This Wednesday and Thursday, join
as it highlights over 60 local businesses – ranging from coffeehouses to art galleries to tech startups – for a city-wide "open house" to foster collaborative professional relationships and community engagement.
OpenCo launched in San Francisco and has events in New York, London, and now Detroit.
"The inspiration behind it is that the current model that's in place (is) people go to an auditorium or ballroom and afterwards (feel) like, 'That was fun but what did I get out of it?'" says Liz Boone, co-owner of Midtown design shop Nora
and vice president of Federated Media Publishing
. "The goal here is the deeper level of learning and engagement that comes out of it. Another level of it is the collaboration piece – the Silicon Valley values of working together, collaborating, changing the environment and being in a space where work happens
. The value goes beyond just another conference."
Boone says the lineup of participants is curated very carefully. "The first conference in San Francisco was very tech-centric. When it went to New York and London is followed a similar track of representing these companies living these values of collaboration and innovation with a triple-bottom-line focus."
The companies highlighted embody these sort of "new economy" values, those that focus as much on profits as they do on giving back. "The goals with the Detroit OpenCo team is to have people take greater pride in what is going on in the city so they see a viable option of living and working here – basically, 'Look at all these young enthusiastic entrepreneurs who decided to make this their home.'"
Another value to OpenCo is introducing area entrepreneurs to each other, connecting people who might not have known about each other but who can find creative ways to work together. Ultimately, it's about building relationships.
Being only the fourth city to hold an OpenCo event puts Detroit in the same ranks as some of the world's largest cities and economic centers. John Battelle, founder of OpenCo and CEO of Federated Media Publishing, visited Detroit last year. He had lunch with Toby Barlow
, took a tour of city, and was very impressed overall. "We started throwing out some facts: 'Detroit has the largest trading border in the United States, with $500 million in business crossing the Ambassador Bridge every day. We have the largest number of engineers per capita than any other city in America.' It was so surprising to him." Boone says from there, going from San Francisco to New York to London, Detroit was simply a natural progression.
For a full lineup of participants and coordinating events, check out the website
Source: Liz Boone, co-owner of Nora and Vice President of Federated Media Publishing
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg
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