Collaboration of Regional & Local Efforts

Posted by: Jeff Rea, President & CEO
South Bend Regional Chamber on Thursday, July 19, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

We're thrilled with the progress the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership has been making. The South Bend Regional Chamber was one of the founders of the Partnership and has been one of its biggest investors and greatest champions since its inception. You can see more of what the Partnership is up to here.

The Partnership has done things like lead regional marketing efforts; spearhead the Regional Cities application, award and disbursements of funds; and lead the development of our first-ever regional economic development strategy. The Partnership is led by one of the area’s most dynamic leaders, Regina Emberton, and a talented staff working to advance economic development efforts in the region.

Business leaders in St. Joseph County recognized some time ago that there was great benefit in working together as a region. After all, customers, employees, suppliers and visitors all come from a broad geographic footprint and are not confined to the political boundary that a business calls home. Our mission is to advance regional prosperity.

While things like marketing, planning, regional strategy, data collection and analysis, and workforce development cover a broader geography, business leaders in St. Joseph County also have seen a need to have someone lead local economic development efforts in the county and, as such, have marshalled the resources from the private and public sectors for the Chamber to lead those activities.

In successful regions across the country, there are strong regional efforts and strong local efforts, working closely together. We’re working to emulate those regions.

In St. Joseph County, the Chamber is meeting with real estate developers, prospects and site selectors that have zeroed in on a St. Joseph County site. We’re responding to leads, and we’re making sure that those potential developments, no matter what industry they are in, have the information they need to choose St. Joseph County. We have counterparts in every county of Indiana making similar efforts.

We believe we play an important coordinating role with our other local economic development partners. The city of South Bend, the city of Mishawaka and St. Joseph County also have people working on various parts of a development project. A coordinated effort ensures we aren’t duplicating efforts or wasting valuable resources.

A really important part of what we do is tell the story of what’s happening here. This newsletter, for example, is an important tool where developers or prospects can go to a single source and get a great feel for the projects and initiatives driving economic growth in our area. Some of those projects we’re directly involved in, some we are not, but all are an important part of our community’s story that we want to make sure gets shared with the outside world.

From our beginning more than 100 years ago, we’ve been seeking to drive economic growth in our region. The competition has never been more fierce. The business community is leading the way, and we’re excited to work with our city, county, regional, state, university and utility partners.