May 2024 Newsletter: Startup South Bend – Elkhart

Welcome to the Startup South Bend – Elkhart Newsletter! Each month we’ll introduce you to resources and opportunities here in our region, as well as entrepreneurs doing interesting things.

Newest Rooted & Reaching Podcast Episode – Josh Rodgers of Mili Llama
The newest episode of the Rooted & Reaching podcast features Josh Rodgers of Mili Llama! Mili Llama looks to solve the substitute teacher shortage by matching qualified substitutes with schools through its on-demand staffing platform. Check out this and all Rooted & Reaching episodes, via video or audio.

This season of Rooted & Reaching has also featured a live panel recorded at IDEA Week, and an interview with Amanda Havens, curator of the South Bend – Elkhart region’s only female-led brewery and cidery BrewHers.

HustleSBE Highlight: Jamie Dietrich
HustleSBE graduate Jamie Dietrich combined her career in fashion, love of diving, and passion for marine conservation into her own business. Blue Adaptation makes eco-friendly women’s divewear that incorporates the patterns of sea life into its designs. Learn more about Jamie’s entrepreneurial journey here.

McCloskey Winners
Congratulations to all the winners at the 24th McCloskey New Venture Competition! Close to $600,000 in cash and in-kind/pitch for investment prizes were awarded at the finals on Friday, April 26th. Medical device startup VisiLocate took home the top prize with technology that aims to improve breast cancer surgery outcomes. Door Jack won the Startup South Bend – Elkhart Best Community Venture Award. The company developed an easy-to-use, fire-code compliant secondary locking device for schools, universities, and other buildings during threat situations. Learn more and see all the winners here.

Rally Innovation Conference – Happening August 27 & 28
Rally, the largest global cross-sector innovation conference, is coming to Indianapolis August 27 & 28! From the excitement of the IN-Prize Pitch competition to top-notch keynotes, exhibits and networking, Rally has something for everyone. Learn more and get tickets at

Where’s Marty?
Much like the guy in the striped shirt and glasses, Entrepreneurship Director Marty Mechtenberg has been on the go! From the IU Founders and Funders Venture Summit in Bloomington, to the Startup Champions Network Spring Summit in Harrisonburg, VA, to the InBIA International Conference on Business Incubation in San Antonio, Marty’s been sharing the region’s startup story, learning best practices, and networking with other entrepreneur ecosystem pros!

Lemonade Day Elkhart County
Lemonade Day Elkhart County is June 1st! Learn more about how you can support our region’s youngest entrepreneurs here.

Thank you to everyone who took part in IDEA Week 2024! From the Launch Party to the live Rooted & Reaching recording, to concerts and comedy and everything in-between, thank you for coming out and making this year a success!

New Navigator!
Hannah Ollen recently started as the North Central Ecosystem Navigator for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. Connect with her at

1 Million Cups
Now active in Mishawaka, 1 Million Cups provides a supportive, inclusive space for entrepreneurs and their communities to gather and connect, where they can work through business challenges and identify opportunities. The meetings happen every Wednesday – learn more here.

Looking for Entrepreneur and Startup events in our region? Check out the Startup South Bend – Elkhart event calendar!

About Startup South Bend – Elkhart 
The mission of Startup South Bend – Elkhart, a non-profit initiative of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership is to promote and foster a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem by stimulating the entrepreneurial spirit and collaborative culture of our people, serving as a connector, and supporting the creation of high-growth business.