NXLevel alumni accepted into NSF Innovation program

The Hammond Development Corporation would like to extend congratulations to Jim Thomas and Yanette Munoz of Vaccine Global, two of our NXLevel alumni, who have been chosen to participate in the National Science Foundation Innovation Corporations Phase 0 program. The NSF's program helps members test commercial readiness for their products and helps identify obstacles to help facilitate a product launch. After an interview with program director Dr. Cindy Walker Peach, Jim and Yanette were chosen to participate in the program to help develop their product. Jim and Yanette currently work with BBC Consulting at the University of Michigan.

We wish Jim, Yanette, and Vaccine Global the best of luck!!


Click here for the article 

Fall NXLevel Entrepreneurship Course

Are you ready to start your business? Are you ready to plan for the success of your business? Do you wish you better understood your business financial statements? Are you ready to take your business to the next level? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, you should consider enrolling in NxLevel.
The NxLevel Entrepreneurs course is an intensive training program designed to encourage business expansion in a community. The course focuses on teaching the art of better business practices while producing a comprehensive business plan to guide business expansion decisions and activities.


NXLEVEL 1 SEP.25-NOV.27 @ 5:30 PM
NXLEVEL 2 SEP.13-NOV.1 @ 5:30 PM
Hammond, IN 46320
Register by Sep.4 by visiting the link below

Click Here

Google is not just a search engine


If you only use Google for your email and looking up important information then you’re doing it all wrong. Google has a whole host of programs offered for free to anyone that has signed up for their service. Documents, slideshows, spreadsheets and your calendar can all be accessed from one Google account and everything is saved to your own personal part of the cloud. These documents can be accessed and edited anywhere from any device that can connect to the internet. Forget your laptop at home and have a big presentation today? Don’t worry because you saved your presentation to the cloud. Using the Google slideshow app you can make any last minuet changes that are needed and make your presentation from your phone. Out in the field and need to invoice a customer? Pull out your tablet and edit a template you have saved on your Google docs then you can email that invoice on the spot. G Suite gives business the ability to break away from traditional offices and allows for a decentralized working environment for the entrepreneur on the go. Have questions on how best to use G Suite call us at the HUB 219-803-6300


The UEA internship program has been managed by the HDC for many years now and we would like to highlight a few of our interns that have made the next step into the business world.

Josh Eddings joined the high school intern program during his senior year at HAST. After graduation he moved on to the college program, working as a front desk receptionist with the HDC before transferring to Belsom Electric. Belsom was so happy with Josh, they decided this Fall to hire him on as an electrical intern. Josh is a great example of how the program can benefit not only the student, but also city businesses!

Ian Clark interned with the HUB this summer as he finished up his Accounting degree at PurdueNorthwest. We are happy to say that Ian was recently hired at the Accounting Firm of Cllifton Larson and Allen. Congratulations to Ian!

Kevin Culver started out at the HUB as an intern while working on his accounting degree at Ivy Tech. Kevin became the UEA administrator and supervisor of the internship program. We are thrilled to announce that as of January 1, 2018 Kevin has been hired on as the new bookkeeper for the HDC.

If you are a Hammond business and are interested in having a summer intern work with you or if you know a high school or college student interested in being a summer intern, please contact Jen Bussey at 219-853-6399 x104.

uea interns.jpeg

Alumni Night


DATEWednesday, January 17, 2018



6 pm - 8 pm


Disadvantaged, minority and women-owned businesses: this Alumni Night is especially for you! Diana Hunter from the Indiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) will be our speaker for the night explaining the benefits of DBE, MBE and WBE business certification and discussing the certification process in her presentation “Government Contracts: How to get certified for State & Federal Contracts.”


There will be a light dinner, raffle, and presentation. The event is free, but you must register as seating is limited.


Cost: FREE (NxLevel Graduates Only)

Questions: Jackie DeRosa - jackie@hdcnwi.org / 219-803-6304


HDC Names New Executive and Program Directors

On November 1, 2017, the Board of Directors of the Hammond Development Corporation was pleased to announce our new Executive Director, Jen Bussey. Jen is a lifelong Hammond resident and has been with the HDC for over a year as our Financial Manager and Operations Director. Her promotion to Executive Director brings over 20 years of managerial experience and business expertise to our organization. Jen was previously a small business owner and most recently the Director of Operations for 18th Street Brewery in Gary and Hammond. We are excited to see where Jen’s leadership takes our organization as HDC continues its mission of fostering economic and small business development in the City of Hammond. Congratulations, Jen!

New Staff

HDC has also announced Jackie DeRosa as our new Program Director and Business Builders Loan Administrator. Jackie will be developing and implementing new business education programs as well as managing our successful NxLevel Entrepreneurship Program. Jackie will also be administering HDC’s Business Builders Loan Program. This program provides low interest loans to Hammond-based businesses. Jackie’s 30 years of small business consulting experience is a welcome addition to the HDC. To learn more about the Business Builders Loan program, visit the following link: https://www.hdcnwi.org/business-builders-revolving-loan-fund/

5/3 and HDC - Micro Loan Program

Hammond Development Corporation in partnership with Fifth Third Bank is offering a Micro Loan Program to HDC tenants and NxLevel graduates. These funds are to be used for short term purposes such as inventory or materials, equipment leasing, marketing materials, and other purposes agreed upon by client and lender. If approved, these funds will be disbursed as a short-term line of credit with a variable interest rate over a term not to exceed 1 year.

For more information, contact Jackie DeRosa, Program Director / Business Builders Loan Administrator at jackie@hdcnwi.org or 219-803-6504.

Tenant Success

Trunk or Treat

East Side Community Council, tenant at The HUB of Innovation, held their 6th Annual Trunk or Treat at Home Depot on 165th St. in Hammond, IN. With over 30 cars passing out treats to the community, the line to the trunk or treat stretched back 6 rows of cars. City Council members, School City of Hammond, Hammond Fire Department, and families from around Hammond gave out treats to the community. We are proud of our tenant’s continued success in community events. Their next event is Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at Hammond High School where they will be having their annual Holiday Treats Giveaway. Check their site at escc219.com for more information.

Reclaim Our Kids

Reclaim Our Kids, associate tenant at The HUB of Innovation, started their semester at Clark High School and Hobart High School teaching students about gang violence and the impact of getting involved in gangs. This is the organization’s third year working with the School City of Hammond on gang violence and prevention. For more information about this organization, visit their site at reclaimourkids.com.

QuickBooks Training


Online Essentials
September 30, 2017
8:30 am - 4:30 pm

October 25, 2017
8:30 am - 12:30 pm

Detect & Correct
December 6, 2017
8:30 am - 12:30 pm

All classes are held at The HUB of Innovation, 5233 Hohman Ave, Hammond, IN.

We are now offering customized Quick Books classes for any company or organization that enrolls 6 or more participants. We can set-up a class on a topic specific to your individual needs, for example, payroll or cost estimating, and a specific day/time that meets your company’s needs. If you wish to create your own class of 6 or more, contact Jackie DeRosa at 219-803-6304 or jackie@hdcnwi.org

Fall Programs 2017


Hammond Development Corporation is offering fall programs focusing on a variety of topics. There will be various rewards/raffles for those in attendance!


Tuesdays, September 26 - November 29
Financial partner: First Midwest Bank

Getting the Score on Business Credit

Wednesdays, September 13 - 27, 6 pm - 7 pm

Join us for a FREE three day seminar conducted and sponsored by First Midwest Bank on understanding, establishing and repairing credit with a focus on the specific needs of small and start up business owners. Each session earns you a chance to win a free office network machine!

Financial partner: First Midwest Bank

Mastermind Think Tank

Mondays, October 13 - November 6, 6 pm - 8 pm

Enhance your business with FREE customized resources and exceptional support. This is a small group program limited to 8 participants.

3 S’s = Set, Strategize, Succeed
Create and execute strategies that will help your business grow.

Customized resources provided to you weekly.

Expert Advice / Workshops
Guest speakers invited weekly to address the needs of your business.

Group accountability, weekly
Financial partner: First Financial Bank

Guerilla Marketing

Wednesdays, October 4 - 25, 6 pm - 7 pm

Learn the basics of effective, low-cost marketing with this four-week seminar.

October 4                  
Identifying Your Target Market w/ C Whitt Consulting

October 11
 Loving Your Logo w/ Graphic Designer Amal Khatib

October 18
Branding for Beginners w/ Jireh Communications

October 25
The Sales Funnel w/ Via Marketing
Financial partner: Peoples Bank

Non-Profit Resource Day

Friday, November 3, 8:30 am - 2 pm

The HUB of Innovation is inviting non-profit organizations from around The Region to join us for this education and networking opportunity.

8:30 am - 9 am                       
Registration and Welcome

9 am - 9:45 am                       
Legal Requirements and  Challenges in NP

9:45 am - 10:30 am             
Leveraging QuickBooks for NP

10:30 am - 11:30 pm
Grant Writing and Fundraising

11:30 pm - 1 pm                    
Lunch & Keynote Speaker We Care from the Heart

1 pm - 2 pm
Alternate Funding for Non- Profits
Financial partner: Fifth Third Bank         

The HUB of Innovation Partners with Zoseco

The HUB of Innovation is excited to announce a reciprocal relationship with Zoseco Coworking in Valparaiso, Indiana, where tenants at each organization are permitted to use the other organization's open workspace up to 3 times per month at no cost!

Both The HUB and Zoseco hope that this will help entrepreneurs in Porter County and northern Lake County have a comfortable place to do business no matter where their business takes them!

Short visitor's form must be filled out prior to your visit. These forms can be found on the Zoseco website or The HUB website at hubinnovates.com under the Partnerships tab. Let us help you expand your business. 

HDC Tenants Can Earn Free Rent

Want to earn free rent? Our Education Points Program lets you do just that. Earn points for every educational program you attend. If you gain 6 points for the year, you will get credit for one (1) month’s rent. Rules for earning points:

  1. 6 points must be earned to gain one (1) month’s rent only. Tenants may NOT claim partial credit for less than 6 and going over 6 will not earn extra rent credit.
  2. Points may only be claimed by HDC incubator tenants for HDC and educational programs OR HDC sponsored events as indicated when they are advertised.
  3. Tenants must register for a program, check in and complete the program for points to be applied.
  4. Points may vary according to the length and complexity of the program. Points are only good for the fiscal year in which they are earned and will reset every January. Rent credits may roll from year to year.
  5. The rent credit is a credit only and may not be refunded as cash. Any unused and outstanding rent credits will NOT be issued as a refund if a tenant terminates their lease so make sure your credits get applied.

Here are some programs you can attend:

Getting the Score on Business Credit – September 13, 20, 27
Join us for a three-day seminar on understanding, establishing and repairing business credit. 1 incubator point per session

 Mastermind Think Tank – October 16, 23, 30 and November 3, 10
Enhance your business with FREE customized resources and exceptional support. This is a small group program limited to 8 participants. 1 incubator point per session

Guerilla Marketing – October 4, 11, 18, 25
Learn the basics of effective, low cost marketing with this four-week seminar. 1 incubator point per session

Non-Profit Resource Day – November 3
Non-profits join us from around The Region for education and networking opportunities. 2 incubator points

Thank You First Midwest Bank

The HDC wants to express a special thanks to First Midwest Bank for their partnership in The HUB's NxLevel Entrepreneurship Program for the Fall 2017 classes.

First Midwest's generous support will enable The HUB of Innovation to give entrepreneurs a jumpstart on their dreams of business ownership. Stop by a First Midwest Bank branch to learn about all the business banking products they have available for your business.

The HDC could not have continued these programs without support from partners such as First Midwest Bank!

Downtown Hammond's New Cafe

Virginette Fitzpatrick opened the Stella V.ie Cafe at 5246 Hohman Avenue in Downtown Hammond in November of 2016, while a NxLevel student at The HUB. Stella V.ie has received rave reviews from patrons who sample the soups, salads, sandwiches, and coffee that all have a unique test.

Open Monday to Friday from 8 am to 3 pm, Stella V.ie is popular with the Downtown Hammond work crowd seeking breakfast, lunch, catering, and a quick caffeinated pick-me-up. From Wednesday to Friday, Stella V.ie offers a special summer grill menu.

The HUB is proud of Virginette's success, and wishes her all the best!

NxLevel Grads Getting Business Done in Downtown Hammond

Congratulations to Lee Watson and GreenCOW Coworking!

NxLevel graduate Lee Watson spent the last six months testing his business model for GreenCOW Coworking at 5209 Hohman Avenue.

GreenCOW Coworking, a for-profit business, rents co-working space to entrepreneurs looking for a place to work and conduct business in a location other than their homes or coffee shops.

We are pleased to announce that Lee has decided to stay in Hammond and we soon hope to see GreenCOW purchase the building and become a permanent resident of Downtown Hammond. Congratulations and best wishes to Lee and GreenCOW on a profitable endeavor. 

NxLevel Graduates Step Up 2 Success

Vaccine Global, a Hammond-based startup that turns a mobile scheduling and logistical networking service application into an enhanced Immunization Informational System (IIS), recently gave a presentation to the Hammond chapter of One Million Cups, a networking forum established for and by entrepreneurs. Vaccine Global explained their business plan and shared their successes and struggles with the other entrepreneurs present at the forum.

Founded by Jim Thomas and Yanette Munoz, two long-time employees in the healthcare industry, Vaccine Global seeks to reduce vaccine waste resulting from poor coordination technology by creating a new and innovative closed communication channel between providers, manufacturers, and consumers. This system provides highly accurate real-time information on vaccine availability, utilization, demand forecasting, and scheduling.

Vaccine Global is a tenant of the HUB of Innovation. Both founders are graduates of the HDC’s NXLevel entrepreneurship program. The HDC congratulates them on their hard work and success!

4 Reasons Your Staff May Not Be Staying

Many small business owners find it both daunting and difficult trying to maintain good quality staff. Here are 4 common reasons small business owners have trouble retaining quality staff and how to remedy the situation if you find that this is the reason you are having HR difficulties.

  1. You Hired Family. Family is an easy, feel good source of help. When hiring family, these work/family ties often come into play when conflict arises. As a rule, try to avoid hiring family members when at all possible. But if it becomes necessary, the family member should go through the same hiring process as other staff, be fully qualified to do the job you are hiring them for and make sure to give clear expectations. 
  2. You're paying everyone 1099. A common tactic that small business owners use to avoid the hassle of payroll taxes is to keep staff on 1099 contract status. What most employers don't think about when they do this is that employees are still responsible for their taxes and have to pay at the end of the year. The QuickBooks payroll module makes doing W4 based payroll super easy and a subscription costs less than $400 per year.
  3. You're paying too little. When you are considering hiring new staff, one of the first things that a small business owner should research is the going rate of pay for your industry. If you offer a job that pays below the going rate, then you will get on of the two types of employees - those who are willing to work for less until something better comes along OR those who cannot maintain a job in the field at other, better paying companies. Bottom line, be prepared to invest in your employees.
  4. No benefits. This is an area that small business owners find scary due to lack of information on how to obtain benefits for employees and what rules to follow. Cost is another factor. Business owners should view offering benefits as part of a "total compensation package" or everything an employee gets for being an employee of the company. A good broker can help you select some basic plans that are affordable; and keep in mind that you can include yourself in any plan you buy for your employees.