Indiana Boosts Funding to Support Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Indiana Boosts Funding to Support Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. announces increased funding and new initiatives to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in the state.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC) has unveiled plans to enhance its support for innovation and entrepreneurship in Indiana. The initiatives include increased funding for venture development in partnership with Elevate Ventures, the creation of a $3 million pre-seed fund, and the expansion of the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) matching grant program. These efforts aim to double the number of state-supported venture investments and further strengthen Indiana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Boost in Funding for Venture Development:

The IEDC has renewed its professional services agreement with Indianapolis-based venture firm Elevate Ventures, increasing the funding by 40% to over $6.5 million. This boost in funding will build on the state’s success in surpassing the $1 billion mark for venture activity in the last two years. Elevate Ventures also achieved a record year of investments in Indiana startups, reaching $22.8 million in 2022. The partnership between the state and Elevate Ventures has played a crucial role in attracting private sector capital and de-risking early-stage investments in Indiana’s founders and entrepreneurs.

New $3 Million Pre-Seed Fund:

In collaboration with Elevate Ventures, the IEDC is launching a $3 million pre-seed fund to provide new funding opportunities for early-stage companies. This fund will replace the Community Ideation Fund and the Elevate Nexus Pitch Competitions. The pre-seed fund will offer investments ranging from $20,000 to $100,000 and will not require matching dollars. This change will eliminate the restrictions and limitations that existed with the previous funding programs, allowing startups and founders to access investment at any time during the year.

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Expansion of SBIR/STTR Matching Grant Program:

The IEDC is expanding its SBIR/STTR matching grant program to cover Phase 2 grants in addition to Phase 1 grants. Previously, the state only provided matching grants for ideation-stage companies that received Phase 1 grants from the federal government. The Applied Research Institute in Indianapolis will now manage the program, as well as the Small Business Innovation Voucher program. This expansion aims to increase Indiana’s share of federal awards for startups and small businesses by leveraging the institute’s expertise and relationships with universities.

Modernizing the Regional Startup Activity Model:

The IEDC and Elevate Ventures are working together to modernize the model for fostering startup activity on a regional level. Elevate Ventures will eliminate its requirement for local communities to complete a fundraise to gain access to investment opportunities. This change will streamline the process and make it easier for communities to access funding for their local startups. Additionally, the IEDC has committed $2 million to expand its network of Indiana Small Business Development Center regional offices. The goal is to provide more support and resources to entrepreneurs, innovators, and startups across all 92 counties in Indiana.

Conclusion:

Indiana’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurship and innovation is evident in the increased funding and new initiatives announced by the IEDC. By partnering with Elevate Ventures and expanding existing programs, the state aims to double the number of venture investments and attract more external venture capital. These efforts will not only benefit startups and founders but also contribute to the overall growth of Indiana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. With a focus on providing access to capital, resources, and opportunities, Indiana is positioning itself as a global leader in fostering innovation-driven entrepreneurship.

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