One of the most attractive aspects of Detroit to aspiring entrepreneurs is the low building costs. The Motor City has an abundance of vacant property at inexpensive prices in need of business owners with dreams. The rub is that much of that property needs large investment to make it commercial ready. A new small business incubator in North Corktown hopes to bridge that gap.
Practice·Space is in the midst of rehabbing an old automotive repair garage into a new incubator that will offer both workspace and residency options for participants. The idea is to offer a platform for aspiring entrepreneurs to not only get their business ideas off the ground but to build out the future homes for these enterprises.
"At the heart of this is a desire to introduce architecture to entrepreneurship," says Justin Mast, program director of Practice·Space
. "There is a large need for architectural development."
Mast has secured a lease for the future home of Practice·Space and has been working on renovating the space at 14th and Perry streets, just north of Slows, all year. He hopes to open in September. Mast has also lined up a handful of successful, local business people as advisors, including Ryan Cooley (O'Connor Real Estate/Slows), Christian Unverzagt (M1/DTW
) and Kaija Wuollet (Aberrations Design).
Practice·Space has already lined up its first client, Jenile Brooks of Harvest Express
. The project Brooks, and partner Eleni Zaharopoulos, will be working on at Practice · Space is the North End Food Hub, a prep kitchen, cafe and culinary library. Mast plans to add more incubator clients on a quarterly basis over the next year, topping out at three or four at a time.
Detroit has a number of growing number of small business incubators, ranging from TechTown
, among others. Mast thinks Practice·Space can complement what is already here and he wants his incubator's tenants to also take advantage of other local business development resources from other entrepreneurial programs, such as D:hive's BUILD
"One of the things that makes us unique is our focus," Mast says. "We are taking a focused view of bringing architecture and storytelling and business together to back their project."
Source: Justin Mast, program director of Practice·Space
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.