January 30, 2015 terrencejlreeves

5 Moves that Impacted Detroit Entrepreneurs in 2014

5 Moves that Impacted Detroit Entrepreneurs in 2014 – Janaury 30, 2015 

By: Quentin G. Love 

Public-Private Partnerships (P3s)

Love or loathe them, P3s have been a hot topic this year and things will likely get even hotter now after a conference was held here downtown.  There is room for improvement, but it’s very unlikely that much large scale development will occur without them, so pay attention. These projects will open the door of opportunity for prepared entrepreneurs to start up and scale up.

Here are some of the P3s underway or very soon to come:

+ The District, the Ilitch Holdings Project ($650 Million)

+ M-1 Rail ($137 Million)

+ American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute ($148 Million)

Weather

Weather has played a significant role in how businesses have operated this year.  With record snowfalls, natural disaster level flooding and mild summer temps – brick and mortar locations have been hit especially hard and forced to adapt.  Being able to quickly adjust to mother-nature is imperative for businesses that want to hold onto their competitive position. By showing customers weather will not disrupt operations, a business can increase customer confidence.  So put on your gloves and do your best to make it happen no matter the forecast.   

Media

Increasingly, national media seems to have finally taken the additional step to discover some of the success stories of the past few years.  And Detroit is undergoing a rebranding, formally and informally.  The City has been posting content on its own but still has a long way to go in regards to gathering what’s out there and telling the stories. The next step will be finding the dollars to amplify the message.  Yet, as success continues, so does the opportunity for exposure.  There are a number of angles the media can select for stories, let’s just hope more continue their sheep like mentality and over-index on the positive ones.

Women

Killing it. From Jill Ford arriving late this year to head entrepreneurship initiatives for Detroit and Andra Rushing being invited as a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama during this year’s State of the Union address, to other entrepreneurial women in Detroit, there are some good indicators to celebrate.  However, there’s still much work to do before being able to claim widespread success.  Such as encouraging mentorship, access to resources, securing financing and shifting the mindset and culture of old networks is a continued fight. Yet if they’re paying attention, the results are speaking for themselves.   

Placemaking

Creating “anchor” destinations has been a winning strategy across the country to revitalize regions and Detroit is no exception. From the expansion of public spaces like Campus Martius to the many cultural and civic engagement initiatives in Southwest, people go where business, entrepreneurship, social and safe spaces spring up.  However, being intentional about how an area will be developed requires a diverse group of perspectives, engaging multiple stakeholders.  For an entrepreneur, getting outside of their place of business is key to ensuring their story is brought to life and relatable to new neighbors and partners as they arrive.  When Whole Foods first began its urban plan, it held a number of meetings to cull support and understand the local perspective.  Now, a second store is in the works, due in large part to the first location being one part grocery store, one part community hub. Whole Food’s first location is a successful example of placemaking urban planners will refer to for years to come.  

*Bonus points: Neighborhoods (Avenue of Fashion, the North End, Osborn, the Villages), exciting Capital (Minority Business Access Fund, NEI Ideas).

Quentin Love is a Partner at Growth Strats, LLC. 

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