conscious company magazine

By Jessica Meyer —

There’s still a lot of work left in bringing the new prosperity to all residents [of Detroit], but community leaders are now looking beyond basic stability toward cutting-edge inclusivity, diversity, and urban design. Meet six organizations and innovators leading the charge…


In addition to growing a jobs base for residents in development-related trades, Detroit also has an opportunity to help its residents define their own economic destinies through entrepreneurship. The New Economy Initiative (NEI), a special project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, works to build a network of support for entrepreneurs and small businesses. In 2014, NEI launched NEIdeas, a program focused on supporting neighborhood businesses through grants and technical services with an emphasis on minority and female entrepreneurs. The pillars of NEI’s work continue to be collaboration and inclusion; it focuses its financial support and program development on creating an entrepreneurial network for all stages and needs of business growth, in particular helping entrepreneurs from communities historically cut off from capital build confidence in pursuing funding.

NEI’s leadership thinks Detroit has a chance to do something unique if it can build relationships between neighborhood small businesses and tech startups that are clustering in the city’s greater downtown area. “We’re in the process of learning how to reinforce ties between small business and the high-tech and innovation world,” says Pam Lewis, director of NEI. “They are not mutually exclusive. There can be a meaningful connection between those two worlds. Some of our work will focus on articulating that connection so we and others in the ecosystem can understand it better.”

Read more: Conscious Company Magazine