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Indiana launches new entrepreneurship initiative

Statement issued Thursday:

WINONA LAKE, Ind. (March 3, 2011) – Joined by state and local economic leaders, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation today unveiled its INVEST Indiana initiative designed to attract new resources and increase access to capital for Indiana entrepreneurs. Through resources from Indiana’s 21st Century Research and Technology Fund (21 Fund), the IEDC will create a new, statewide entrepreneurial network to engage private sector investors and regional stakeholders to encourage the creation and support of high-growth companies.

“Homegrown companies drive our regional economies and support necessary community causes,” said Kip Tom, managing member of Tom Farms and board member of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. “We need to make sure that the current innovators of the next Biomet, ExactTarget or Cook have the early-stage support and capital they need to accelerate their growth here versus in Massachusetts, California or even China.”

The 21 Fund is Indiana’s key initiative to support entrepreneurship and innovation and to date, the 21 Fund has made over 400 awards to companies since 2006. The INVEST Indiana initiative will expand upon the 21 Fund’s investment and service capacities to engage new, nontraditional sources of capital and provide new ventures access to experienced entrepreneurs for assistance.

The network and services will be conducted through Elevate Ventures, a new nonprofit commissioned to attract new investment partners and to work with local stakeholders to cultivate a robust entrepreneurial environment throughout the state.

“This public-private model incorporates the best aspects of other national models developed in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Oklahoma as it engages private and public sector participation and makes Indiana eligible for more resources for entrepreneurs,” Mark Becker, executive director of the Northeast Indiana Fund and a member of Indiana’s Interim Legislative Study Committee that was presented several concepts to encourage entrepreneurship including this one.

Through Elevate Ventures, state leaders believe that they could attract an additional $30 million in matching federal and private funding to support entrepreneurial efforts throughout the state with the continued support of the General Assembly.

As an example of the type of impact Elevate Ventures could have across the state, Jumpstart Inc., a nonprofit from Northeast Ohio, recently formed a partnership with the United States Economic Development Administration, the Knight Foundation and the Surdna Foundation to attract $1.3 million in funding to develop regional entrepreneurial action plans for Indiana’s northern regions. Through Elevate, similar partnerships would be developed to produce regional plans for the rest of the state.

“Indiana innovators need capital and experienced talent to create sustainable ventures. Today marks the first step in developing a world-class entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout Indiana. We must remain committed to this effort to sustain and grow our communities,” said Toby Buck, chief executive officer of Paragon Medical.

About IEDC

Created by Governor Mitch Daniels in 2005 to replace the former Department of Commerce, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation is governed by a 12-member board chaired by Governor Daniels. Mitch Roob serves as the chief executive officer of the IEDC. For more information about IEDC, visit www.iedc.in.gov.

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