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Elevate Southwest Indiana Partnership to Boost Innovation

October 10, 2017

EVANSVILLE, IND.,Elevate Ventures and the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana celebrated a three-year multi-million-dollar partnership on Oct. 10. Known as “Elevate Southwest Indiana,” the goal of the partnership is to develop a culture and infrastructure of sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship in the Southwest Indiana region.


The terms of the agreement include an up to $1.5 million matching contribution by Elevate Ventures and $1 million from the community. These contributions are to support innovation and entrepreneurial activities, and are the beginning of a long-term effort to encourage business start-up and investment. Elevate Ventures brings investments in local businesses, portfolio services, events for entrepreneurs and investors, marketing support, business coaching, access to professional resources and more.

“The partnership was developed to accelerate the culture of high-potential, early-stage companies and be a venture capital investing source for appropriate opportunities,” Bob Myer, chairman of the board of Elevate Southwest Indiana, says. “We’re excited to see key business leaders and venture-related organizations come together with not only a vision but also statewide capital and expertise. These are the kinds of assets that can multiply entrepreneurial successes and increase the prosperity of the Southwest region.”

Members of the Elevate Southwest Indiana board are as follows:

  • Carl Chapman, Vectren
  • Greg Folz, Research Institute of Deaconess Clinic
  • Bob Jones, Old National Bank
  • Bob Myer, Entrepreneur/Investor
  • Mark Schroeder, German American Bancorp
  • Eric Steele, Elevate Ventures
  • Greg Wathen, Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana

“Communities and regions across the country are looking at ways to stimulate as well as capitalize upon entrepreneurial activity. We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel. Our goal was to partner with the organization or initiative that was best positioned in that space in Indiana, and that organization is Elevate Ventures,” says Greg Wathen, President and CEO of the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana.

Mark A. Schroeder, Chairman and CEO of German American Bancorp, says that the partnership addresses the two largest hurdles to entrepreneurship in the present environment: the availability of an ecosystem that supports startup and mid-stage companies and, most importantly, access to capital for those companies.

“Many of today’s leading regional businesses were formed in the 1940s and 1950s, during a period where locally owned, entrepreneurially managed companies were prevalent. This presence of other entrepreneurs encouraged others to make the leap to start their own business and also provided a source of counsel for these aspiring entrepreneurs. Additionally, access to capital was more readily available in those times due to less onerous regulatory requirements,” Schroeder says.

Stakeholders and leaders in Southwest Indiana representing a range of interests were involved in the decision to join forces with Elevate Ventures. Official partners include the following:

  • German American Bank
  • Koch Industries
  • Old National Bank
  • Vectren Corp.

“Decades from now, successful communities will be the ones that made a long-term bet on entrepreneurship and innovation. In Southwest Indiana, we won’t be creating a new culture. Instead, we will be tapping into the natural entrepreneurship and innovation that have been here for decades but needs to accelerate,” says Chris LaMothe, CEO of Elevate Ventures.

Indiana’s business environment is ranked among the best in the world, yet the state’s entrepreneurship and innovation performance is failing to keep pace. Indiana ranks near the bottom for job creation (44th) and share of total employment (42nd) for firms less than six years old. And the Kauffman Entrepreneurial Index (a leading indicator of new business creation in the United States) lists Indiana as No. 44 out of 50. Region by region, Elevate Ventures is focusing on advancing entrepreneurship and innovation to bridge the wide gap between Indiana’s celebrated business environment and its potential to thrive.





About Elevate Ventures:

Elevate Ventures is a private venture development organization that nurtures and develops emerging and existing high-potential businesses into high-performing, Indiana-based companies. Elevate Ventures accomplishes this by providing access to capital, rigorous business analysis and robust advisory services that connect companies with the right mix of resources businesses need to succeed long term. As a not-for-profit organization, Elevate Ventures offers unbiased, in-depth perspective and recommendations. Learn more about Elevate Ventures at


About the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana:

The Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana acts as the marketing arm and regional economic development organization for Gibson, Posey, Vanderburgh, and Warrick Counties in Southwest Indiana facilitating attraction activities and supporting efforts to enhance the business climate through regional capacity building. Since its formation in late 2006, the Coalition has helped to secure over $3.2 billion in new investment and 4,063 new jobs from existing and new companies such as Haier America, Berry Plastics, Mead Johnson, Toyota Boshoku, Midwest Fertilizer Corporation and AT&T. To learn more, visit