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M@dison Building, D:hive, coffee shops dominate start-up news in 2012

Small business news in 2012 wasn't dominated by individual start-ups as much as it was the places that let them grow. Here are the Top 5 enablers of Detroit's entrepreneurial ecosystem.

M@dison Building
Nothing has been grabbing headlines in Metro Detroit's business community like the M@dison Building. If there is a beacon for the region's emerging new economy, its the M@dison Building. Stoking the flames of that light are some of the building's top tenants, such as the Detroit Venture Partners and Detroit Labs. It's attracting out-of-town offices from the likes of Twiiter and TextFromLastNight, along with out-of-state start-ups like Stik and Quikkly.

D:Hive, DC3 and TechTown
Incubators and hives in Detroit are also helping drive the Motor City's entrepreneurial spirit, helping a growing number of aspiring entrepreneurs reach for their business dream. D:hive's BUILD program has graduated dozens of fresh entrepreneurs looking to launch life-style businesses. The Detroit Creative Corridor Center is pumping out creatively based companies and TechTown continues to be the go-to business incubator pumping out firms and jobs.

Talent Programs
Start-ups aren't the only things bringing in new college graduates to Detroit in 2012. Talent-attraction programs like Venture for America and Challenge Detroit have brought dozens of talented young people to the Motor City working for start ups and name-corporations, alike. Both organizations look to do the same thing again in 2013.

Coffee Shops Galore
Coffee shops popped up in Detroit in 2012 almost as fast as start ups moved into the M@dison Building. Of course one of those coffee shops, Chez Zara, opening up was in the M@dison Building. Other notable openings in the greater downtown area include The Bottom Line and the Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co. in Midtown, the Roasting Plant in downtown and the pop-up Cafe Con Leche del Este in Lafayette Park. AJ's Coffeeworks, formerly of Ferndale, made the move to Highland Park and Always Brewing Detroit also opened in Grandmont Rosedale.

Accelerate Michigan
The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, Michigan's premier business plan competition, spent its first two years in Ann Arbor. It made the move to downtown Detroit this fall, awarding $1 million in prizes to start-ups from across Michigan.

And here is a quick list of start-ups worth keeping an eye on 2013: Ubi Video, Glyph, LevelEleven, Fresh Corner Cafe, iRule, Corridor Sausage Co, LOVELAND Technologies, Detroit Bus Co, Rippld, Simply Suzanne, McClures Pickles, Are You a Human and Shinola.

Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
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