is eager to collaborate with other partners involved in the Fortville Entrepreneurship Initiative.

Getting involved in the initiative will be an excellent resource for start up businesses throughout central Indiana, said Nathan Martz, CEO of Von Martz Kennels, a German Shepard training service in Noblesville.

At the announcement Wednesday, Willard gave a presentation that provided information concerning tax breaks and educational benefits available to small business owners. Those details are crucial for financially-limited start up companies, Martz said.

“This will be very beneficial to help Fortville especially, being a small town wanting to grow,” Martz said.

Author photo
Evan Myers is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 317-477-3228 or