Grants Awarded to Indiana Higher Education Institutions to Support Entrepreneurial Programming

Grants Awarded to Indiana Higher Education Institutions to Support Entrepreneurial Programming


September 2, 2020

Four universities in Indiana have been awarded a total of $200,000 in grants to launch and improve entrepreneurship programming within their institutions and communities.

The 2020 Elevate Nexus Higher Education Grant recipients were Butler University, Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington, Taylor University and the University of Indianapolis. Each received $50,000.

Grant proposals included strategies regarding how the higher education institution would locate, cultivate and educate innovation-driven entrepreneurs; how the community would be engaged; and how the programming would continue beyond the life of the grant. Grant recipients were selected by Elevate Ventures and Elevate Nexus leadership.

Below are summaries of the winning proposals:

  • Butler University: Establish The Loop, a student and recent graduate-run innovation development program within the Butler University Innovation Lab. The Loop will offer an in-person and online Testplace designed to amplify student and community idea development through experimentation.
  • Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington: Develop and expand existing entrepreneurial services at the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington to the statewide Ivy Tech network of campuses to increase engagement in entrepreneurship ecosystems statewide.
  • Taylor University: Establish a competitive entrepreneurship fellowship which provides mentorship, custom training, spiritual and professional coaching, and follow-on support for selected students who commit to participate in extra-curricular fellowship activities.
  • University of Indianapolis: Support the existing DesignSpine engineering entrepreneurship program of the R.B. Annis School of Engineering as well as promote innovation-driven entrepreneurs across the university by providing avenues and resources to take the entrepreneurs’ ideas to the next level.

“Ivy Tech Community College is pleased to be a partner in the Elevate Nexus Higher Education Grant program and enhance our ability to provide our students, faculty, staff and alumni pathways to advance entrepreneurial ideas,” said Jennie Vaughan, chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington. “We look forward to working to provide more innovation-based learning modules for our Entrepreneurial Studies program, add pitch competitions at additional campuses statewide and bring our stakeholders into the Elevate Ventures pipeline over the next several years.”

NaShara Mitchell, Innovation Lab Director and Lecturer of Entrepreneurship and Innovation from Butler University said, “Testing ideas is critically important to startup development and refinement. Using workshops, design sprints, rapid prototyping, and other feedback-based efforts, the Butler Innovation Lab is pleased to engage students across all majors in creating replicable, in-person and tech-enabled opportunities to explore, strengthen and advance emerging concepts.”

Elevate Nexus Higher Education Grants are made possible through a partnership with the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The first grant recipients were announced in 2019, and a total of $200,000 will be granted annually through 2021. The funding will enable higher education institutions to launch or improve programming to grow startups across Indiana.

To receive up-to-date information on Elevate Nexus and community program and funding opportunities as they roll out, sign up for the Elevate Nexus newsletter.

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