National Innovation Group Launching in South Bend


Accelerator for America led by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

SOUTH BEND — Calling for new leadership to jumpstart “civic entrepreneurship” and job creation because Washington is “broken,” a national group of mayors, nonprofit and labor leaders, and business executives will convene its first meeting here Wednesday in a former Studebaker Corp. building.

Accelerator for America, a group seeking nonprofit status and led by Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, will provide grants in the form of capital, mentorship and networking to accelerate innovative ideas — by local governments, nonprofits and businesses — that have the most potential to be replicated or scaled elsewhere.

Why launch such a group in “flyover country,” the derisive term that some use for the Midwest? Garcetti said South Bend is a great example of a city doing innovative things. He also hatched the idea with the help of Mayor Pete Buttigieg during meetings the two had in May at a U.S. Conference of Mayors event in Washington, a day after Buttigieg visited Garcetti in Los Angeles. Both Democratic mayors, vocal critics of Republican President Donald Trump, have been mentioned as potential presidential candidates in 2020.

Garcetti said Buttigieg played a larger role than anyone else in helping him craft the idea.

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