Pre-Accelerator Opportunities

Elevate Origins Virtual Pre-Accelerator Program


Pre-Accelerator Opportunities


Beginning in January 2021, the Startup South Bend - Elkhart Pre-Accelerator program will be offered in partnership with Elevate Ventures three times over the course of the year. The Elevate Origins program will provide virtual group learning, one-on-one coaching and live pitch practice to startups at no cost to the entrepreneurs. Applications are open through January 29th for the Spring cohort and participants can choose from the Pre-Seed or Seed stage tracks to develop investor-ready pitch decks, executive summaries, and end up prepared to compete for investment funding.

Startup South Bend – Elkhart will continue to offer up to $2,000 Proof of Concept grants and mentorship opportunities to Elevate Origin participants who are ready to move their idea through prototyping or market validation.

About Elevate Origins


Elevate Origins Pre-Seed and Seed Programs provide virtual group learning, one-on-one coaching and live pitch practice to startups. The Elevate Origins Pre-Seed Program is specifically for startups that have not yet generated revenue. Aspiring entrepreneurs who may not have a business idea yet, or instructors of entrepreneurship classes that are looking to supplement their classwork with institutional investor-designed programming, are also encouraged to participate and will find value in the content.

The Elevate Origins Seed Program is reserved for revenue-generating startups and for life science companies that have completed pre-clinical trials. This training places a greater emphasis on developing business models, pitch decks, and executive summaries from lessons learned and data collected.

For both programs, participants will develop investor-ready pitch decks and executive summaries appropriate for their business stage. Ultimately, they will have all the tools needed to compete for an Elevate Nexus Pre-Seed or Seed Pitch Competition Award, where every year 35 investments ranging from $20,000-$100,000 are made in Indiana-based startups.

Elevate Origins is offered at no cost to the entrepreneurs. Funding to operate Elevate Origins comes from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and U.S. Economic Development Agency.


Pre-Seed Program


Have you ever dreamed of founding a startup but haven’t figured out where to start? Are you currently pursuing a business idea and need to recruit cofounders, investors, or customers? Are you successfully launching a startup but would value advice from those who have done it before? If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, this training is for you!

Participants will learn:

  • What it takes to be an entrepreneur and launch a startup
  • The ideation process to find impactful problems to solve
  • How to interview the market to validate the severity of the problem, market size, and current solutions for the problem (competition)
  • How to identify the optimal solution to the problem
  • Best practices in recruiting a team of cofounders and advisors
  • Expectations for early stage capital raising
  • How to build a go-to-market strategy; including business model, marketing/sales strategy, milestones, and the ask
  • How to put it all together in a 10-slide pitch deck and practice pitching

Graduates of the Elevate Origins Pre-Seed Program are well prepared to pitch for the Elevate Nexus Pre-Seed Pitch Competitions for chances to receive $20,000 in regional and $40,000 in statewide investments.

Elevate Origins applications are accepted all year with cohorts forming in the Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Seed Program


Your startup has a team in place and has begun selling. Or, if your startup is a life science company, you have begun pre-clinical trials. It’s now time to start putting the processes and resources in place to scale. This program is for early revenue startups or life science companies with pre-clinical trial results wanting to ensure they are organized and prepared to raise capital from the Elevate Nexus program, angels, and institutional investors.

Participants will learn:

  • Learn expectation for early-revenue startup fundraising
  • Develop and refine a pitch deck and executive summary tailored for seed round investors
  • Receive one-on-one coaching from Elevate Ventures Entrepreneurs-in-Residence
  • Have numerous pitch practice opportunities in front of peers and investment professionals

Graduates of the Elevate Origins Seed Program are well prepared to pitch for the Elevate Nexus Seed Pitch Competitions for chances to receive $80,000 in regional and $100,000 in statewide investments.
Applications are accepted all year with cohorts forming in the Spring and Fall.

A Note on Growth Stage Companies
Elevate Origins welcomes growth stage companies to participate in the Elevate Origins Seed Program although these companies may benefit greater from direct Entrepreneur-in-Residence assistance. To get started, select the topic “direct investment” in the Elevate Ventures application.

Elevate Origins


Spring Cohort Summer Cohort
Pre-Seed Only
All sessions are 9:00 AM-10:00 AM ET
All sessions are 10:00 AM-12:00 PM ET
January 29th May 21st August 13th Applications Due Applications Due
February 3rd May 26th August 18th Applicants Notified if Accepted Applicants Notified if Accepted
February 12th June 4th September 3rd Session 1: Onboarding & Intro to Entrepreneurial Mindset Session 1: Onboarding & Intro to Executive Summary
February 19th June 11th September 10th Session 2: Ideation & Business Model Innovation
February 26th June 18th September 17th Session 2: Creating a Winning Pitch Deck
March 5th June 25th September 24th Session 3: Intro to Executive Summary & Pitch Deck
March 12th July 2nd October 1st Session 3: Pitch Deck Iteration & How to Pitch Investors
April 2nd July 9th October 8th Session 4: Pitch Deck Iteration & How to Pitch Investors Session 4: Coaching & Peer Pitch Practice
April 9th July 16th October 15th Session 5: Coaching & Peer Pitch Practice Session 5: Pitch Deck Design & Peer Pitch Practice
April 16th July 23rd October 22nd Practice Pitch Day with Elevate Ventures

More About


The mission of Startup South Bend – Elkhart, a non-profit initiative of the South Bend Elkhart Regional Partnership is to promote and foster the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the South Bend – Elkhart region. Startup South Bend – Elkhart works to stimulate the entrepreneurial spirit and culture in the regional community, identify and nurture new business startups, and support the growth of existing high potential businesses. For more information about Startup South Bend – Elkhart, visit