Discuss social entrepreneurship in Detroit at Jan. 19 Open City event

Engage with a panel of social entrepreneurs working in Detroit on Monday, Jan. 19 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) at 6:30 p.m. at Cliff Bell's for the first Open City event of 2015, "Be the Change: Social Entrepreneurs Making a Difference."

Open City is a monthly forum for aspiring and current business owners to exchange ideas and information about doing business in Detroit. Panelists for this month's "Be the Change" discussion include:

Pete Benedetto, director of Michigan Corps, a nonprofit whose mission is to empower individuals to make a positive impact in our state. Michigan Corps' two primary initiatives are the Social Entrepreneurship Challenge, a competition and fellowship program for innovative and impact-driven entrepreneurs, and Kiva Detroit, which facilitates interest-free loans for small businesses through an online crowdfunding platform. 

Pashon Murray, co-founder Detroit Dirt, a local composting and biomass collection company. Detroit Dirt specializes in providing compost and biomass solutions for the metro Detroit community. In 2012, Pashon launched Sustainable Integrations (SI) to combat environmental deterioration by learning, educating, leading, and serving the public.

Karla Henderson, executive director of Ponyride, a non-profit organization studying to see how the foreclosure crisis can have a positive impact on the community by providing low rent for socially-minded entrepreneurs. Prior to taking her position at Ponyride, Henderson served in Mayor Dave Bing's administration as the director of the Buildings, Safety, Engineering and Environmental Department.

The panel will be moderated by Yodit Mesfin Johnson, an activist, instigator, and a mom who is the founder of Lips & Hips, a women’s personal leadership development company. Johnson curates events, experiences, and most recently a year long curriculum-driven leadership class for women. She is also the chief relationship officer at NEW, a Michigan-based nonprofit that offers a multitude of business solutions to other nonprofits.

The panel discussion begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by a Q&A and casual networking. Open city buys you your first drink, but please note that the kitchen will be closed. For more infomation, visit the "Be the Change" Facebook event page.
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