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Fancy Fortune Cookies founder to speak at fundraising bootcamp

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University faculty, staff, students and the public can learn about what’s needed to launch a company at the university’s fifth annual Company Fund Raising Boot Camp on Oct. 11 in Discovery Park.

Michael Fry

Midwest entrepreneur Michael Fry, the creative mind behind Fancy Fortune Cookies, will offer advice for what's needed to launch a company in today's tough economic climate.

Keynote speaker is Midwest entrepreneur Michael Fry, the creative mind behind Fancy Fortune Cookies. He will offer advice for what’s needed to launch a company, particularly in today’s tough economic climate. The workshop, which is free and open to the public, is from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Room 121.

Seating for the talk is limited, and preference will be given to Purdue faculty. To register, go online to

Fry, who was born in Illinois and grew up in Huntington, Ind., launched Fancy Fortune Cookies near Fort Wayne in 1988, initially offering gourmet fortune cookies in five different flavors: strawberry, lemon, orange, blueberry and mint.

The company moved to Indianapolis in 1992 and Fry, who is now known as “the Willie Wonka of fortune cookies,” operates the company from a facility on the northwest side. Annual sales approach $2 million, and the company boasts customers as diverse as FedEx and Mr. Rogers to Magic Johnson, Jackie Chan, Ozzy Osbourne and Oprah Winfrey.

Bootcamp topics include how to value your intellectual property, what makes a good business plan, learning about pitfalls of university startups and fundraising 101, including how to fund a startup company in this difficult business climate.

Participants also can work with coaches to refine a 15-minute presentation that will be reviewed by an outside panel at the end of January. Winners can earn a trip, sponsored by Lonergan Partners to present plans to Silicon Valley investors in May.

Timothy Sands, Purdue’s executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, will provide opening remarks.

This year’s bootcamp sponsors are executive recruitment firm Lonergan Partners, Purdue’s College of Engineering, the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and Chicago-based law firm Neal Gerber & Eisenberg LLP.

“It is our pleasure to continue to support this highly successful event, which showcases some of Purdue’s best startup companies,” said Mark Reiff, a partner at Lonergan Partners in Indianapolis. Added Tom Williams, a partner at Neal Gerber & Eisenberg: “We are pleased to sponsor this event and are excited to share our expertise to help this year’s attendees deal with the unique challenges that startup companies face with respect to protecting their intellectual property.”

The Burton D. Morgan Foundation funded the $7 million Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. The Discovery Park center also leads the Kauffman Campuses Initiative, which is focused on making entrepreneurship education available across Purdue’s main and regional campuses, enabling any student, regardless of field of study, access to entrepreneurial training.

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