Home Detroit Local News That Matters Ross School Announces Initiative to Boost Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project

Ross School Announces Initiative to Boost Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project

Ross School Announces Initiative to Boost Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project

The University of Michigan’s Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project, which has provided assistance to almost 700 small businesses since its inception in 2016, has recently relocated to the Ross School of Business from its previous location at the Ford School of Public Policy.

According to Christie Ayotte Baer, managing director of DNEP, the relocation enhances the connection between Detroit’s emerging businesses and the wide range of entrepreneurial resources provided by one of the top business schools in the country.

A race/wealth gap intervention called DNEP has been successfully incubated at the Ford School. This program primarily focuses on working with minority-owned businesses, which make up about 90% of the businesses involved. According to the speaker, Ford provided a perspective on our work that focused on economic and community development.

With the program’s expansion, a strategic decision was made to redirect the focus towards harnessing extensive entrepreneurship expertise. Consequently, the program relocated to the prestigious Ross School. Additionally, the accounting services and summer internship program both have their roots at Ross and are currently based there.

The Ross School is renowned for its entrepreneurship programs and operates the Impact Studio, an incubator dedicated to student-led impact businesses. A grad course in Detroit is gaining recognition for its efforts to foster green businesses in the city. Additionally, Detroit is home to the DNEP/Impact Studio summer internship program, which provides support to local businesses.

Jerry Davis, the faculty director for Business+Impact at the Ross School, highlighted the significant growth of DNEP and its positive impact on the Ross School. For several years, DNEP has been connecting with clients in Detroit for a wide range of classes. According to the speaker, the decision to move DNEP to the Business+Impact unit at Ross was a logical step to ensure the continuation of its valuable contributions.

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A collaborative effort has always been at the core of the program, with faculty members from Ford, Ross, and other schools, as well as students from various departments across campus. Students from various academic disciplines, such as Engineering, Art & Design, Law, and Information, are included in this group.

Ross School Announces Initiative to Boost Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project

“We strive to support businesses until they are financially capable of employing professional staff.” Baer expressed his willingness to provide assistance in various areas such as accounting, legal matters, business strategy, and marketing. In an effort to enhance its ability to serve the residents of Detroit and provide students with practical experience, the program has announced its intention to increase the number of supervising faculty members.

“Recognizing our role is crucial,” Baer emphasized. “Students are informed that consultants are always advised against assuming the role of Player 1.” In every story, the business owner emerges as the hero. “We can play crucial roles as nonplayer characters, assisting the hero in their quest for success.”

Over the past few years, the program has directed its attention towards particular neighborhoods such as Jefferson Chalmers, Southwest, and Six Mile/Livernois. One aspect of the effort involves attracting businesses to those neighborhoods.

Lutalo Sanifu, the director of Neighborhood Resilience, Safety & Business District Services for Jefferson East Inc., expressed his enthusiasm for the Ross connection. According to Jefferson East, he has been collaborating with DNEP for a number of years and has developed a strong rapport with the organization.

“The business owners greatly benefit from the opportunity to meet with a team from DNEP and thoroughly analyze their business to identify potential areas for improvement,” Sanifu expressed. The majority of our business owners are individuals who run microbusinesses or work as solopreneurs. Having additional individuals contributing to their process is crucial for their success.

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