A program to spark entrepreneurial growth in northern Indiana launched this week.
The initiative is being led by Indianapolis-based Elevate Ventures, which provides business development, investment and advisory services to start-up and emerging companies.
The new initiative is based on the Regional Entrepreneurship Action Plan, which Elevate Ventures formed to facilitate the development of high-growth firms.
The agency has partnered with Ohio-based JumpStart on the new initiative. Part of the launch is to raise $18 million in northern Indiana for a three-year period. Of that total, $9 million will be provided by national funders, $6 million from Elevate Ventures, the 21st Century Fund and other state capital programs, and $3 million from regional organizations and investors.
JumpStart is a nonprofit that supports entrepreneurship. The 21st Century Fund supports early-stage business development.
"Right now we're talking to a variety of foundations across the state because JumpStart is working on bringing national foundations in," said Steve Hourigen, CEO of Elevate Ventures. "We're asking for a $1 million commitment from Northwest Indiana that is going to last over three years."
Hourigen said support for entrepreneurs is necessary because they bring about job creation.
"The high-growth companies are where the average wage is going to be significantly greater than the Hoosier wage," he said. "We want to get back to what the governor's plan was originally, to the national base on wage. We're going to have to do something very constructive on the entrepreneurial side.
"We are in the knowledge economy, and that's where the higher wages are going to be."
Elevate Ventures was created a year ago by Gov. Mitch Daniels' Indiana Economic Development Corp. board to manage the 21st Century Fund, among other things.