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Chapman first to tap Angola Investment Fund program

August 30th, 2014

News Coverage:

Chapman first to tap Angola Investment Fund program

Posted: Friday, August 29, 2014 11:00 pm | Updated: 7:20 am, Sat Aug 30, 2014.

From Staff Reports 

ANGOLA — Chapman’s Brewing Co. has become the first company to utilize the Angola Investment Fund to help feed its planned growth.

The city established the AIF in 2013, using Major Moves funds, proceeds from the Indiana Toll Road lease deal in 2006. The city has committed $1 million toward the fund in an effort to attract innovative start-up companies and entrepreneurs.

“We need to support the next generation of companies if Angola is to remain a vibrant community,” said Kathy Armstrong, member of the Angola Common Council. Armstrong has worked closely with Elevate Ventures and the Steuben County EDC to create a unique local economic development tool.

Investments from the AIF may be straight loans, loans that can be converted into equity or straight-equity investments, which is determined at the end of a three-year period by the AIF board.

“We have three goals for the AIF — create new, high-skill, high-wage jobs, make the fund sustainable to support future businesses and to keep the fund as straightforward and simple as possible,” said Armstrong.

Chapman’s, which is in the midst of its second investment campaign in as many years, sees this as a tool to support the growth of the company in Angola.

“We choose to start in Angola and we choose to grow in Angola. The Angola Investment Fund weighed in on that decision,” said Scott Fergusson, CEO and founder of Chapman’s. Fergusson is also dean of the Ketner School of Business at Trine University, where he has engaged some of the faculty for assistance, especially in the areas of engineering and chemistry. He admits some students have been happy to help the fledging company, also.

“The fact that it’s a brewery obviously appeals to the students, but our student and graduate employees are doing the work — research, planning, finance, marketing — they’re learning what it takes to be entrepreneurs,” Fergusson said.

Chapman’s goal is to raise $2 million for the next expansion phase, of which the AIF will invest $100,000. In its first year, the company has successfully launched several varieties, including an Ale Cider, the Englishman, Enlighten (an authentic German Kolsch) and an India Pale Ale. It is also focused on penetrating the Indiana distribution system and can now be found throughout the Hoosier state. The company’s future goals are to expand seasonal flavors and to become a regional brewery, pursuing markets in neighboring states and larger cities.

The company has eight existing employees, including a brew master and assistant brew master, product managers and key marketing and finance staff. Fergusson projects employment to grow to 20 in the near future, as well as establishing a full-time tasting room within the Angola brewery.

“We want to delight you with our line of craft beers because we know you care about what you drink,” Fergusson said.

“This is exciting in many respects,” said David Koenig, executive director for the Steuben County Economic Development Corp. “The Angola Investment Fund is up and running, Angola and Steuben County benefit from the jobs at Chapman’s, with estimated wages well above the area average, and we have one more amenity supporting the county’s growth as a tourist destination.”

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