NEI’s Dave Egner writes in Model D about Detroit’s entrepreneurial awakening.
In economic development circles, “pursue what you know” was the mantra, and what we had known for the previous 70 years were large-employer companies. These were the type of companies that didn’t always demand innovation from most of their employees, but whom they took care of from cradle-to-grave nonetheless. As recently as 2008, if you wanted an on-ramp to commercialize ideas or start a company (or grow an existing company, for that matter), you basically had to be a dogged serial entrepreneur willing to go it alone or be lucky enough to have access to the technology transfer office at a major university. There were only about four or five entities that were tangentially helping entrepreneurs – in fact, the term “entrepreneur” wasn’t really even in Michigan’s cultural lexicon for economic development. CONTINUE READING