We’re invested in YOU.

We invest in the Founder and support them with community, mentors, and money. While we want you to have a great business idea, we are more interested in whether you have the GRIT, GUTS, and HEART to succeed as an entrepreneur. If you are this kind of person, we are excited to welcome you into our community and to provide you with mentoring to help you succeed!

Grant applications for the Fortitude Fund are currently closed! Join the community so we can notify you when grant applications open up again soon.

What we’re looking for.

Think Big

The Fortitude Fund was established with the ability to provide $1,000 grants for Founders’ who are thinking big, with plans to address a large and growing market (ideally with global or national reach). Grants are targeted for high potential, high-growth business ideas and start-ups that align with the Region and State interests in: Agriculture, life sciences, information technology, advanced manufacturing or medical devices.

Think Local

Grants are also available for businesses that will make a significant impact on our region’s quality of life. Through initiatives like Vision 2030 and the Road to One Million, we know that our quality of life is important to talent attraction and retention – and that regional businesses can have a significant effect. Businesses must be headquartered in Northeast Indiana (Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells or Whitley county.)

Think Beyond

Our initial grant is just the beginning. Access to additional capital and financial support is provided by our Region’s Entrepreneur in Residence who helps Founders find equity investment from Elevate Ventures, from angel investors or venture capitalists.

Big & Bold

We look for founders or early-stage ventures that have growth potential. Since we want to move the needle on regional economic growth, we prefer founders who have a plan for growth.

Skin in the

Those who are actively engaging their customers (or ideally making sales) or building a product or a prototype. We are much less likely to approve a grant for a founder who is waiting for $1,000 before they start doing anything.

Community Engagement.

We look for founders who engage with the Fortitude Community. That could be by attending Fortitude events, following and being actively engaged in our social media or online community, and more.

Are You Ready for a Fortitude Fund grant?

We prefer early stage companies with some level of customer engagement that confirms a compelling customer need. Your venture does not need to be fully selling, although that certainly helps, but it should be able to demonstrate that customers have verified a strong need for its product or service.
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