Many of us have heard Mayor Pete say, “South Bend is a place where talent meets purpose.” This really resonates with me as I think about why I’ve chosen to call the region home, but the general sentiment behind it is also a big reason why my co-founder Maria and I founded our new venture, INVANTI.
We believe there is entrepreneurial talent that is not being fully leveraged, and specifically, not being leveraged to solve some of our biggest problems. What INVANTI does is actually fairly straightforward — we take people who have the skills, experience, and drive to be successful entrepreneurs, but lack an idea, and release them on problems worth solving. These problems can range from making sure that people have access to financial products/services that increase their financial health, to tackling issues in healthcare delivery, to ensuring that we are adequately preparing the labor force for the jobs of tomorrow. We want to unleash the power of high-quality, scalable, for-profit ventures on big problems that affect our families, neighbors, and communities.
As we shopped our idea around for the last year, we heard a lot of:
“That’s really interesting, I actually really like it. But just one thing — how are you ever going to convince these talented people to move to or stay in South Bend?”
Maria and I would immediately hit our talking points: cost of living, community support, emerging entrepreneurial ecosystem, and being active members of the communities where these issues really hit home. Skeptical gazes continued, no matter how hard we sold. But at the end of the day, we knew that the only people we really needed to convince were the aspiring entrepreneurs themselves. And we can proudly say that we’ve done so — our inaugural cohort of five entrepreneurs will be starting on September 5th in South Bend. The members of this first cohort are accomplished in their own right – some are members of our community who who are excited to stay while others will move here, after considering many other equally exciting opportunities. All are talented, driven individuals that we hope to activate to not only create new ventures here in the region, but to solve big, important problems at the same time.
In our preparations over the last few weeks, we asked the cohort members, “Why INVANTI?” Here are some excerpts from their responses:
“I am excited that I have the opportunity to wholeheartedly dedicate myself to this challenge, along with other passionate individuals…”
“I’m excited to be a part of South Bend’s ongoing transformation into an innovation hub.”
“People can regain integrity through our ventures.”
“I have explored several promising ideas for launching a startup in different industries, but none have ultimately compelled me to date. The problem-solving skills I have developed and gift of witnessing the real-time impact of my contributions led me to INVANTI.”
As I read these quotes, a few words/phrases stick out: wholeheartedly, dedicate, passionate, transformation, innovation hub, integrity, impact. These are words and phrases that I, and INVANTI, will always be proud to be associated with. They speak to values, purpose, community, and opportunity; all things that I, along with many others, would mention when explaining why this region is the one I choose to call home. We could not be more excited about engaging with the type of people that not only hold those values for themselves and their families, but also for their work and for the ventures that they aspire to create.
You can read more about our first cohort here and check them out on LinkedIn as well, through the below links.
“Talent meeting purpose” is a powerful sentiment and we are excited and passionate about playing an active role in making it a reality.