minority business owners

Let's stop with the Silicon Valley comparisons

7 hours ago
Flickr/Scott Lewis / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

In Detroit and across Michigan (and just about anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere, for that matter), there is often talk about becoming the next Silicon Valley.  This comparison gets pretty tiresome. If innovation is about new and different, why would we want to be something that already exists?

Detroit has its own set of unique challenges and opportunities, and we should strive to be something new, something different.

Peter Martorano / Flickr

There has been much talk – some of it here on this show – about opportunities for entrepreneurs in Detroit.

After more than a century of being dominated by big business – General Motors, Chrysler, Packard – the new look of business in Detroit is small, nimble, and full of innovation.

Some have raised the question whether there has been an inordinate amount of attention paid to white entrepreneurs – and male entrepreneurs.

Lisa Cook, an associate professor of economics and international relations at Michigan State University, says that many are ignoring women and ethnic minorities’ roles in Detroit’s entrepreneurial scene.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Ronald E. Hall, Jr. and Ronald E. Hall Sr, owners, Bridgewater Interiors L.L.C.,
Ara Howrani / http://howranistudios.com/

This year, 22 of the nation's 233 biggest companies owned by African Americans are based in Michigan, according to Black Enterprise Magazine.

The only other state with that many businesses on the list was New York.

The magazine divided the companies into seven sectors: industrial/service, auto, advertising, financial services, banks, asset managers, investment banks and private equity firms.

New chambers of commerce are starting to form in cities across Michigan to support African-American business leaders. The Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce is working to charter local black chambers in several cities. The group wants to empower African-American business leaders to overcome unique challenges, like historically bad access to capital.

Leaders of the newly-formed Grand Rapids Black Chamber of Commerce are hoping to empower African-American business owners.