Startup South Bend – Elkhart Launches $50,000 Proof of Concept Fund Giving Regional Startups a Financial Boost

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (April 18, 2019)- Startup South Bend – Elkhart, a committee of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership, has officially launched the Startup South Bend – Elkhart Proof of Concept Fund. This $50,000 proof of concept (PoC) fund will provide financial support to entrepreneurs located in the South Bend – Elkhart region, allowing them to explore the viability and potential of an innovative concept or idea.

The Startup South Bend – Elkhart Proof of Concept Fund is managed and supported by Startup South Bend – Elkhart and is part of an integrated partnership with Indianapolis based venture development organization, Elevate Ventures.

“Early stage PoC funds are essential for entrepreneurs to test, validate, build, learn and ultimately advance their startups to a point where pre-seed funding is a reality,” said Elevate Ventures Entrepreneurial Engagement Director, Gavin Ferlic. “The availability of this resource in our community gives entrepreneurs a full suite of early stage funding opportunities and continues to make the South Bend – Elkhart region and ideal location for launching a startup.”

To apply for the PoC funds, entrepreneurs are required to present their idea to the Mentorship subcommittee of Startup South Bend – Elkhart. The PoC funds will then be distributed in small amounts, up to $2,000, depending on the needs of the entrepreneur and startup.

“PoC funding is critical to ensuring that an idea develops from the planning phase into the startup phase,” said John Miller, Vice Chairman of Startup South Bend – Elkhart’s Board of Directors and Chairman of the Mentorship subcommittee. “In providing these resources, startups at various stages are able to reach new milestones, like securing a first order or customer, thus further validating their idea.”

In order to be eligible for funding, entrepreneurs must live in the South Bend – Elkhart region, which includes Elkhart, Marshall, and St. Joseph Counties in Northern Indiana and Berrien and Cass counties in Southwest Michigan.

“Establishing a proof of concept fund is essential to our Region’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Catlin Bulger, Startup Ecosystem Manager for the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership. “This fund will allow entrepreneurs to make advancements towards creating a market-ready product through further market validation and prototyping.”

Those interested in pitching for the PoC funds should submit an inquiry on the Get Engaged page of the Startup South Bend – Elkhart website: ( Inquiries are accepted on a rolling basis and funds will be available until fully executed. For questions related to the Startup South Bend – Elkhart Proof of Concept Fund, please contact Catlin Bulger.

About Startup South Bend – Elkhart
Startup South Bend – Elkhart was formed by the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership (SBERP) with a mission to promote and foster the creation of an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the South Bend – Elkhart Region by stimulating the entrepreneurial spirit and culture in our citizens, identifying and nurturing new business startups and supporting the growth of existing high potential businesses. For more information about Startup South Bend – Elkhart, visit

About Elevate Ventures
Elevate Ventures is a private venture development organization that nurtures and develops emerging and existing high-growth 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. For more information about Elevate Ventures, visit