Lots of rust belt cities boast of a burgeoning start-up economy, but entrepreneurship may face its greatest test in Detroit, a city battered by the auto industry's struggles. Start-ups are growing, what with cheap downtown office space, abundant talent, and "Made in Detroit" grit. The city has a dozen venture funds, and high-rise loft apartments beckon to software engineers. But downtown dwellers live among a soaring homeless population, and new tech companies sit down the road from three casinos, part of the city's regrowth strategy. The city is plagued by abandoned buildings and an exodus of residents. This gallery showcases that ongoing economic tug of war.
A 30,000-square-foot warehouse designed for artists and entrepreneurs. One tenant is Veronika Scott, whose Empowerment Plan hires homeless women to make coats that double as sleeping bags. Rent: 10 cents to 20 cents per square foot Test Case: Developer and designer Phillip Cooley sees it as a study of how the foreclosure crisis can positively affect communities.
Quicken Loans founder and homegrown businessman Dan Gilbert's entrepreneurship accelerator, with 37 start-ups in its portfolio. Number of Local Ventures funded: 18 per year No Time to Lose: Bizdom hosts three accelerator sessions annually.
Once one of the most notorious abandoned buildings in the country. A local consortium started a $53 million residential redevelopment in 2010, creating loftlike spaces for young professionals. Occupancy: 100 percent In Demand: Five days after the building’s opening, all 124 apartments were leased.
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