D:hive Emerges as Resource Hub for Detroit Entrepreneurs



DETROIT — The newly launched D:hive, a hub for resources to live, work, engage or start a business in Detroit, announced today that it has doubled the capacity for the fall session of BUILD, its business and project planning class for micro-entrepreneurs. D:hive created BUILD in response to the growing interest in social, cultural and economic entrepreneurship in Detroit, and is expanding its offerings due to the high demand.

By summer, BUILD will have graduated 45 Detroit entrepreneurs from its four sessions completed since winter 2012. With dozens currently on the waiting list, D:hive responded to the increasing demand for the eight-week curriculum by adding two classes for the fall.

“Detroit is increasingly fertile ground for smaller, locally-focused startups and projects,” explained Executive Director Jeff Aronoff. “The entrepreneurs we're seeing at D:hive are not only talented, but eager to connect their success to the growing energy in Detroit.  In response, the community is providing extraordinary levels of support and resources not readily accessible in other places.”

BUILD guides participants through the process of developing a business plan in a collaborative environment, with the insight of community experts and a particular emphasis on fundamentals and sustainability. After graduating, participants have access to ongoing mentorship and strategic business advice from D:hive staff and partners, as well as community support, funding, guidance and other resources.

“Between the type of program it is, in terms of working with other entrepreneurs, and the D:hive staff, BUILD has helped me take my business to the next level,” said Angelique Robinson, owner of Treats by Angelique, which makes specialty desserts. “My relationship with D:hive has been definitely ongoing; I’m now applying for Hatch Detroit [the competition for small businesses] and [D:hive] has been helping me put together my essay.” She hopes to win funding to open a storefront sweet shop.

One other such resource BUILD participants have access to is D:pop, a retail space and collaboration of D:hive with Margarita Barry’s Detroit Pop, LLC. Launched in late June as a shop inside D:hive, D:pop features rotating products and a pop-up style installation, providing retail opportunity for local entrepreneurs, artisans and other creators. It currently offers products from the companies of two BUILD graduates, Beau Bien Fine Foods and Public Threads.

BUILD is based on a nationally recognized curriculum that has been successful in Chattanooga, TN and Cincinnati, OH, having graduated more than 2,000 entrepreneurs. The two fall classes of BUILD will run eight weeks, from September to November. Interested parties can apply online at dhivedetroit.org/BUILD.

D:hive is designed to welcome new recruits and assist existing innovators in the city, in order to grow and keep more talent in Detroit. Its storefront Welcome Center provides individuals with information, connections and key tools they need to live, work and engage in the city. D:hive is located in the heart of downtown Detroit, at 1253 Woodward Avenue. D:hive is a project of the Downtown Detroit Partnership, with support from the Hudson-Webber Foundation, Quicken Loans/Rock Ventures, Model D Media, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and others.

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