Indiana Boosts Funding to Support Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Indiana Boosts Funding to Support Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC) announces increased funding for venture development and the creation of a new pre-seed fund to enhance the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The IEDC has unveiled new initiatives aimed at bolstering entrepreneurship and innovation in Indiana. These efforts include a significant increase in annual funding for venture development in partnership with Elevate Ventures, an Indianapolis-based venture firm, as well as the establishment of a $3 million pre-seed fund. With these measures, the IEDC aims to double the number of state-supported venture development investments each year and further strengthen Indiana’s entrepreneurial landscape.

Boosting Venture Development Funding:

The IEDC has renewed its professional services agreement with Elevate Ventures, providing the firm with over $6.5 million in funding, a 40% increase from the previous fiscal year. This funding boost aims to build upon the state’s recent success in surpassing the $1 billion mark for venture activity and Elevate Ventures’ record-breaking investments in Indiana startups, totaling $22.8 million in 2022.

Elevate Ventures Launches Pre-Seed Fund:

In collaboration with the state, Elevate Ventures is launching a $3 million pre-seed fund to support early-stage companies. This fund will replace the Community Ideation Fund and the Elevate Nexus Pitch Competitions, nearly doubling the annual investment in early-stage companies. The pre-seed fund will provide investments ranging from $20,000 to $100,000 and will not require matching dollars. The aim is to provide more funding opportunities for founders and startups, enabling them to transition from pre-seed to seed-stage investment.

Expanding Small Business Innovation Grant Program:

Indiana is expanding its Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) matching grant program. Previously, the state only provided matching grants for ideation-stage companies that received SBIR/STTR Phase 1 grants from the federal government. Now, the program will also cover Phase 2 grants. The Applied Research Institute in Indianapolis will manage the program, along with the Small Business Innovation Voucher program, taking over from Elevate Ventures. This move is expected to increase Indiana’s chances of receiving federal awards for startups and small businesses.

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Modernizing Regional Startup Support:

The IEDC and Elevate Ventures are working together to modernize their model for fostering startup activity on a regional level. Elevate Ventures will eliminate its requirement for local communities to complete a fund raise to gain access to investment opportunities. This change aims to streamline the process and make it easier for communities to access funding for local startups.

Expanding Small Business Development Center Network:

The IEDC has committed $2 million to expand its network of 10 Indiana Small Business Development Center regional offices. This expansion includes adding more business advisors and ecosystem navigators to help entrepreneurs, innovators, and startups connect with resources. These offices have already assisted over 6,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses this year, and the goal is to increase their capacity to serve all businesses in all 92 counties of Indiana.

Conclusion: Indiana’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurship and innovation is evident in the increased funding for venture development and the establishment of a new pre-seed fund. By partnering with Elevate Ventures and expanding the Small Business Innovation Grant Program, the state aims to attract more venture capital investment and foster the growth of startups and small businesses. With these initiatives, Indiana is positioning itself as a hub for innovation and a desirable destination for entrepreneurs.