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Winners chosen for Scale Up! South Bend competition

Published: Mar. 25, 2021 at 6:57 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The NCAA has whittled its field down to the Sweet 16, while the City of South Bend today named 15-finalists in its first-ever Scaling Up! Competition.

All 15 Scaling Up! finalists are winners.

All will receive a big assist when it comes to growing and expanding their companies.

“What we have here is premium specialty grade Ethiopian coffee imported from Ethiopia by my wife and I,” said Joe Luten with Importin’ Joe’s Coffee.

Importin’ Joe’s is an express coffee delivery service that gets most of its orders online. There is no home office per se. In fact, Joe attended a morning Zoom meeting while standing in the parking lot of his print shop.

“You know this small, handheld office in my pocket here. You know I can virtually work from anywhere in the world,”Luten explained.

But because Luten works out of South Bend—he competed in a city funded program called Scaling Up! designed to help grow and expand small product-based companies now operating out of the likes of city basements and garages.

Some 60 applications were received for the 15 openings.

“All research and all studies show that the real job creation and investment comes from small business,” said Dan Buckenmeyer with South Bend’s Community Investment Department. “So, at this point, we’re germinating folks that are a one to three person business and giving them the tools to become a 30 person business.”

Those tools include a 14-week training course provided by a Chicago based marketing and distribution consultant that specializes in helping acorn sized small businesses grow into oak trees.

Program graduates will be offered deeply discounted rent to move into a multi-tenant space in the Sibley Machine building off Sample Street.

“It would be amazing for us to potentially land in a facility like this, you know, in part of a cohort like Scaling Up!” said Joe Luten.

Tenants would get a 99-percent rent discount for the first six months followed by a 66-percent discount for the second six months, and a 33-percent discount for the third six-month extension.

The South Bend Redevelopment Commission today agreed to spend $250,000 on building improvements that include replacing boarded up windows with new ones.

It’s hoped the Scaling Up! tenants will bring the inside of the building back to life.

“South Bend has been really critical and intentional in their efforts to make sure that they create a pipeline of resources for minority owned small businesses within the community,” Luten said.

“If we can create a movement in South Bend for these folks who are again, flying away by themselves with spouses with friends, making things, and make them a success, it’s a success for South Bend,” Buckenmeyer added.

The winners are:

All Over Creations—A mobile bakery that caters to festivals, weddings and other events.

Sugar Rush by Jessica—offering homemade treats dipped in chocolate.

Luna and Loki Design—offering hand crafted leather and vegan earrings.

Importin’ Joe’s Ethiopian Coffee—a roasted coffee delivery service also offered at select retail locations.

Mixxture Beauty—offering plant-based beauty and pet care products.

Junk to Jazz Wearable Art—upcycling and recycling home devore and wearable art.

Twisted Craft Junkies—offering handmade wooden home décor.

Oils of Nature LLC—offering vegan skin and hair care products.

Pretty Lips by Sonya—offering lashes, lip gloss, body scrubs and more.

Chef John Ward BBQ Sauce and Seasonings—offering homemade sauces and spices.

Kelly’s Green Living—creating art with botanicals and moss.

Sours Enterprises—a custom screen printing company.

South Bend Print Shop—offering custom screen printing.

Andrew Wilson Smith Sculpture Studio—featuring architectural sculpture, ornamental art, fine art sculpture in stone, cast stone, plaster, and other materials.

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