Manufacturing Readiness Grants Spur $47.5 Million Investment in South Bend – Elkhart Region in 2022

Man working at a computer in a manufacturing facility

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (Feb. 9, 2023) — South Bend – Elkhart region manufacturers received $5.3 million in Manufacturing Readiness Grant funding in 2022, leading to investments totaling $47.5 million. The program, led by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), in partnership with Conexus Indiana, awarded 186 grants statewide last year, totaling $22.7 million in grant funding, with a resulting $352.7 million in capital investments.

“Our region is a known manufacturing powerhouse with 33 percent of our regional workforce employed in the industry, generating $15.8 billion annually in regional GRP,” said Bethany Hartley, President and CEO of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership. “This industry is on the precipice of revolutionary change. We appreciate the state’s foresight in preparing Hoosier companies for new technologies and automation. These grants allow our manufacturers to continue to lead their field.”

Indiana’s investment in industry advancement equips the entire state for the economies of the future, enabling more market diversification and supply chain resiliency. Investment in companies, coupled with investment in talent development through re-skilling current workers, on-site training of future workers, and a robust and responsive higher education ecosystem make the South Bend – Elkhart region one that is poised for emerging demands for more on-shoring of production and research. In a fast-changing global environment, the Region’s adoption of new technologies and adaptation to future trends is essential to economic vitality.

Launched in 2020, the Manufacturing Readiness Grants (MRG) program was created to stimulate private sector investments to modernize Indiana’s manufacturing industry. Since then, 384 awards totaling $39 million have been awarded to companies in 69 counties, prompting proposed projects with combined budgets of $484 million.

“Thanks in part to the Manufacturing Readiness Grant program, we are making a multi-million dollar investment into our facility, adding advanced robotics and automated welding systems,” said Phil Smoker, Vice President of Sales at Smoker Craft Inc., an Elkhart County watercraft manufacturer. “The industry has seen plenty of change since my family started this business in 1921, and that change is happening faster than ever before. The Manufacturing Readiness Grants recognize the importance of the manufacturing industry to Indiana and the overwhelming need for businesses to prepare for what’s to come.”

A 2022 Impact Report by Conexus Indiana and the Dauch Center for Management of Manufacturing Enterprises at Purdue University found that the average revenue impact for companies receiving grants was $2.5 million with 37 percent anticipating additional growth of more than 10 percent. Companies also averaged five new positions added per project, with an anticipated wage growth of $196,000 on average.

“There is tremendous interest in these grants across the region,” said Tom Fuja, Notre Dame’s Interim Vice-President and Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School and Faculty Director of iNDustry Labs. “Forty-five businesses in the South Bend – Elkhart region received MRG grants in 2022, and iNDustry Labs is ready to help many more prepare their proposals and advance their digital transformation trajectory.”

For more information on Manufacturing Readiness Grants, click here.


About South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership
The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership is a collaboration of the economic development partners from 47 smart connected communities in northern Indiana and southwest Michigan. The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership focuses on a long-term systemic approach to advance the region’s economy by aligning the efforts of various stakeholders around five key areas: educating a world-class workforce, recruiting and retaining great talent, attracting and growing new economy companies in complement to our remarkably strong manufacturing industries, promoting inclusion and sparking opportunities for minorities and helping entrepreneurs thrive. The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership seeks to unify and collaborate so that together, the communities across the region to work together to achieve what cannot be done individually. For more information about the Regional Partnership, visit

Media Contact
Sarah Niespodziany
South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership