We Help By: Providing Assistance > Economic Gardening

Eligibility Criteria

To be considered for selection as a participant in the Elevate Ventures Economic Gardening Program, a business must meet the following criteria at the time of selection:

1. Be a for-profit, privately held company headquartered and operating in Indiana

2. Have between $750,000 and $25,000,000 in annual revenue

3. Employ at least five but not more than one hundred employees

4. Have maintained its principal place of business in Indiana for at least the previous two years

5. Demonstrate growth in employment and/or revenue in two of past five years

6. Provide product(s) and/or services beyond current service area to regional and/or international markets (retail and restaurants do not qualify)

*All businesses that meet criteria are eligible

Often referred to as a “grow from within” strategy, the Elevate Ventures Economic Gardening Program is designed to provide existing companies with the tools and knowledge they need to continue their growth. Administered by a team of economic gardening specialists from the Edward Lowe Foundation, the services are supplied at no cost to the company.

About Economic Gardening

Economic gardening embraces strategies to grow existing second-stage businesses. It is an innovative, entrepreneur- centered, economic growth strategy focused on providing tools to grow existing businesses that possess the characteristics of second-stage businesses. This program is provided by a team of economic gardeners that provide specific skills and tools to aid entrepreneurs in challenging areas in the growth of their business.

The Elevate Ventures Economic Gardening Program is a three-step methodology that guides and supports second-stage companies like yours to greater success.

1. Leadership Assessment

As a business leader, you're responsible for the critical decisions that drive your business. And with each one, you anticipate the outcome will be successful in increasing value and performance. The wrong decisions, however, can cost an organization greatly, resulting in lost employee performance, low customer satisfaction and poor employee retention. The Leadership Assessment is helpful in evaluating your personality traits and how you work, as well as your capacities in critical thinking and emotional intelligence. A team will review the results of your Leadership Assessment Profile with you in private and discuss a Leadership Growth Plan or "roadmap" for potential future coaching sessions. Additional leaders within your organization are also welcome to participate in the process to facilitate in the formation of high-performing teams.

2. Company Assessment

Next, a team will provide a full Company Assessment of your business. Often referred to as a “grow from within” strategy, the Company Assessment is designed to provide growth-oriented companies with a roadmap for focusing on strategic issues, including the penetration of new markets, the refinement of business models, the development of teams and the importance of embracing new leadership roles. As outside specialists, Economic Gardening consultants are able to bring their unique perspectives to the process by working with you to identify issues that might be hindering your company’s growth, while pointing you to new tools, business concepts and information that will help you make better decisions moving forward. Together, you and the Economic Gardening team will develop an action plan and leverage sophisticated tools to deliver insights and information you immediately incorporate to get where you want to be.

3. Implementation Consulting

To help you utilize the information you have received, Elevate provides up to twenty hours of consulting with an experienced business advisor. Together, you create a strategy for growing your company, and get some coaching along the way.

Application Process


An eligible business will submit a completed application here.


The applicant will be contacted within 24 hours upon receipt of a completed application and notified of the status of their request


The application will be reviewed to determine the applicant meets the eligibility requirements


The application will be appraised by an evaluation team to determine acceptance into the pilot program


Final acceptance into the program will be communicated to the applicant within 20 business days and an interview will be scheduled between the CEO and the national economic gardening team to begin the consultation process

National Team of Economic Gardening Advisors

The national economic gardening team is comprised of individuals and organizations that provide a suite of high-end, high-speed technical assistance tools to companies that have grown beyond the startup phase and need access to information and decision making tools, including:

Information Tools

  • Database Research
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Social Media Network Mapping

Decision-Making Tools
  • Strategy Analysis
  • Management Team Temperament
  • Capitol Referrals

Preparing To Apply

Interested businesses will apply via an online application. The application requests specific business information and it may be helpful to gather this data before beginning the application:

  • Company and CEO names and contact information
  • Description of company, history, and residence information
  • Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, if applicable
  • Legal form, company ownership
  • Company resources, including number of full-time and part-time employees
  • Financial information since 2007
  • Business issues needing assistance

Elevate Ventures Economic Gardening Program is launching in phases. Currently the program is active in the Northwest, North Central, and Northeast business development regions, though all are encouraged to apply. View a map of the regions.