What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
I'm a graduate of the 2009-2010 Bizdom U class of entrepreneurs.Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
Our first client was a Detroit-based designer shoe start-up by the name of Jimmy Kicks. Jimmy Kicks is another Bizdom U start-up, so we see each other every day!Where did you find your first employee?
Our first employees have all been Bizdom U graduates so far. We'll be hiring a few from outside in a few months, and are starting the search for qualified sales-persons first through word-of-mouth.Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
Not yet, but we are looking into interns as potential employees.Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
Our sole investor thus far is the Bizdom U Start-Up Fund.What could local leaders do to help attract and retain more entrepreneurial young people to Metro Detroit?
There are a few things:
1) Free up capital for start-ups. This is the single biggest thing that could be done. If there are hot start-ups happening in Detroit, young people will come.
2) Invest in and organize community art projects. This is already starting to happen, but needs to grow. Examples from downtown areas such as Los Angeles show us that urban community revivals and regrowth are often led by young groups of artists. Art and unbridled creativity are attractive to young people.
3) Increase public transportation availability. Young people are all about the green movement, and often don't have the funds to own their own vehicles. Green up and cheapen up the bus system, install light rails, and do anything else possible to give free and green metro transportation. Great examples of this working wonders are Portland, Seattle, and Denver.
4) Increase availability of sustainable living. This goes with the green movement. Anything city leaders can do to help support urban farming, recycling programs, and waste-free lifestyles are a huge plus. Hold neighborhood "free" drives alongside farmers markets, where people bring unwanted/excess items to freely trade with other holders of unwanted/excess items. Freecycle.org is a great online working of this - but inner-city community meet-ups could be even more effective.If you could change one thing about this region, what would it be?
The attitude. There is still a pervasive attitude of pessimism both outside and inside of Detroit. If the media stops calling Detroit a hopeless symbol of failure, and the citizens stop believing there's no way out, then ideas of progress and regrowth would again have a chance to infect and spread.