Elevate Ventures Kicks Off the Regional Entrepreneurship Action Plan (REAP) to Expand and Enhance Start Up Business Opportunities in Northern Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS, IN--(Marketwire - Nov 14, 2012) - Elevate Ventures (www.elevateventures.com), a venture development organization that manages the 21st Century Fund for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) and provides assistance, access to capital, and other resources to startups, announced earlier this month the official launch of the Regional Entrepreneurship Action Plan (REAP). The REAP is a regional initiative that supports innovation, entrepreneurial activity and associated economic growth opportunities throughout the northern regions of Indiana. With $7.95M already committed from regional and state funders, the REAP aims to raise a total of $18M, which will be distributed over the next three years.

The REAP is the next phase of Elevate Ventures' Quick Start program, which began October 2011 to provide the impetus for the regional, state and national fundraising efforts for the larger REAP initiative. The Quick Start program delivered the initial targeted assistance efforts to nurture and support promising high-growth companies in the northern regions of the state.

Under the 12 months of the original Quick Start program, Elevate helped over 70 companies and offered over 5,000 hours of assistance to such companies as RedPost, Polyfusion and Wolfpack Chassis in the Northern Indiana regions, providing such help as acting as a sounding board for ideas, making strategic introductions to other investors and assisting with business plans and funding pitches. In the last year, Elevate Ventures' deal flow and measurable entrepreneurial activity has increased from under 5% to nearly 40 percent.

"The launch of the REAP provides an exciting opportunity for Elevate Ventures to not only continue, but to expand by directly connecting 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," said Stephen Hourigan, CEO. "The $7.95M already committed means we can begin implementing a significant portion of the REAP, and we look forward to raising an additional $9M 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 the local economy just two years ago." 

Once the $18M has been raised and distributed to appropriate high-growth targets within the regions, the goal is to bring in more than $200M in additional investment and sales growth, create or retain over 3,000 jobs over a three-year period, and service approximately 160 high potential startups in the Northern Indiana regions.

With the launch of the REAP, Elevate will:

  • Increase Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) staffing
  • Launch a grant program for high-potential startups, and;
  • Add a follow-on assistance program for Elevate's Economic Gardening clients including additional services and an executive round table

Elevate Ventures is not the only advocate for programs like the REAP, which can have the ability to stimulate dramatic economic activity in communities not typically perceived to be innovation-driven. Other national organizations following similar approaches include Goldman Sachs with its 10,000 Small Businesses program, which is a $500M investment striving to help small businesses create jobs and economic opportunity by providing them with greater access to business education, financial capital and business support services. Recent Kauffman Foundation studies also show that over the last two decades high-growth firms have flourished in unexpected locations and industries.

"We have seen significant traction in developing and attracting innovative talent to the region since we started engaging in the local areas. Programs like those under Goldman Sachs and studies like the Kauffman Foundation's continue to support that what we're doing in just a few communities could be replicated across the nation. We're already transforming the economic picture in northern Indiana, and it's entirely possible that that transformation is not limited to within Indiana communities," said Hourigan.

About Elevate

Elevate Ventures (www.elevateventures.com) nurtures and develops emerging and existing high-potential businesses into high-performing, Indiana-based companies. Elevate accomplishes this by providing rigorous business analysis and robust advisory services that connect companies with the resources they need to succeed long-term. A not-for-profit organization, Elevate provides more than just capital as it partners with entrepreneurs, investors and other Indiana local and state organizations to ensure the best return on investment. 

For more information on the REAP, visit http://www.elevateventures.com/programs/northern-indiana-reap

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