New Economy Initiative Announces $9.25 Million Investment to Assist Automotive Suppliers and Advance Entrepreneurship

Posted by James / on 05/18/2009 / 0 Comments

Partnership with Kauffman Foundation will Refocus Talents of Unemployed and Underemployed into New Areas

New Economy Initiative (NEI) announced today an aggressive three-year economic recovery program that will help minority automotive suppliers transition to new industries and rapidly grow entrepreneurship in the region. NEI has partnered with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to provide entrepreneurship counsel and proven programs to help spur entrepreneurial activity. In addition to the NEI's direct cash investment of $9.25 million, the Kauffman Foundation will bring programming development, staffing, materials and expertise to the initiative.

"With the region's tremendous assets - from a talented workforce to intellectual capital in research and technology to an unparalleled work ethic, and beyond - we have some amazing tools for developing the ideas and companies that will be the foundation of our future economy," said NEI interim director David Egner. "These efforts will help activate those assets and accelerate the increases in new businesses and jobs that the region needs."

The core pieces of the initiative are the proven Kauffman programs FastTrac(R) and Urban Entrepreneurship Partnership (UEP). As part of the package, Kauffman will deploy staff to Detroit, implement the programs, and analyze their operations. FastTrac(R) is a premiere business development program comprised of quick, intensive 3-to-10 week training initiatives for unemployed or underemployed individuals seriously considering entrepreneurship instead of finding another job. It is estimated that 800 individuals will enter the Detroit FastTrac(R) program annually, creating 400 new start-ups per year over three years. The Urban Entrepreneur Partnership (UEP) - a non-profit program created by the Kauffman Foundation - will target minority automotive suppliers, offering one-on-one, hands-on support to retool their businesses into other industries. Approximately 150 minority suppliers will be trained, coached and mentored over three years. Of the $9.25 million NEI investment, about $3 million will be applied to the UEP efforts.

"As Michigan knows from its rich history, entrepreneurs are the base of our nation's economic recovery during down times," said Lesa Mitchell, Kauffman Foundation vice president for Advancing Innovation. "The Kauffman Foundation is dedicated to providing the expertise and tools that help people advance their talents and ideas towards building businesses and creating new jobs. With the nation's highest unemployment rate, perhaps nowhere is this work more critical than here."

The programs will be located at TechTown, in Detroit's Midtown/New Center area. TechTown was established by Wayne State University, Henry Ford Health System and General Motors Corporation in 2000 to stimulate job growth and small-business creation by developing companies in emerging high-technology industries. As part of the initiative NEI will invest about $5 million with TechTown. In addition, a fund will be set up through Shorebank Enterprises Detroit (SED) that will finance and support Detroit-based growth companies and start-up ventures, focusing on businesses that create or retain jobs for Detroit residents. The NEI will provide $1.25 million to SEB to establish and manage the Detroit Business Innovation Development Fund.

Implementation of the programs will begin immediately. FastTrac(R) will be launched in June, at which point individuals will be able to apply. UEP will be launched in July.

About New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan

The New Economy Initiative is one of the nation's most expansive philanthropic partnerships dedicated to economic transformation in the region hardest hit by manufacturing job loss and the global economic crisis. NEI includes $100 million in funding commitments from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (Detroit), the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation (Southfield, Mich.), the Ford Foundation (New York), the Hudson-Webber Foundation (Detroit), the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (Battle Creek, Mich.), the John S. and James L .Knight Foundation (Miami), The Kresge Foundation (Troy, Mich.), the McGregor Fund (Detroit), the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Flint, Mich.), and the Skillman Foundation (Detroit). The 10 participating foundations are leading the implementation and governance of the Initiative. The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, which initiated the collaborative, is serving as its administrative home.

About the Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that works with partners to advance entrepreneurship in America and improve the education of children and youth. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo. More information, visit, and follow the Foundation on  

-- Source: New Economy Initiative



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