$29M loan fund set up to support entrepreneurs and small businesses

Hoosier small businesses, lenders, technical assistance providers encouraged to leverage new resources to fuel the entrepreneurial ecosystem, accelerate equity for underserved businesses 

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) today announced the launch of the state’s Legend Fund, a loan participation program designed to help entrepreneurs and small businesses gain access to funds needed to grow.

The Legend Fund, fueled by federal funding awarded to Indiana through the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), will distribute $29 million to mission-driven local lenders to increase lending to Hoosier small businesses, with an added focus on those that have been historically underserved.  

“Indiana is leading the nation in providing the ideal environment to help small businesses start, grow and innovate,” said Secretary of Commerce David Rosenberg. “With even more funding and new programs like the Legend Fund, we’re taking our support of the entrepreneurial ecosystem even further, ensuring all small businesses have equitable access to the tools, resources and capital needed to succeed.” 

The Legend Fund will support Indiana entrepreneurs and small businesses by giving lenders an incentive to provide operating capital to Hoosier-based businesses. Through the program, mission-oriented and non-traditional lenders that provide debt capital for qualified purposes to Indiana-based small businesses are eligible to have a portion of those loans purchased by the IEDC, enabling lenders to then support even more entrepreneurs and small businesses. The program’s $29 million is expected to yield a minimum $50 million impact on Indiana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.   

Read more about what this means for small businesses, loan funds and technical assistance providers below.  

  • Small businesses: Connect with lenders to access funds needed to grow 

    Indiana entrepreneurs and small businesses are encouraged to connect with approved lenders by visiting the Community Reinvestment Fund, USA Connect Platform. The new platform – which is also accessible via ConnectIND, a digital portal and statewide listing of resources for entrepreneurs and founders – allows small businesses to view and match with participating lenders based on a business’ operating capital needs and a lender’s mission, focus areas and loan offerings.  

    The Legend Fund has already approved nine lenders through the program, meaning these organizations are ready to help Indiana entrepreneurs and founders today. These lenders include organizations such as Build FundBusiness Ownership Initiative Inc. (BOI)Cambridge Capital Management Corp.Community Investment Fund of IndianaFlagship Enterprise CapitalLendistryLynx CapitalIndiana Community Business Credit Corporation and One Southern Indiana.  

    Additionally, entrepreneurs and small businesses will be able to access technical assistance at no cost to get support preparing for and accessing capital through the Legend Fund as well as through other SSBCI-supported initiatives, such as seed and pre-seed funding rounds through Elevate Ventures. The IEDC is currently soliciting proposals from technical assistance providers and expects to be able to offer this service to small businesses by the summer. In the meantime, small businesses looking for support in preparing to meet with a Legend Fund lender are encouraged to leverage their local Indiana Small Business Development Center office

    Learn more and connect with Indiana-focused lenders today.  
  •  Lenders: Support Indiana small businesses as a Legend Fund lender 

    Mission-oriented and non-traditional lenders, such as Community Development Financial Institutions, local revolving loan funds, and other specialty lenders, are invited to apply to become approved lenders. Legend Fund lenders that provide debt capital for qualified purposes to Indiana-based small businesses are eligible to have a portion of those loans – typically up to 49% of an eligible loan – purchased by the IEDC, freeing up capital and enabling lenders to support more entrepreneurs and small businesses. Learn more and register today.  
  • Technical assistance providers: Help small businesses apply for SSBCI funding 

    In addition to launching the Legend Fund, Indiana is committed to helping entrepreneurs and small businesses access and apply for this new funding by providing no-cost technical assistance.  

    Indiana businesses and non-profits that can help small businesses access capital – such as qualified bookkeepers, accountants and financial experts – are invited to submit proposals to participate in the IEDC’s technical assistance program. Providers will support one-on-one advising and group training opportunities in areas such as cash flow projections, QuickBooks, accounting and more to help small businesses prepare and apply for loans through the Legend Fund and through other SSBCI-supported initiatives, such as seed and pre-seed funding through Elevate Ventures. 

    The IEDC anticipates funding nearly $950,000 in technical assistance proposals. Interested vendors may review the RFP and further details here and apply by March 22, 2024.  

The Legend Fund is one part of Indiana’s efforts to accelerate startup growth and invest in underserved small businesses through SSBCI. In 2022, the IEDC was approved for $99.1 million in federal funding through the program to support Hoosier entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses by expanding venture capital and creating this new loan fund. Indiana will receive $86 million and will be eligible to receive another $13 million when the state meets expected targets for the initial allocation. At least 37% of this funding will be allocated to traditionally underserved small businesses and entrepreneurs, encouraging greater equity in access to capital for Hoosier businesses. Learn more at iedc.in.gov/ssbci.