Indiana awards community grants | Don’t Miss This

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Economic Development Corporation has announced $500,000 in grant awards to accelerate entrepreneurial activity and resources statewide through a pilot of its new Community Collaboration Fund (CCF).

This investment will help power 16 community-led projects focused on entrepreneurial education, connection and acceleration across Indiana, with a particular focus on underrepresented founders and underserved markets.

“Indiana has been recognized as the best state in the U.S. to start a business, and we’re leaning in even further to ensure that all Hoosiers have equal access and opportunity in their entrepreneurial journey,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce David Rosenberg. “The Community Collaboration Fund is yet another resource that community-focused entrepreneur organizations across the state can leverage to provide direct support to aspiring entrepreneurs, startups and growing small businesses and to help ensure the continued success of Hoosier innovators statewide.”

This is the first round of grants awarded through CCF, which is designed to support the growth of Indiana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by inspiring new programming and new collaborations between entrepreneur support organizations.

The IEDC launched an initial pilot program of CCF this summer, inviting entrepreneur support organizations to submit small business-focused services and programming for funding awards between $5,000-40,000 (requiring at least a 25% match from the project).

From the submissions, 16 projects were selected based on their abilities to fill gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, work across community boundaries, and support non-traditional markets, such as rural, women, minority and veteran entrepreneurs.

These 16 projects will increase resources and direct support for entrepreneurs across Indiana through a variety of programming, such as startup accelerators and pitch competitions, one-on-one coaching and group education, mentorship and entrepreneurial ecosystem navigation, and student entrepreneurial education.

“The ability to leverage the Community Collaboration Fund, along with the investment of our community partner organizations, will greatly accelerate our work to support and empower local entrepreneurs and big thinkers,” said Dan Robison, director of the Jackson County Chamber. “The launch of this program by the IEDC demonstrates the state’s commitment to connect and support all current and aspiring entrepreneurs as well as our local ecosystems throughout Indiana.”

The 16 entrepreneurial programs awarded funding include:


Launch Fishers and the Innovation Connector, which assists founders in Blackford, Boone, Delaware, Grant, Hamilton, Hancock, Henry, Jay, Madison, Marion and Randolph counties, will launch new media studios available at no cost to help entrepreneurs share their story throughout rural Indiana.


Lean Startup Academy & Pitch | Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce ($40,000 award)

The Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce will initiate a new project – Lean Startup Academy & Pitch – enabling 45 entrepreneurs in Bartholomew, Jackson and Jennings counties to participate in intensive programming to start their businesses and leverage their learnings to pitch investors for funding.

D.I.C.E. Challenge | Ripley County Community Foundation ($40,000 award)

The Ripley County Community Foundation created the D.I.C.E. (Dreams, Ingenuity, Creativity, Entrepreneurship) Challenge to inspire young people to learn about entrepreneurship and see small business creation and ownership as a viable career goal. CCF will help the organization provide high school students in Dearborn, Decatur, Franklin, Jefferson, Jennings, Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland counties with an entrepreneurial training program and regional pitch competition in preparation for the Innovate WithIN pitch competition.

In order to be eligible for funding, CCF projects must be a new initiative or an expansion of existing services; a collaboration between two or more support organizations, provide direct entrepreneur support; focus on entrepreneur education, connection or acceleration; provide at least a 25% funding match; have developed metrics and budgets; and be completed within nine months of funds being awarded.

CCF is one of many new entrepreneurship-focused initiatives the state has rolled out in recent months in an effort to further grow Indiana’s entrepreneurial activity and support the growth and success of startups and small businesses. Last year, the IEDC launched Entrepreneurship Indiana, an annual publication celebrating the entrepreneurial journey; this year, it expanded its staff and support programming through the Indiana Small Business Development Center; and in June, the organization launched ConnectIND, a digital portal available in 11 languages that is designed to increase support for entrepreneurs and founders.

About IEDC

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation leads the state of Indiana’s economic development efforts, helping businesses launch, grow and locate in the state.

Governed by a 15-member board chaired by Governor Eric J. Holcomb, the IEDC manages many initiatives, including performance-based tax credits, workforce training grants, innovation and entrepreneurship resources, public infrastructure assistance, and talent attraction and retention efforts.

For more information about the IEDC, visit

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