Detroit Works Project gives entrepreneurs their say

The Detroit Works Project isn't just about revamping neighborhoods. City officials are also interested in expanding a dialogue with Detroit's current entrepreneurs and potential business owners. To get the conversation started, the DWP will host a summit for entrepreneurs on May 12 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Display Group headquarters, 1700 Fort St.

Fusion Detroit director Christianne Sims, who's helping to put on this and other summits targeted at the city's industry sectors, says the city knows that there's a variety of special interest constituency groups the city wanted to reach out to. "The city really needed the input from this group and it not only pertained to Detroit's redevelopment from a neighborhood level, but from an economic level, too," she says.

Members of Detroit's entrepreneurial community have joined forces with the city to make this and other summits happen. However, this won't be a "Business 101: guide to opening your business in the city" class.

"It's not, 'here's how to open a business in the city,'" she says. "The goal of the summit is more about what would make Detroit a better environment for businesses. Right now, it has a low barrier to entry, but at the same time, as we go forward, we want to know what else needs to be improved on or expanded upon. We want to focus on the good things while removing obstacles."

One example that Sims says will be given some attention will be bringing the food truck concept, made famous in cities like London and Austin, to the Motor City. "There are members of the community who are working with the city of Detroit to make it a public-level possibility here," says Sims.

Sims says she's most excited to begin building a larger constituency group of entrepreneurs in the city. "The city is open to having this happen," she says, "and this dialogue is what's going to help things move forward."

Source: Christianne Sims, director, Fusion Detroit
Writer: Ashley C. Woods
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