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For Immediate Release
September 26, 2019

Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center Helps a Dream Become a Reality

Key Info

  • Small-business dreams can come true
  • Emily Dykstra worked with NE-ISBDC
  • Services are free
  • Leo Paw Shop opened in June
Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center Helps a Dream Become a Reality Image 1
Emily Dykstra and Reggie at Leo Paw Shop Print-quality image

FORT WAYNE, Ind.—The Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center (NE-ISBDC) takes pride in supporting area entrepreneurs as they tackle their ultimate dream—starting their own business. This lifelong dream was realized this past summer by Emily Dykstra, who opened Leo Paw Shop thanks, at least in part, to the NE-ISBDC.

It was certainly a whirlwind for Emily, who opened her business a mere four months after her initial meeting with Nikki Heffelfinger, business advisor at the NE-ISBDC. Emily gives them a tremendous amount of credit as she states, “I can confidently say that I wouldn’t have opened my business without the help of the NE-ISBDC. Working with them simplified the process for me and gave me a plan to follow. It all seemed too overwhelming before I began working with them. They made the process less daunting.” They are advisors in the truest sense of the word. They wanted her to succeed, but they also wanted her to lead her own way. This was her idea, her passion, her business; they just provided the knowledge and resources integral to converge it all into a successful business.

Among the many services provided to Emily, the NE-ISBDC aided her with the task of completing all state and legal requirements pertaining to her small business, provided advice from real estate to products, assisted in marketing the business, ensured she had a solid business plan, and made sure she had all of the resources possible for success. An aspect that was important to Emily was that these valuable resources were provided free of charge. “The fact that they offer their services for free is such a blessing. Starting a business is expensive, and this invaluable service was one thing I didn’t have to budget for,” Emily expressed. “Their mission is to help a small business get started and assist them through the whole process. This is exactly what they did for me and continue to do now. I know as new things come up they’re still there as a resource for me. I will always look back and know that I would not have realized this dream without Nikki and the support of the NE-ISBDC.”

On June 28, 2019, Leo Paw Shop opened, making Emily’s dream a reality.

If you have that idea, that dream of a business, reach out to the NE-ISBDC to see how they can help you succeed like Emily. Hosted on the Purdue University Fort Wayne campus, they provide resources to current and aspiring small-business owners in the region. Contact Wes Shie at or give the office a call at 260-481-0500 to see your dream materialize.