Prior to its recently embarrassing period of decay, the Paris of the Midwest represented just the opposite: for decades, Detroit’s powerful heartbeat determined the nation’s innovation pulse. By stagnating, Detroit’s muscle found itself disrupted and Detroit entered a dark period chock full of corruption, greed, tunnel-vision, and crime. Revitalizing a carcass of what once was a thriving city has been nothing short of insurmountable, but incredibly, it’s happening anyway.

This reclaimed city from within, Detroit 2.0, has taken shape thanks in large part to a few powerful, dedicated individuals working tirelessly. People across the nation can recognize these names: Mayor Dave Bing, the man committed to rebooting the city’s woeful financial structure, Dan Gilbert (my friend and partner at Detroit Venture Partners), the champion behind 3 million refurbished square feet of office space encouraging a comprehensive downtown lifestyle, and Mike Ilitch, owner of two downtown sports teams and world-renowned pizza chain, bringing millions of people into the city annually for sporting events.

So what about the rest of our city? These powerhouses will be responsible for billions in revenue, but a city only truly thrives with “little guys” on board as game-changers too. I’m not Pollyanna here – there’s serious problems that won’t go away without monumental effort in numerous fields, but people are taking steps to fix issues affecting all of us – and lessons they’re teaching us here are applicable elsewhere.

Andy Didorosi of The Detroit Bus Company:
Instead of whining, pointing fingers and carrying on about Detroit’s lack of mass transportation, a 25-year-old entrepreneur started a company to connect neighborhoods. His bio-diesel powered bus service operates on Friday and Saturday nights from 6 pm until 2 am. For $5, riders can get on and off both lines interchangeably all night, drink in hand. Even more compelling is DBC’s “We Ride” program: for every seat purchased, they’ll provide another Detroiter in need a free ride to work. As it stands, thousands of people don’t have a reliable, affordable way to get to work, so this company offers a homegrown solution for people to keep their jobs, and their dignity in getting there.

Lesson Learned: There’s always a better way to connect the dots, even those on a map.

Click HERE to read the rest of this article by Josh Linkner on Forbes (dot) com! 


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