It’s one thing to build a chassis. But it’s quite another to build a chassis manufacturing company.
According to a report in the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Journal, entrepreneur wannabe Robert Frost knew how to do the former, but he wanted to do the latter. So Frost turned to business experts, including Elevate Ventures Inc., for advice.
The result: Kendallville-based Wolfpack Chassis LLC is launching a production line to manufacture chassis, the supporting frames for recreational vehicles and manufactured homes.
Frost, Wolfpack’s president and CEO, said the company might never have gotten off the ground without guidance – and greenbacks – from Elevate Ventures, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit.
“As a startup business, there are a lot of distractions that can cause you to lose sight of your target,” Frost said. “But our partnership with Elevate has allowed us to stay focused on doing what we do best, which is building quality chassis and adding value for customers.”
Created in 2011, Elevate Ventures manages $80 million for the state, including more than $34 million in federal funds received under the State Small Business Credit Initiative.
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Elevate Ventures, a venture development organization that manages the 21st Century Fund for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) and provides assistance, access to capital, and other resources to startups, announced earlier this month the official launch of the Regional Entrepreneurship Action Plan (REAP).
According to a press release, REAP is a regional initiative that supports innovation, entrepreneurial activity and associated economic growth opportunities throughout the northern regions of Indiana. With $7.95 million already committed from regional and state funders, the REAP aims to raise a total of $18 million, which will be distributed over the next three years.
The REAP is the next phase of Elevate Ventures’ Quick Start program, which began October 2011 to provide the impetus for the regional, state and national fundraising efforts for the larger REAP initiative. The Quick Start program delivered the initial targeted assistance efforts to nurture and support promising high-growth companies in the northern regions of the state.
Under the 12 months of the original Quick Start program, Elevate helped over 70 companies and offered over 5,000 hours of assistance to such companies as RedPost, Polyfusion and Wolfpack Chassis in the northern Indiana regions, providing such help as acting as a sounding board for ideas, making strategic introductions to other investors and assisting with business plans and funding pitches. In the last year, Elevate Ventures’ deal flow and measurable entrepreneurial activity has increased from under 5% to nearly 40%.
“The launch of the REAP provides an exciting opportunity for Elevate Ventures to not only continue, but to expand by directly connecting emerging and existing high potential businesses in Indiana with funding options and resources. With the development of this kind of entrepreneurial environment, we ultimately hope to create thousands of local jobs and a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Stephen Hourigan, CEO. “The $7.95 million already committed means we can begin implementing a significant portion of the REAP, and we look forward to raising an additional $9 million from national funders to match the State and regional investments. We have already seen tremendous progress with startups in this region, as compared to the state of the local economy just two years ago.”
Once the $18 million has been raised and distributed to appropriate high-growth targets within the regions, the goal is to bring in more than $200 million in additional investment and sales growth, create or retain over 3,000 jobs over a three-year period, and service approximately 160 high potential startups in the Northern Indiana regions.