$2.5 Million “Elevate Northeast Indiana” Partnership Feted

A multi-million-dollar escalation in the partnership between Elevate Ventures and The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership was celebrated Oct. 2 during a news conference and reception. “Elevate Northeast Indiana” is a three-year, $2.5 million partnership designed to boost entrepreneurship and innovation in the region through "Entrepreneurial Culture Shock".

John Sampson, President and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, says his organization has been an active supporter of Elevate Ventures since its inception. Sampson has also participated on Elevate Ventures’ advisory board for Northeast Indiana.

“The new partnership with Elevate should increase regional buy-in, and the funding opportunities for Elevate should increase collaboration throughout entrepreneurial endeavors in Northeast Indiana,” he says. “This partnership leverages Elevate’s considerable startup experience with greater ownership and control by regional players with a vested interest in the growth of startup firms in Northeast Indiana.”

“As my good friend and a fellow board member says, ‘Northeast Indiana has gotten its swagger back!’ We were once a hotbed of entrepreneurial success. With the synergy of the partnership between Elevate Ventures and the Northeast Indiana Region, we are about to be a hotbed of entrepreneurial success once again,” says Marilyn Moran-Townsend, CEO of CVC Communications and Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Elevate Northeast Indiana. "We will focus on Entrepreneurial Culture Shock…how we can become a magnet for entrepreneurs because we are collaborative, welcoming and barrier-breaking," she adds.

The terms of the agreement, signed in April 2017, include a $1.5 million contribution by Elevate Ventures and $1 million from the community. These contributions will support entrepreneurial activities designed to endure beyond the initial term. Initiatives will include investments in local businesses, portfolio services, events for entrepreneurs and investors, marketing support, business coaching, access to professional resources and more.

Elevate Northeast Indiana is a more robust, formal continuation of Elevate Ventures’ presence and role in the region to drive entrepreneurship and innovation. The development of Elevate Northeast Indiana supports Elevate Venture’s overall mission to create sustainable cultures and infrastructure across Indiana that support the ongoing development and success of entrepreneurs. Northeast Indiana is ripe for this sort of change.

Stakeholders and leaders in Northeast Indiana representing a range of interests are involved in the decision to join forces with Elevate Ventures.

Official partners include the following:

  • Ambassador Enterprises
  • Fort Wayne Metals
  • Huntington University
  • Lake City Bank
  • Michael Davidson
  • Micropulse Inc.
  • The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership
  • Old National Bank
  • Olive B. Cole Foundation Inc.
  • Parkview Health
  • Ultra Electronics USSI

Indiana’s business environment is ranked among the best in the world, yet the state’s entrepreneurship and innovation performance is failing to keep pace. Indiana ranks No. 44 for job creation and No. 42 for its share of total employment for firms less than six years old.

Additionally, the Kauffman Entrepreneurial Index, a leading indicator of new business creation in the United States, lists Indiana as No. 44 out of 50. Region-by-region, Elevate Ventures is focusing on advancing entrepreneurship and innovation to bridge the wide gap between Indiana’s celebrated business environment and its potential to thrive.

While each regional partnership is tailored to the community’s assets, needs, business base, education ecosystem and other factors, Elevate Ventures’ regional partnerships are all designed to address some common, statewide challenges that are preventing regions from thriving. Those challenges include the following:

  • A shortage of regional networks of leaders and entrepreneurs jointly focused on growing entrepreneurship and innovation
  • A lack of access to later-stage funding for potential high-growth businesses
  • The exit of young talent to other states
  • A need for public and private universities to aggressively engage in entrepreneurship and innovation in their communities

The absence of a bold, well-supported plan around which stakeholders can rally