Partnering with a small business owner to boost her coffee shop business, building a makerspace for students and the Brightmoor community, and working with Eastside city residents to create authentic tours are just a few projects the University of Michigan is collaborating on to boost entrepreneurial impact in Detroit.
The variety and volume of the efforts touch Detroit’s neighborhoods, its community organizations and its residents. While the specific goals and partners of each effort vary, all of the work aims to help boost the vitality of Detroit and the region.
“Detroit has a unique ecosystem of entrepreneurs: they are more focused on creating enterprises that can serve their community than in creating a super-slick presentation to investors,” said Jerry Davis, associate dean for Business + Impact at the Ross School of Business.
Through the Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project, for example, students and faculty support the community by providing free services such as help with accounting and advertising, trademark and copyright research, and creating a new logo and marketing plan, he said.
“The students gain deep insights into some of the practical realities of operating an enterprise, finding customers, making payroll, and contributing to the community. The benefit is truly mutual,” Davis said.
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