Elevate Ventures expands support for entrepreneurs

October 11th, 2012

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Elevate Ventures expands support for entrepreneurs

Staff Reports

Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 at 9:30am

Starting this month, Elevate Ventures Inc., a statewide nonprofit organization working to boost entrepreneurial activity across northern Indiana, will expand its services for startups and existing companies.

Elevate Ventures, which was formed in 2011 and also oversees the state of Indiana's 21st Century Research and Technology Fund, has been assisting startups and existing companies for the past year through a program called Quick Start. In conjunction with the Quick Start program, Elevate Ventures worked with stakeholders across northern Indiana to develop and fund a "regional entrepreneurship action plan" that would allow the organization to expand the services offered to businesses.

A total of $2.25 million was raised across northern Indiana, and the state and the Indiana Economic Development Corp. have contributed another $6 million. The $8.25 million in funding will allow Elevate Ventures to begin implementing the action plan, and it will be used to attract additional investments totaling $9 million over the next three years from contributors outside Indiana.

“With the official launch of the REAP, this is an exciting opportunity for Elevate Ventures to connect emerging and existing high-potential businesses in Indiana with funding options and resources. With the development of this kind of ‘entrepreneurial environment,’ we ultimately hope to create thousands of local jobs and a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Stephen Hourigan, CEO of Elevate Ventures, said in a statement.

“The $8.25 million we already have raised means we can implement a significant portion of the REAP right now, and we look forward to raising an additional $9 million from national funders to match the state and regional investments. We have already seen tremendous progress with startups in this region, as compared to the state of local economy just two years ago.”

Through the Quick Start program, which began in October 2011, Elevate Ventures assisted 70 companies across northern Indiana, providing more than 5,000 hours of service, the organization said. It also worked to improve businesses' access to capital.

Under the action plan, Elevate Ventures will increase the total number of entrepreneurs-in-residence, or EIRs, to two each in northeast, north-central and northwest Indiana. The EIRs provide mentoring and other assistance to startups and existing companies.

Elevate Ventures also will launch a grant program for high-potential startups, and it will expand its "economic gardening" program — designed to help advance existing companies — to include additional services and an executive roundtable.

For more information about Elevate Ventures and the regional entrepreneurship action plan, go to www.elevateventures.com.