1) Boldly share your vision. With a national ad campaign and a matching website and presence, “Opportunity Detroit” is actively marketing to young entrepreneurs, targeting them to bring their ideas here. When nobody is in your corner, you have to be your own loudspeaker. Once people recognize your greatness they’ll get on their own soapboxes on your behalf – until then, spread your message yourself.
2) Focus on impact more than personal gain. If you’re championing a cause and making a difference, your results will be better and more widespread. Ted Serbinski, our Vice President at Detroit Venture Partners, moved to Detroit from San Francisco. People always ask him why he came here, to which he always replies, “Ten years from now, San Francisco will be just as good as it is today. But in ten years, Detroit will be a roaring city once again, defining a new technology hub at the intersection of muscle and brains. Where do you want to be in ten years? Status quo? Or one of the heroes that rebuilt a city?” Couldn’t have said it better myself.
3) Become a category of one. Figuring out your individual strengths is crucial – and sometimes challenging. It’s easy for people to question how Detroit can be the Midwestern Silicon Valley or the “New York City of Michigan”. Focus instead on being the “Detroit” of “Detroit” and be the best you can. No different for your startup, company, or career: if you’re not innovating something fundamentally unique, positioning yourself as your own category, I’m not interested.
4) Pay it forward. With success comes responsibility. When you’re in a position to help someone in a community that has supported your gains, you should do so. If you open a coffee shop and you’re the hottest new spot in town, source the baked goods you provide from an up-and-coming baker who’s looking to make a splash – get her the exposure you’ve been fortunate enough to have yourself. For every ounce, minute, and dollar you give back, you’ll receive tenfold in return.
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