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The Center for Talent and Opportunity is a community resource for closing the wealth gap of Hoosier women and minorities by accelerating high-growth entrepreneurship and impact investing.  The Center serves as a nexus of organizations collaborating to increase founders’ access to capital, develop talent in high technology career fields, and leverage place-based resources to grow start-up communities.

According to a 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances, the median net worth of Black households was one-eighth ($23,000 as opposed to $184,000) that of white households. Likewise, the median net worth of Hispanic households was almost one-fifth ($38,000 to $184,000) that of white households. Women earn about 79 cents on the dollar compared to men but own only 32 cents; and women of color own only pennies on the dollar compared to white men and white women. This shortfall in financial wealth creates a cascade of inequalities in education, homeownership, and simply saving for emergencies. While addressing these disparities in opportunity requires a wide array of solutions, entrepreneurship can provide the best opportunity to build sustainable, long-term wealth while strengthening families and communities.

Impact investments are investments made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. The Global Impact Investing Network values the market at $715 billion and growing with 88% of impact investors reporting returns that met or exceeded their financial expectations.  Investments in new majority entrepreneurs provide direct measurable financial impact that can generate market returns in the growing marketplace.

Capital

Through a partnership with the Minority Entrepreneurship Institute, the Center directed $100,000 as a pilot seed investment in Vital View, a health tech company formed at the Notre Dame IDEA Center, which offers a patent-protected heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure monitor for hospital and home use. Vital View emerged oversubscribed from their seed fundraising round and is on track to be the first development company from the IDEA Center to close a follow on Series A round.

Talent

Indiana is home to fourth largest National Guard despite its status as the 16th most populous state in the United States due to its history of meeting the nation’s national security needs since the Civil War. The Center is continuing Indiana’s tradition of meeting national security talent needs by developing collaborative hi-tech talent development initiatives with:

  • Research institutions including the University of Notre Dame, Purdue University, Indiana University, and others;
  • Military installations including the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane, Grissom Air Reserve Base, and Muscatatuck Urban Training Center;
  • Private industry leaders including Saab Aerospace and Rolls Royce; and
  • Youth and education partners including the Indiana Department of Education, STARTed UP Foundation, and Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Indiana.

Place-based resources

Leveraging the regional networks created through Indiana’s 21st Century Talent Regions initiative as well as the follow-on $500M Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) state grant program, the Center is supporting select regions in utilizing initiatives aimed at growing the population to simultaneously galvanize nascent start-up ecosystems critical to launching new hi-tech businesses with women and minority founders.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION: We’re living the entrepreneurial journey ourselves and excited to have you join us! Please check back as we continue to update with insights we’re gaining and endeavors we’re pursuing.

The seedling for what has become the Center for Talent and Opportunity was planted in 2019 when our founding director, Blair Milo, embarked on a journey as an inaugural fellow of the Civil Society Fellowship, a partnership of the Aspen Institute and Anti-Defamation League. This fellowship aims to empower community and civil society leaders, activists and problem-solvers by providing them with values-based leadership development as well as with the networks to accelerate the creation of a more just world by expanding the reach of their existing work and community commitments. After joining this community of 21 fellows from all walks of American life, Blair deepened her pursuit of understanding why talent distributed equally across communities has unequal access to opportunity.

The CTO seedling began to grow roots when Blair had the opportunity to participate in a committee of cabinet members for Governor Holcomb who, among other recommendations, advised the creation of the Chief Equity, Inclusion, and Opportunity Officer position. That role is now occupied by one of the most impressive leaders I’ve had the opportunity to serve with, Karrah Herring, whose talent and passion for service is on-brand for Governor Holcomb and his team.

Momentum turned into a tangible idea when the Career Connections and Talent team integrated with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), and Blair had the opportunity to learn and brainstorm with the Innovation and Entrepreneurship team. They began to ponder about the possibility of leveraging private-sector insights and assets for closing the wealth gap for women and minorities through entrepreneurship.

Around this time, Blair was introduced to the team at Sagamore Institute and learned of the amazing momentum underway through their work with Jaylon Smith and the Minority Entrepreneurship Institute, COHatch, InnoPower, and many other partners. The opportunity for what we could build by leveraging assets to serve the state became too much for Blair to ignore. The Center for Talent and Opportunity was born with the mission of leveraging talent and closing the wealth gap of the New Majority through entrepreneurship and impact investing.

We’re also fortunate to have the opportunity to continue serving the Governor, Karrah, and leaders at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) in their vision to make Indiana a lasting leader in equity, inclusion, and opportunity so all Hoosiers have access to the tools necessary to experience their best quality of life. 

The Center for Talent and Opportunity serves as an intermediary amongst the variety of organizations to help us maximize our collective impact in growing and serving new majority entrepreneurs.

Circle City Broadcasting

Circle City Broadcasting was formed in July 2019 with the acquisition of two stations in Indianapolis, Indiana.  It is the only broadcast television Minority Business Enterprise in a top 25 television market and is certified by both the City of Indianapolis and the State of Indiana.  It is black owned, operated, and controlled with more than 140 employees.  Circle City Broadcasting strives to put purpose before profits, and strategically engages communities, corporations, non-profits, and small businesses by championing partnerships with the greatest community impact locally, regionally, and nationally. 

COhatch

Work. Meet. Live. It’s the COhatch tagline but it’s also our mission statement. We reinvent work in America by blending enhanced productivity with family and community well-being. In other words, our success is measured in human flourishing and community renewal. Our method is forged in being a mixed-used developer, owner, and technology-enabled operator of spaces—think: “Community Town Hall 2.0”. We serve the emerging entrepreneur alongside small businesses, large corporations, nonprofits and churches. At each location, we build partnerships to incubate social impact and infuse civic enterprise.

Innopower

InnoPower Indy Inc. is a Black-owned and led community development organization that works with communities and stakeholders to create capacity-building opportunities for underrepresented businesses and professionals in education, workforce development, and entrepreneurship. Innopower understands that the problem of generational poverty cannot be blamed on a lack of Black creativity, innovation and risk-taking to establish, grow and scale businesses that can produce jobs and wealth. 

Minority Entrepreneurship Institute

MEI is a seed-stage impact investing fund, founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana by Jaylon Smith that hosts annual pitch competitions for Black, LatinX, and Female Founders. Jaylon has committed $2.5 million to MEI’s investments and other co-investors are matching his capital sponsoring MEI impact investment services for minority entrepreneurs. MEI is operated by Indianapolis-based Commonwealth Impact Foundation, a 501(c)(3) approved by the IRS to deploy Donor Advised Funds for Mission Related Investments. This unique vehicle allows fusion of government, financial institutional, corporate, foundation, family office, and other private capital.