Inside INdiana Business

Entrepreneurial grants awarded to higher education institutions

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – Four Hoosier universities have been awarded a total of $200,000 in grants to launch and improve entrepreneurship programming within their institutions and communities.

Indianapolis-based Elevate Ventures says the 2020 Elevate Nexus Higher Education Grant recipients include Butler University, Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington, Taylor University and the University of Indianapolis. Each school received $50,000.

Elevate Nexus is an Elevate Ventures initiative launched in 2019 to host pitch competitions where entrepreneurs compete for startup funding. The company says 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.”

“Testing ideas is critically important to startup development and refinement,” said NaShara Mitchell, Innovation Lab director at Butler University. “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.”

The winning proposals include:

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

Grant recipients were selected by Elevate Ventures and Elevate Nexus leadership. Elevate Nexus grants are made possible through the U.S. Economic Development Administration.


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