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Connecting Indiana’s Innovators with Information

Connect IND streamlines information access for Indiana's entrepreneurs - learn how Morgan Allen from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) helped to bring this platform from an idea to implemented throughout the state

Results:

  • Peer-to-peer success: 96% of entrepreneurs would recommend the platform to a peer.
  • Job creation: 11 full-time ecosystem navigators hired to help walk founders through their entrepreneurial journey.
  • Implemented an AI-enabled chatbot to help founders quickly discover resources.

Navigating Through the Resource Noise

Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), a state agency dedicated to promoting innovation, job creation, and economic growth within Indiana, was tasked with helping entrepreneurs and small businesses in Indiana connect with the resources they needed to succeed.

IEDC had been operating from a reactionary space, focusing on helping businesses navigate for short term solutions, and they knew the model was unsustainable if they wanted to support more innovation. The need for a long-term digital solution needed to be front and center.

Concerns surrounding the accessibility of resources became primarily dependent on knowing the right people, and entrepreneurs needed a digital front door to meet them.

Over one thousand statewide resources are available on Connect IND, curated by common keywords

Building the Ecosystem Front Door Together

IEDC brought on EcoMap because they wanted a partner they knew they could co-create with. They didn’t just want to build a platform quickly; they wanted to build it right. 

EcoMap worked with IEDC to create a custom platform, conduct user testing and incorporate feedback, and then bring awareness through marketing.

Teams gathered feedback from more than 200 entrepreneurs and entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs), and were deliberate about including diverse backgrounds, industries, and a variety of stages of businesses. IEDC and the EcoMap team utilized feedback in the process of developing the platform, using it to shape the different features built into the platform.

The end result was ConnectIND, an ecosystem portal aimed at making important resources and information accessible to entrepreneurs throughout the state, which includes an AI-enabled chatbot to help founders quickly discover resources that exist around them.

EcoMap’s engagement team also worked alongside IEDC to create marketing collateral (custom newsletters, social media posts, etc.) and IEDC went on a statewide roadshow, specifically for ESOs, to promote the platform.

IEDC was able to hire 11 full-time ecosystem navigators who utilize EcoMap’s 1-1 support program management feature to track the progress of the founders they’re working with and connect them to relevant resources.

Because the platform was built with intention from the outset, it thrives in connecting Indiana entrepreneurs in the ways they need it most, creating a better and strong Indiana.

“With EcoBot, the ability to provide on-demand ecosystem navigation support is really special,” Morgan Allen, Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Manager at IEDC, said. “EcoBot will play a huge role in helping to make this ecosystem navigation scalable.”

Morgan Allen, IEDC’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Manager

If you’re interested in bringing an EcoMap to better connect your community with the information they need, feel free to schedule a demo through the calendar below.

 

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