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1345 Division St
Eastern Market District
Detroit, MI 48207

Megan O'Connell

What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?

Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
Mark Dion, artist, in conjunction with Amanda Krugliak, arts curator at the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities. Because of discussions during its inception, Mark knew about our initiative and specifically wanted Signal-Return to design and print material related to his installation "Waiting for the Extraordinary."

Where did you find your first employee?
Through the recommendation of a member of the arts community.

Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
Not yet.

Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
Start-up funds were generously provided by Team Detroit via Toby Barlow, co-president and executive creative director of JWT TeamDetroit, who believed that Signal-Return would have a substantial role in the city. Just this week, we were also fortunate to receive a grant from the Knight Foundation. We're now looking to TDI to renew their commitment in 2012. We have set up a membership program that will also help to sustain the project. Our 501(c)3 status is pending.

If you could change one thing about this region, what would it be?
Diminish the dichotomies between the suburbs and downtown.

Name an idea, policy or mindset from elsewhere that you would like to see this region adopt?
For the past two decades, I've lived in eco-conscious cities where the ease and availability of recycling was universal, as were alternatives to commuting by car. I'm heartened to see projects such as RecycleHere! and The Hub of Detroit take hold, but hope that the city itself could do more to institute such options.

What could local leaders do to help attract and retain more entrepreneurial young people to Metro Detroit?
Offer them mentors who have succeeded in opening small businesses, along with the obvious resources of inexpensive rent, tax breaks, grants, and an organized network that lists reputable businesses and collaborators essential to setting up shop.

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