DETROIT — D:hive, a hub for resources to live, work, engage or start a business in Detroit, is expanding its offerings for entrepreneurs in the city by presenting the upcoming season of Open City, a free monthly networking forum. In partnership with Detroit Creative Corridor Center and Model D Media, Open City will facilitate the exchange of ideas and information among Detroit entrepreneurs with the goal of supporting business development and collaboration.
As Open City’s new host, D:hive aims to engage an increasingly diverse group of entrepreneurs in its 2012-2013 season. Each month, Open City invites panelists to generate discussion around a theme relevant to current trends, and expose entrepreneurs to new ideas. Previous topics have included Green & Sustainable Business and The Art of the Pitch. This season’s first event, “Do it in Detroit,” will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 22 at Cliff Bell’s and will emphasize the stories of business owners in the city. Throughout the year, participants can expect to discuss funding sources, economic development, mentorship, learning from failure, and more.
Open City was started by Claire Nelson, Publisher of Model D Media, and Liz Blondy, founder of Canine to Five, as an informal gathering for local entrepreneurs to share resources and ideas for business development. It has since established itself as a primary venue for entrepreneurs to learn from each other in a casual environment.
“It’s great how far Detroit has come since we called the first Open City meeting in September 2007,” said Nelson. “Jackie Victor of Avalon International Breads was our first speaker, and she shared her story of friends and neighbors pre-buying loaves of bread to help open their bakery in the Cass Corridor. That’s the kind of cooperative spirit Open City is all about.”
Over a five-year span, Open City has facilitated the development of several local businesses including Supino Pizzeria, Good People Popcorn and Wheelhouse Detroit. Dave Mancini, founder of Supino Pizzeria, credits Open City with helping him find the right space for his pizzeria.
“You never know who’s going to have the solution for you, I had looked all over the city for a space before coming to Open City,” said Mancini. “After the second meeting I was connected to the folks over at Russell Street Deli and discovered what ended up being my space in Eastern Market.”
Detroit’s community of entrepreneurs has grown steadily since Open City began in 2007. Resources available to budding entrepreneurs are plentiful and growing. Crowd funding programs such as Detroit SOUP and grant competitions such as HATCH Detroit are supporting creative projects and startups on a small and large scale. Business development resources such as D:hive’s own 8-week BUILD course, and accelerators such as Dan Gilbert’s Bizdom and Wayne State University’s TechTown, provide entrepreneurs with the mentorship and skills needed to follow through on that creative spark.
More information on Open City can be found at www.opencitydetroit.com, www.dhivedetroit.org/build/opencity and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/OpenCityDetroit.