Pete Buttigieg in Conversation with INVANTI
It is difficult to imagine a world where INVANTI, West.SB, South Bend on Purpose, and Vested Interest exist without Pete Buttigieg first being elected mayor. His resurgent vision and talented administration have turned South Bend into a “shining model of urban reinvention.”
But the resurgence cannot stop at city hall. South Bend and the countless American cities it resembles rely on entrepreneurs to make new things. Enter INVANTI.
INVANTI is a startup generator based in South Bend that activates and attracts entrepreneurial talent to start companies that make communities stronger. The current cohort comprises seven people from New York, Washington D.C., St. Louis, Miami, Ireland, and Mishawaka focused on building scalable ventures to support America’s small business owners.
On Thursday, February 7th Pete Buttigieg interviewed a panel of the cohort members in front of a sold-out crowd about their time in South Bend and the problems they aim to solve. His opening remarks set an aspirational tone for the ensuing conversation:
Vested Interest and INVANTI both characterize a lot of what is special about South Bend. This community is America’s greatest answer to those who believe that we’re going to find greatness by looking to the past. What we have here is a living example of how we take elements from our past—we don’t pretend that our past is gone forever, we don’t ignore where we came from—we take the elements from the past and then fuse them with original thinking, and ideas that are going to find new value in those elements and fashion a whole different kind of future out of them.
What that takes more than anything else is courage, creativity, and ideas. So when you see a group of motivated, intelligent, diverse, high-energy people like the people here, this is the stuff that innovation and economic growth is made of, and actually even though the people who built this city in it’s first industrial wave 100 years ago would not recognize many of the things you’re working on, I actually think the best chance we have of emulating those very original thinkers in the past is to emulate their focus on the future. And so I think the best parts of the spirit where South Bend came from is alive in what these folks are doing.
- Pete Buttigieg