Indianapolis, Ind. (August 30, 2022) — Elevate Ventures today launched Elevate Me, a program focused on supporting Black, Brown, and women entrepreneurs. This new program offers one-on-one consulting, pathways to resources, connections to entrepreneurship support organizations and investments.
“With Elevate Me, we plan to reduce barriers for historically underserved entrepreneurs who are launching and growing innovation-driven startups in Indiana,” said Christopher Day, CEO of Elevate Ventures.
Elevate Me will also serve as a complement to a new investment capital initiative managed by Elevate Ventures, which will target the deployment of $13 million for traditionally underserved high-growth, high-potential companies, entrepreneurs, and startups in Indiana. The basis for eligibility for these funds will be geographic, demographic and/or socioeconomic, including those companies owned and controlled by Black, Brown and women founders, in addition to other qualifying businesses.
Titi Obasanya, entrepreneur-in-residence at Elevate Ventures, is spearheading Elevate Me. Obasanya has held early discussions with organizations and key community leaders to understand gaps in the ecosystem and how Elevate can work alongside or partner with them to close the gaps. A few of the community leaders include Karrah Herring, J.D. (State of Indiana | Office of Governor Eric J. Holcomb), Kelli Jones (Sixty8 Capital), Nida Ansari (The Heritage Group Accelerator), Emil Ekiyor (InnoPower), Daryle Johnson (Midstates Minority Supplier Development Council- MSDC), Mike Asem (M25), and Dr. Nick Mmbag (Butler University).
“The words Elevate Me define our new program succinctly. We want to give minority and women founders a leg up,” said Obasanya. “The disparity in funding within minority groups is currently being addressed through multiple stakeholder interventions, but this isn’t sufficient to close the gap. As a result, there’s a need for more VCs to play within this space. This is our why.”
Historically underserved entrepreneurs are members of a group that has been marginalized or received limited benefit from the entrepreneurial ecosystem, such as minorities and women. In 2021, according to PitchBook only 2.4% of venture capital in the United States went to companies founded solely by women, and according to Crunchbase Diversity Spotlight, 1.3% went to Black-founded startups and 2.1% to Latinx-founded startups.
Anyone working with or supporting minority or women founders can connect with Obasanya by visiting the Elevate Me webpage.