Detroit’s New Economy Initiative Receives $33M


DETROIT — Ten national, regional and local foundations have committed $33.25 million in new funding to continue the work of the New Economy Initiative to not only foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, but also build a network of support for entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout the Detroit region.

Through its first round of funding, the organization was awarded $76 million in grants, served more than 35,000 entrepreneurs, and helped to create more than 675 new companies and 8,000 new jobs in the Southeast Michigan economy. In addition, more than $500 million was leveraged into the entrepreneurial ecosystem through not only entrepreneurs themselves, but also through the grantees and service providers.

The work of the organization has also helped to bring out more than 700 patents and invention disclosures in the region and exposed more than 250 business ventures to 80 local and national investors. In addition, Accelerate Michigan, an international business competition developed by the New Economy Initiative, has led to more than $4 million distributed in awards and, in 2013 alone, exposure to 70 venture capitalists representing $1 trillion in capital.

To date, the New Economy Initiative has received commitments from nine of its original funders, with the addition of the William Davidson Foundation. The new funding currently breaks down as follows:

  • The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (Miami) – $5 million
  • Ford Foundation (New York) – $5 million
  • The Kresge Foundation (Detroit) – $5 million
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation (Battle Creek) – $5 million
  • The William Davidson Foundation (Southfield) – $5 million
  • Hudson-Webber Foundation (Detroit) – $2.5 million
  • Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Flint) – $2 million
  • Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (Detroit) – $1.5 million
  • The Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation (Southfield) – $1.5 million
  • McGregor Fund (Detroit) – $750,000

“The re-commitment from our original partners, as well as a new supporter, is due to the success NEI has demonstrated in this region,” said Mariam Noland, president, CFSEM. “It’s imperative we build on the momentum of this initiative to put us in a better position for long-term and sustained economic growth.

“By developing an infrastructure and culture that is supportive of the diverse community of entrepreneurs, we can change the face of our economic future for the better,” said David Egner, NEI executive director. “And at the same time, we’re also helping to create a more diverse economy where jobs and prosperity are available for everyone.”

In its next phase of work, NEI will focus on the below three areas:

  • Grow the network of service providers that will ultimately help businesses start and grow. NEI will also leverage its grantmaking role to continue to convene and connect these providers, so they increasingly operate like a network to serve the needs of entrepreneurs.
  • Support new ideas in the ecosystem and fill the gaps that still exist.
  • Promote and encourage entrepreneurship across the entire region through events and activities, and spread awareness of the support available.

The New Economy Initiative was launched in 2008 when 10 foundations came together to form a unique $100 million philanthropic initiative to address economic issues in Southeast Michigan.