Detroit was built on the backs of Henry Ford and his automotive brethren. But this time, when Detroit rises, it may well be built by young women.

Detroit may struggle to attract supermarkets and national retailers, but it is enticing one unlikely group in scores. The Motor City is the new, surprising face of female entrepreneurship—and women in their 20s and 30s are leading the city’s revival through new ventures.

Within the past five years, Detroit has become known both as the Wild West and the land of opportunity for business founders, a significant proportion of them female. Lax regulation, low barriers to entry and a surging demand for products and services make the city, which is emerging from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, the ideal place to start a business. Add to the mix the legions of incubators, accelerators and resources available to all entrepreneurs sprouting up Downtown and in Midtown, and it’s clear why women are choosing en masse to locate their startups in Detroit.

“Detroit is in a period of reinvention and growth,” said Rachel Schostak, the 27-year-old founder of Styleshack, an e-commerce platform aggregating independent boutiques and designers. “While there are some challenges in a smaller market, the Detroit business community and leaders are looking for fresh minds and talent, and I've used that to my advantage.”

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