While the resurgence of Detroit’s auto industry has been an integral component of the city’s stabilization, business leaders agree that entrepreneurship and small businesses are at the heart of the city’s renaissance. So, what does it take for small business owners and entrepreneurs to be successful in a city like Detroit and elsewhere? This event aimed to unpack the answer in the updated findings from the Detroit Reinvestment Index, a comprehensive report created and issued by The Kresge Foundation that measures Detroit’s comeback from its history-making bankruptcy in 2014. The report focuses on national business leaders’ perceptions of Detroit as a place in which to invest or conduct business, as well as the strengths and weaknesses perceived by local entrepreneurs. In its second year, the report finds that both national business leaders and local entrepreneurs continue to be bullish about Detroit and cite a positive outlook on and impression of the city.
Following a presentation of the Detroit Reinvestment Index, a panel of leaders examined Detroit’s strategy to bet big on small businesses, explored whether it can serve as a model for other Rustbelt cities, and discussed what small business owners and entrepreneurs still require in order to continue to power Detroit’s comeback. Panelists included a small business owner on the forefront of the local Ag-tech industry, and representatives from organizations providing private market capital, philanthropic investments, and support services, who in aggregate are helping foster the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Detroit and NE Ohio.