Welcome to the Elkhart Rotary Club Meeting on February 18, 2019; Today we welcomed Elevate Ventures’ Entrepreneurial Engagement Director for the South Bend – Elkhart Region, Gavin Ferlic.

President Peter Norton opened the meeting and introduced Thad Naquin, who shared positive words, led the Pledge, and our Four Way Test.

Eric Garton introduced our Club Member Guests: Lou Ann Welsh, event director at Lex 530, guest of Tom Pletcher; Sophie Metzger, program officer at the Community Foundation of Elkhart County, guest of Candy Yoder; Dave Miller, Mayoral Candidate for City of Elkhart, guest of Aaron Clow; Chris Chalman, administrator at the new Hellenic Senior Living of Elkhart, guest of Eric Garton; Janet Evanega, Wellfield Botanic Gardens Board of Directors, guest of Jim Rieckhoff, and Nick Thomas, guest of Fran Conner.

Important announcements from February 18:

  • Eric Garton announced, on behalf of the Taste of the Gardens Committee, that the FIRST MEETING of the year will be on Monday, February 25 at 11 a.m., immediately preceding our club meeting, in the back meeting room at Matterhorn.
  • On behalf of the Marketing Committee, Eric Garton reminded the club that speakers are scheduled through April and can be found on the Website AND your ClubRunner App! Our quality speakers and their topics are great ways to encourage guests at our meetings and helps to share the information in our community. A reminder: if you need help adding the ClubRunner app to your device, please ask a member of the committee such as Eric Garton or Erin Wagler, they're happy to help you out!
  • President Peter Norton asked the club for volunteers to be MENTORS to new and incoming club members; it's a key portion of club membership retention and a great way to share your enthusiasm for serving the community with others. Please contact Peter directly.
Today's Sergeant Doug Thorne, who did a great job of poking some fun to raise some FUNDS! Doug penalized sports fans and alumni from around the region - - not sure it mattered whether your college team was a winner or loser! Rotary fines are collected weekly and are pooled into a fund. In the spring approximately $10,000 is distributed as grants to not for profit organizations around our county.

Today's speaker was Gavin Ferlic, Elevate Ventures’ Entrepreneurial Engagement Director for the South Bend – Elkhart Region. As an 'Entrepreneur-in-Residence,' or EIR, Gavin provides first-time entrepreneurs with business advisory services to help them navigate the uncharted waters of starting a business, from launch to exit and every decision in between. 

Elevate Ventures is the most active venture capital group in the Great Lakes Region and one of the top 10 groups in the world. Elevate focuses on businesses with high potential and high growth, focusing on selection factors such as businesses with $500m budgets and intellectual property that needs protecting. Here is some additional information from Elevate Venture's website:

At Elevate Ventures, we believe that communities and regions across Indiana can achieve more when they make entrepreneurism part of their DNA.

  • Indiana has a business environment ranked among the best in the world, and statewide leaders in business, education and government are increasingly interested in entrepreneurism’s potential to elevate quality of life and attract and retain talent in communities big and small. The moment to capitalize is now.
  • Elevate Ventures exists to create sustainable cultures and infrastructure across Indiana that support the ongoing development and success of entrepreneurs. Our vision is to be regarded as a critical guide, resource and community catalyst for developing high-performing, high-growth, Indiana-based businesses.

A hybrid approach:

  • Elevate is not one thing or another. Our hybrid approach to the challenge of growing entrepreneurism helps define who we are and how we are different: we are part venture capital fund, and part entrepreneurial development partner. This twofold strategy means we not only provide investment capital to Indiana entrepreneurs and robust investment opportunities to funders, but we also make value-added services available to entrepreneurs and community leaders. Collaborative relationships with universities and communities across the state are critical to this model.
  • On a tactical level, Elevate Ventures plays a role in a number of ways. Consider these likely scenarios:
    • First-time entrepreneurs receive guidance from experts — our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence — to navigate the often-messy process of starting their businesses.
    • High-growth startups obtain critical funding that makes it possible to overcome their first barriers to launch.
    • Indiana-based early-stage companies seek and find investors from Elevate Ventures’ network of fund managers and angel groups across the state, propelling them further.
    • Employees of Elevate Ventures’ portfolio companies earn higher salaries, elevating their quality of life and impacting regions statewide.
    • Startups that seek funding and become Elevate Ventures portfolio companies are acquired. Such successful exits result in worthwhile returns for entrepreneurs and co-investors, and tend to spawn new companies, as employees embark on ventures of their own. And Indiana wins, as the returns also enable Elevate Ventures to support more entrepreneurial growth across the state.

Gavin concluded with brief Q&A. Thanks for a great presentation, Gavin, letting us know about Elevate Ventures and how it's making a difference in our region! If you'd like to learn more about Elevate Ventures, visit: https://www.elevateventures.com/

About Rotary:

Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, community leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and act to create lasting change – across the globe, in our local communities, and in ourselves. The Elkhart Rotary Club was founded in 1917 and serves its community through volunteerism, providing grants to not-for-profit organizations, sponsoring, and participating in service projects such as ringing bells for the Salvation Army, roadside trash collection, and are the originators and sustainers of Wellfield Botanic Gardens. Elkhart Rotary Club’s membership consists of approximately 150 dedicated individuals from various professional backgrounds and diverse interests. Membership in the Elkhart Rotary Club is by invitation. We welcome guests to attend any of our meetings and hear from our great lineup of weekly presenters.
For more information on the Elkhart Rotary Club, visit elkhartrotary.org or email elkhartnoonrotary@gmail.com. Like and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook/ElkhartRotaryClub to stay current on meetings, upcoming events or speakers, and initiatives in the community.
Upcoming Meetings and Programs:
  • February 25: Chris Snyder, Chief of the Elkhart Police Department
  • March 4: Dr. Steve Thalheimer, Superintendent of Elkhart Community Schools
  • March 11: Tami Silverman, President and CEO Indiana Youth Institute
  • March 18: Oaklawn Services and Community of Oaklawn Presentation
  • March 25: Jann Joseph, Chancellor, Indiana University South Bend
Join us for our next meeting:
All meetings are at noon on Mondays at the Matterhorn Banquet and Conference Center, 2041 Cassopolis St. in Elkhart IN, 46514. In months that include a FIFTH Monday, the Elkhart Rotary Club holds a dinner meeting (no presenter) at the same location.