Our Story

47 Smart Connected  Communities

The South Bend - Elkhart Region is a knowledge-driven, highly connected region that serves and provides access to a global innovation economy. We will be recognized for our World-Class Higher Education and Community Partnerships, Superior Access and Connectivity and High-Performing Communities. Our Region is the proud home to the University of Notre Dame, and will become a region of connected innovation hubs.

The South Bend - Elkhart Region encompasses 47 Smart Connected Communities across Elkhart, Marshall, and St. Joseph Counties in Northern Indiana and Berrien and Cass counties in Southwest Michigan. Given its central Midwest location and proximity to Chicago, Detroit, and Indianapolis, the region enables access to major cities, markets and customers. Our Region's residents have access to regional and local amenities such as Lake Michigan beaches, bike trails, a burgeoning local culinary scene, minor league baseball, theaters and a zoo, not to mention the cultural, sporting and community activities that the region’s higher education institutions provide. Cities such as South Bend, Mishawaka, Plymouth, Niles, Benton Harbor, Goshen, and Elkhart have urban attractions of river-fronts and water amenities.

The South Bend - Elkhart region has a variety of economic, demographic and quality of place assets. The region’s key strengths include: many existing place-based assets, a competitive cost structure, access to markets, higher education resources, and cultural diversity. Innovation Districts are already emerging throughout the region, and leaders are exploring additional place-based development opportunities in their communities.

We will recognize, employ and build relationships between higher education and the region's communities to enhance the region's:

  • R&D, commercialization and entrepreneurship activities
  • Business talent and attraction efforts
  • Workforce development and retention results

We will improve physical and social connectivity within the region and beyond to ensure:

  • Advantageous exchange of ideas
  • Access to educational and business technologies, services and partnerships
  • Access to markets and job opportunities

We will invest in programs and facilities that will enhance the region's:

  • Positive health outcomes
  • Tourist and visitor attraction
  • Resident retention and attraction