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I am Young Detroit

Detroit, MI 48201

Margarita Barry

What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
I'm a 2009 graduate of the Bizdom U, Dan Gilbert's entrepreneurship training boot camp in Detroit. It was there that I learned the importance of developing a strong company culture and brand. One of the most valuable assets that I gained out of the program was the network of young entrepreneurs I met, who I now call my friends. We've all taken leadership roles in some capacity, most of us offering support when needed. It's important to build a network and surround yourself with go-getters who are on board with helping you to succeed.

Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
Our first sponsored blog post was by Blumz by JR Designs. One of the owners contacted us online about advertising opportunities, and we've been in the business of collaborating ever since. It was great working with co-owner Robbin Yelverton, who is just overall a wonderful person and a fabulous first client to have.

Where did you find your first employee?
Our first paid employee reached out to us from the interwebs. She was an emerging writer, interested in building her journalism portfolio. Not only a great writer, she ended up being I Am Young Detroit's biggest cheerleader when we first got started.

Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
We have yet to implement an internship program, but we plan on doing so with our post-beta launch this year and are always accepting resumes.

Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
We're a business with a social cause, so we've been fortunate enough to be able to successfully approach both venture capitalists and grant foundations for funding opportunities.

What could local leaders do to help attract and retain more entrepreneurial young people to Metro Detroit?
Leverage existing networks and organizations like I Am Young Detroit and Detroit Young Professionals to provide more resources for young people to pursue their passions here. Even if you can't visualize what such a collaboration might look like, it doesn't hurt to reach out to us. With our launch this year, we'll have a Community Development Director on board whose primary role will be to develop collaborative relationships with forward-thinking businesses and organizations to help further engage our community beyond the web.

What is one thing Michigan does better or has going for it that other more successful regional economies don't?
Michigan is home to a growing number of forward thinkers ready to take advantage of the great opportunities the state has to offer. The unique opportunity here in Detroit specifically, for young people to create is far greater than in any other major market. Detroit is a burgeoning hotbed of young entrepreneurs, creatives and thought leaders who are rethinking urban living and putting in elbow grease to redesign our landscape. I believe that these doers will be the group to bring innovative ideas to life and have a significant impact in helping to revive our urban neighborhoods. Young people see Detroit as a place where they can affordably create from the ground up, and at this moment there aren't too many other large metropolitan areas that can say the same.

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