Detroit’s entrepreneurs need support to build sustainable businesses

May 12, 2016 | Mark S. Lee | Crain’s

I have been fortunate to be involved with several programs over the last few weeks focusing on entrepreneurship and small business development across Detroit. Whether speaking to business leaders or hosting events, one thing’s becoming clear: There’s no time like right now to start a business here.

Detroit is quickly emerging as a leader nationally in the field of entrepreneurship.

However, when I first started covering entrepreneurship several years ago, it was a different story. The vibe and enthusiasm were relatively muted and bankruptcy had not yet hit the city.

How times have changed.

For example, last year I hosted a small business workshop focused on assisting entrepreneurs in developing a strategic framework for growth. We attracted quite a few aspiring and existing business owners looking to establish and grow businesses.

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“Your Critical Keys for Success” held May 3 at TechTown in Detroit is one of several events designed to assist small businesses. The event was presented by Fifth Third Bank in conjunction with the LEE Group

Recently, we offered another program focused on “Your Critical Keys for Success” focused on the same target audience. Attendance was nearly double. In fact, it was standing-room only.

It’s great new businesses are opening across the city and region. However, the challenge now is to begin to focus on long-term sustainability and profitable growth.

While interest in the small business scene has grown significantly, it’s been widely reported across various publications that failure rates for new businesses are still high nationally, ranging from 50 percent to 80 percent over the first 18 months.

Therefore, I believe the challenge is to begin to provide resources and support focused on sustainability and profitable growth. Many efforts have sprouted over the last several years, yet there’s a heightened opportunity to ensure collaboration and integration of efforts are critical factors in supporting Detroit’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

View Full article at Crain’s

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