ESTEEM Start-Up enFocus Impacts Economic Development

Author: Rebekah DeLine

Born from the minds of ESTEEM students, enFocus seeks to implement bold, innovative solutions to improve the economic fabric of our region

South Bend's enFocus is a model for cities and towns all over the country that are struggling to adapt to the new economy.  Due to the decline in the once powerful industrial sector, regions in the Northeastern and the East North Central States have suffered greatly.   Economic decline, population loss and urban decay have led to business closures where boarded up warehouses and buildings are sadly, far too numerous.  The City of South Bend has not been immune from these same struggles.  However, the University of Notre Dame's enFocus is partnering with local businesses, non-profits and the public sector to begin solving some of the area’s most difficult challenges -- and at the same time create tremendous opportunity for economic and community development through entrepreneurship and innovation. Taking great pride not only in their affiliation with the University of Notre Dame but with the City of South Bend and surrounding communities, our enFocus fellows are working to develop scalable , sustainable business models to create meaningful, measurable impact.
enFocus was launched by the ESTEEM Program and local business and community leaders in May 2012. It is comprised primarily of STEM graduates who are hired in to one or two year paid fellowship positions. The fellows, in their first year, were able to identify and help implement savings of $3.2 million for the City of South Bend, which will now be used to support schools, emergency services and healthcare clinics around the city. enFocus is a model of how entrepreneurial spirit, combined with education and skill sets, can help to fundamentally change the longer-term trajectory for economic and community development in the cities and towns we love.
Fighting for South Bend-and for our Notre Dame community.  Fighting for our hometowns—wherever they may be.  We are-the “Fighting Irish”.