South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership Celebrates Hustle SBE Cohort 3 Graduates


SOUTH BEND, Ind. (May 20, 2021) — Yesterday, the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership concluded its third HustleSBE cohort, a business bootcamp aimed toward providing support and assistance to minority and women entrepreneurs across the five-county region.

This 12-session program is dedicated to bringing resources on topics including capital, certifications, financial management, and human resources to minority and women-owned businesses.

Participants gathered for interactive learning and one-on-one coaching with their business coach and HustleSBE facilitator and heard from guest speakers from across the region that provided their expert knowledge and willingness to foster connections. HustleSBE focuses on creating resiliency and strengthening business strategies for both during a crisis like COVD-19 and beyond.

“Being an entrepreneur can be lonely and difficult, says Cohort Three Graduate and CEO of Write Connections Jess Koscher, “While we are dreamers and risk-takers, we are also working every spare minute in our business. HustleSBE granted us the opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs and build a community, so we are not alone. Our facilitator, Celena and her portfolio of guests shared tools to allow us to grow and dream bigger while keeping our feet on the ground and rooted. We learned to figure out how to carve out time to work on our business and not just in our business.”

This cohort was comprised of 56% African American or Black business owners, 22% Asian American and 32% Multiracial, Hispanic or Latino, or Caucasian or White business owners, with 60% female and 40% male. Fifty percent have established businesses in South Bend, 22% in Elkhart, and the remaining 18% consists of businesses in Niles, Mishawaka, and Goshen. Collectively, the graduates are on track to see a 65% increase revenues over 2020, equipped with the tools and network HustleSBE provided. Cohort 3 included businesses from farming, health and wellness, retail, food industry and marketing services.

“Every new cohort continues to bring a unique perspective and unique business challenges,” says South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership Chief Strategy Officer, Bethany Hartley. “HustleSBE is a program that is adaptable and continues to serve a need for business owners in the South Bend – Elkhart region. We are very proud of the work these participants put in, and excited to see what the future holds for them!”

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership championed the creation of the HustleSBE program and is excited to announce the next cohort will be based in Elkhart. Applications for Cohort Four will open June 28th and programming will be done in partnership with the Business Diversity Initiative at the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce. The DEI Committee was formed to increase opportunities for women and minorities throughout the region, aligned with the Regional Economic Development Strategy Plan created in 2017.

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 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 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
Bethany Hartley
Chief Strategy Officer
South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership