South Bend entrepreneurs who are operating out of their basements, garages and living rooms may have a new opportunity to scale up their businesses. The city announced Tuesday it will launch a three-month training program to help local small-scale manufacturers grow.
Executive Director of Community Investment Santi Garces said “manufacturing” doesn’t have to be large-scale. He said it could also look like someone producing hot sauce or T-shirts in their home and selling them to friends.
“We recognize that a lot of people have these types of businesses and they’ve been selling on Etsy and they’ve been selling on other platforms, but we really want to provide resources for them,” Garces said.
Those resources could come in the form of Scaling Up! South Bend, a new program that will train entrepreneurs in distribution, marketing and supply chains to help them grow their businesses.
The program also provides the opportunity for participants to use commercial production space for a reduced fee through the end of the year.
South Bend Mayor James Mueller said the program is an “exciting” opportunity to re-focus on growth, following the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This doesn’t mean that our work on surviving the economic headwinds here is over, but it means that we are now shifting to… making sure that we have growing businesses and we have growing opportunities for everyone to thrive,” he said.
The city is accepting applications for the program through Friday, March 12, and expects to announce the first Scaling Up! cohort the following Monday.
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