It's no secret that Detroit has seen better days. But as good news trickles into the city, there's hope that it might soon return to its former glory. Chief among the reasons to believe in Detroit is its growing number of young entrepreneurs and small business owners who have manged to thrive despite the city's economic headwinds.
Meet some of the success stories that are keeping the hope of an urban Renaissance alive. Here are some young up-and-comers revving up the Motor City:
Veronika Scott, founder of The Empowerment Plan
As a student at Detroit's The College for Creative Studies, Veronika Scott envisioned a coat that is designed to keep its user warm, and that could also be used as a sleeping bag for the city's homeless. That vision was realized with The Empowerment Project, a non-profit Scott started to manufacture and distribute her life-improving outerwear. Despite subsisting off individual and institutional donations, Scott distributed roughly 4,000 coats last year.
Henry Balanon, founder of The Glass Card/Protean
What if you could combine all of your credit cards into a single piece of glass? This sci-fi idea became reality when Henry Balanon founded The Glass Company, which hopes to manufacture an electronic glass card that can selectively act as any one of your credit or debit cards. Now called "Echo," the forthcoming device aspires to transform payment. Balanon is currently fundraising to develop and release Echo, "the only card you'll ever need."
Amy Kaherl, director of Detroit SOUP
SOUP, a microgranting company founded in 2010, hosts a monthly dinner that not only feeds participants but gives them a hand in getting their business ideas off the ground. Diners pay $5 each to eat and pitch their ideas, with the best idea receiving all of the proceeds from food and drink sales that night. This amount often ranges between $900 and $2000. As of January 2014, Detroit SOUP has donated over $55,000 to community projects and businesses in Detroit.
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