Q1 2024 Newsletter

A Letter from the CEO

Spring is officially upon us in the South Bend – Elkhart region!

We are excited to share some wonderful news with you all - our recent application for the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) 2.0 funding has been submitted! This is a significant milestone for our region, and we couldn't have achieved it without the collective efforts of our community partners and stakeholders.

Governor Eric Holcomb's inclusion of an additional $500 million in READI 2.0 funds as part of his 2023 Next Level Agenda reflects a commitment to fostering economic growth and development across Indiana. The South Bend – Elkhart region previously received $50 million in READI 1.0 funds in 2021, and we are excited about the increased opportunities presented by READI 2.0. Notably, READI 2.0 allows for individual regions to qualify for a $75 million award, with only capital projects eligible for funding, a departure from the program structure of READI 1.0.

Our region is aggressively pursuing the maximum $75 million allotment in READI 2.0. With a plan projected to generate over $2 billion in direct economic activity over the next six years, we are dedicated to embodying the statewide concept of being 'for the bold.' We are strategically stacking investments to achieve the greatest return and hope that the IEDC recognizes the transformative potential of our vision.

The READI initiative, launched by Governor Holcomb and led by the IEDC, encourages regional collaboration and data-driven, long-term planning to attract and retain talent in Indiana. In 2022, the RDA awarded $40 million to 17 Quality of Place projects and $6.4 million to 11 programs, resulting in an estimated $448 million in additional private and public investment.

It is exciting to see the first of the READI 1.0 projects come to fruition. Elkhart’s Tolson Center for Community Excellence was the first of the capital projects receiving READI funds to open. The Potawatomi Zoo’s new bear lodge – the first project to draw down all its READI funds – is holding its grand opening this week, as is the first of three buildings in weIMPACT ’s The Delta, making its home in the Elkhart River District. I had the opportunity visit the incredible new Indiana University South Bend Nursing Simulation Lab, and the WE+YOU Student Immersion Program hosted its first recruiting experience. The funds from the first round of READI are already making such a positive impact on our region – I can’t wait to see where it takes us from here.

Looking ahead, we are eagerly anticipating the announcement of READI 2.0 by Governor Holcomb on April 11. I will be in Indianapolis, along with the Regional Partnership’s Vice President of Regional Initiatives, Taryn MacFarlane, and RDA board officers, ready to celebrate this next chapter.

As we await the outcome of our READI application, let's take a moment to celebrate how far we've come as a region. Together, we have achieved great things, and with our collective efforts, we will continue to build a brighter future for South Bend - Elkhart.

Thank you for your ongoing support and dedication to our community,



READI 2.0 Updates: Regional READI 2.0 awards will be announced on April 11. Expect information on the project application process to follow. The Northern Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) submitted its application on behalf of the region on Feb. 16.

Four higher education institutions from our region applied for the Lilly Endowment’s College and Community Collaboration initiative. The grants were created to help bring to life collaborative projects between the schools and community stakeholders to enhance the quality of life and place in the surrounding communities.


Applications for HustleSBE Cohort Seven are open until tomorrow, March 29. This business bootcamp for Minority and Female entrepreneurs will be held in St. Joseph County, with Cohort Eight in Elkhart County later this fall.

The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership has released an RFP for new website development.

Collaborating + Connecting

The Regional Skills Accelerator review committee has continued to approve funds to support employee skill development, bringing the total allocated to $592,530 to train 801 regional manufacturers’ employees that directly correlates to wage progression and achievement of nationally recognized certifications.

The South Bend – Elkhart region is part of Make My Move, encouraging remote workers to move to the area by offering incentive packages. Sixteen movers have already settled in, with another 16 in the process of securing housing.

The LIFT Apprenticeship program currently has 69 apprentices working at 14 companies in the region.

In February, we were joined by partners from the City of Elkhart, Downtown South Bend, Elevate Ventures, and Conexus Indiana for an Entrepreneurship Tour visiting Innovation Connector in Muncie, 16 Tech Innovation District in Indianapolis, and Dimension Mill in Bloomington.

Also i​​​​​​n February, we hosted the kickoff of the Indiana Economic Development Association Women in Economic Development: Leadership Initiative. We were joined by Karrah Herring, the Chief Equity, Inclusion and Opportunity Officer for the State of Indiana.

Elkhart County hosted Strong Towns founder Charles Marohn in March. His visit included a tour of the county, as well as a presentation at Elkhart’s Lerner Theatre Crystal Ballroom.

At the Marshall County Development for the Future Meeting, Regional Partnership representatives discussed READI 2.0.


We hosted WE+YOU Student Immersion Experience on March 21-22. This inaugural event brought roughly 50 STEM students from colleges around the Midwest to experience the South Bend – Elkhart region and learn of internship and job opportunities.

In honor of International Women’s Day, we hosted the Women’s Impact Panel at Saint Mary’s College featuring speakers Dr. Redgina Hill, Vice President of Inclusion & Equity at Saint Mary’s College, Kristin Pruitt, President of Lake City Bank, and Alex Sejdinaj, Co-founder of Code Works, South Bend Code School and GiveGrove.

IDEA Week is happening April 20-26 in South Bend! Join us for the annual innovation festival. Full of interesting speakers such as Hydro Flask Founder Travis Rosbach sharing his story and Michelle Weise talking about jobs of the Future, fun events like the Strike Up Innovation: Bowling Bash and IDEA Week Launch Party, and entertainment from the All-American Rejects, Hasan Minhaj and the return of Nashville Night! Check out the full agenda and register here!

We joined our University of Notre Dame partners at The IDEA Center and iNDustry Labs to host the Regional Commercialization Address in March.

The RDA met in January, February and March, and will meet again on Tuesday, April 17 and May 15 at the Regional Partnership office.

Quarterly meetings were held for the regional Mayors and Commissioners Council and Higher Education Advisory Council as well as the Entrepreneurship, Talent, Industry Growth, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and Education and Workforce committees.


According to U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data, per capita personal income (PCPI) in the South Bend – Elkhart region grew 2.78 percent in 2022 from 2021. The region outpaced the national rate of 1.61.

Regional Partnership President and CEO, Bethany Hartley spoke on the panel at the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce annual meeting, alongside partners from the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County, Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Community Foundation of Elkhart County.

Area entrepreneur Latonya Jennings was featured in a profile.

The second season of the Rooted & Reaching Podcast began recording episodes. The first two are expected to drop in April and feature Viewrail CEO and Founder Len Morris and Amanda Havens of BrewHers. Watch the videos of season 1 episodes here, or download the audio here.

Purdue University graduate student Mathew Alexander shared his internship experience at Bennington Marine in Elkhart, Ind.

News + Notables

  • United Way of Marshall County received $750,000 in employer sponsored childcare funds to create a TriShare benefit program, sharing childcare costs equally among the family, employer, and the community. The organization was one of 86 grant recipients of Indiana funds totaling $25 million.
  • La Casa de Amistad was awarded $2 million from MacKenzie Scott’s Yield Giving Open Call fund. The unrestricted grant is the largest award in the organization’s history.
  • South Bend-based technology company Trek10 has secured a $38 million contract to expand and enhance its CloudOps service used by the Air Force software solution center Business and Enterprise Systems Product Innovation (BESPIN).
  • The University of Notre Dame was named the top educational institution, and 20th overall on Forbes list of America’s Best Large Employers 2024.
  • Plymouth’s own Hoosier Racing Tire was named the Coolest Thing Made in Indiana by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. This is the third year of the bracket, with South Bend – Elkhart region companies winning twice, with Goshen’s Janus Motorcycles winning in 2022.
  • LCI Industries was named to Newsweek’s list of America’s Most Responsible Companies for 2024.
  • Nominations are open for the Entrepreneurship Indiana Yearbook until May 3rd.
  • South Bend International Airport added a new service to Knoxville, Tennessee starting in June.
  • Elkhart/Goshen named 12th in The Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com Emerging Housing Markets Index, based on data from the 300 largest metropolitan areas in the nation.
  • Visit South Bend Mishawaka is surveying the community ahead of developing the first-ever tourism master plan for St. Joseph County. The survey is open until April 4th.
  • South Bend has made it to round 2 of Midwest Startups annual Midwest Madness tourney after beating Green Bay in round 1. The annual event pits top startup cities around the Midwest.
  • TechPoint Mira Award nominations were announced in February, including regional nominees Aunalytics, the City of South Bend, and Ray Fraser of
  • Vital View Technologies. The winners will be announced April 26 at the Mira Awards gala in Indianapolis.
  • Congratulations to South Bend Regional Chamber 2024 Salute to Business Award winners: Distinguished Business Leader - Bob Hayden, Economic Impact - AM General, Lifting Voices - La Casa de Amistad, Outstanding Young Business Leader - Amber Pulford, Small Business of the Year - Claeys Candy, and Woman of Influence - Kareemah Fowler. The event was held March 7 at the Century Center.