Detroit

Venture Tenure

Remember our post about universities as incubators? A new non-profit is leveraging the products of those incubators, namely their graduates, for the purpose of job creation and creative activity in cities that struggle to attract new talent. Venture for America finds 50 Fellows, each of which a recent graduate with unusually high motivation and experience, and inserts them into smaller start ups in cities like Detroit, New Orleans, or Providence, Rhode Island. The program is meant to increase these cities’ access to talent in an effort to create new jobs and spur renewed economic activity in some of America’s most down-and-out cities.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nK2hOUDxMPY&w=400&h=301]

Fellows don’t necessarily have experience in entrepreneurship, but each of them already appears entrepreneurial. The question is whether these young graduates can maintain their bright-eyed visions and idealistic energy for two years in cities where few others like them live and with a salary half of what they could be making elsewhere ($32-38K per year).

Venture for America’s goal is to create 100,000 new jobs by 2025. It’s a tall order for 50 Fellows, but if the program is successful, there will be others to take on the task, and increasingly friendly economic environments in their cities of focus. Keep an eye on this one.

-          Terra Curtis

Reinventing Detroit

Another gem via Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution: Aaron Renn of the NewGeography.com writes about urban regeneration in Detroit in his article entitled Detroit: Urban Laboratory and the New American Frontier This article is worth reading for the images and metrics alone. And it's not to be missed, if you're curious about urban farming movements, the 'shrinking cities' movement, and rust belt chic.

Here is one particularly memorable quotation from Renn's hopeful yet, oft depressing, article:

About 80 percent of the residents of Detroit buy their food at the one thousand convenience stores, party stores, liquor stores, and gas stations in the city. There is such a dire shortage of protein in the city that Glemie Dean Beasley, a seventy-year-old retired truck driver, is able to augment his Social Security by selling raccoon carcasses (twelve dollars a piece, serves a family of four) from animals he has treed and shot at undisclosed hunting grounds around the city. Pelts are ten dollars each. Pheasants are also abundant in the city and are occasionally harvested for dinner.

Read the full article here.