South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership Celebrates HustleSBE Cohort Four Graduates

ELKHART, Ind. (December 21, 2021) – Earlier this month, the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership concluded its fourth 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 focused on creating resiliency and strengthening business strategies for both during a crisis like COVID-19 and beyond.

“My participation in HustleSBE was phenomenal,” said Stephanie Coleman, HustleSBE cohort four graduate and co-owner and operator of Coleman Solutions. “As a new minority business owner, our foundation is stronger and our strategies are appropriately planned which means our customers will be better served. Coleman Solutions is a small giant because of this opportunity! I’m grateful and thankful!”

“Every new cohort continues to bring a unique perspective and unique business challenges,” said Bethany Hartley Chief Strategy Officer of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership. “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!”

Cohort four was hosted in partnership with the Business Diversity Initiative at the Greater Elkhart Chamber. This cohort was comprised of 60% African American or Black business owners, and 40% Multiracial, Hispanic or Latino, or Caucasian or White business owners, with 90% female and 10% male. Sixty percent have established businesses in Elkhart, and 40% in the South Bend area. More than half were just getting started during the pandemic shutdown of 2020. Collectively, the graduates are on track to see a 65% increase in revenue over 2022, equipped with the tools and network HustleSBE provided. Cohort four included businesses from insurance, health and wellness, professional services, food industry and construction.

“HustleSBE has taken an innovative and effective approach to helping new minority and women business owners grow and become sustaining members of our diverse business community in the region,” said Levon Johnson, president and CEO of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce, and member of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership’s board of directors. The Business Diversity Initiative of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce is excited and grateful for the partnership with the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership that makes powerful connections that support our mission to strengthen the Greater Elkhart business community.”

To view photos from the HustleSBE graduation ceremony please, click here.

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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 SouthBendElkhart.org.

Media Contact
Bethany Hartley
Chief Strategy Officer
South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership
bhartley@southbendelkhart.org

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