The word is out: Detroit filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. Estimates of the city’s debt are near $20 billion.
What comes next is uncertain, especially with Ingham County’s Judge ruling the filing to be withdrawn. How will this impact Detroit’s growing tech and startup community? Detroit businesses and entrepreneurs are speaking out to local and national media, and so far their beliefs stand strong that they’ll continue to thrive in Detroit.
CBS claims that the tech industry has been growing on it’s own and that the city’s current situation helped to make real estate cheap enough for startups companies to move to Detroit in the first place.
Dan Gilbert Founder of Quicken Loans, Bizdom, and partner at Detroit Venture Partners, released his official statement that this would be better in the long term for Detroit:
“Just as the auto companies reinvented the way they do business so will the city of Detroit. Once our financial challenges are behind us the city, region and state will have a clean slate to operate with a philosophy and strategy that works for its citizens, businesses and the entire community.”
We are all in. We are more committed than ever to Detroit and the opportunities downtown. Detroit’s best days are ahead.”
Josh Linkner of Detroit Venture Partners called it a step forward for businesses in the city that is already full of technical talent. Linkner also points to the 99% occupancy rate in Downtown Detroit. Though financial struggles increased with a drastic decline in Detroit’s population that peaked in the 1950’s, there is a demand to live and work in the city.
Hajj Flemings of Detroit-based Brand Camp described the removal of the city’s dependence on the industrial industry another step towards creativity and innovation. He called for others to use their creativity towards re-branding and rebuilding the city.
Detroit startups including Bob Marsh, CEO of Level Eleven and Greg Schwartz of UpTo all voiced a continued commitment to working in the city.
Those who already live and work in Detroit’s tech and startup community know that there’s an energy and call to help rebuild the city. Rebuilding and inventing is what entrepreneurs do best. With affordable rent, technical training, and access to capital, the possibilities are here to make it happen.
It’s been a sweltering week in the city, and this news doesn’t deter day to day work. As a Michigan business or entrepreneur, what are your bankruptcy concerns? Leave comments below as we work to put together a more in-depth story on how Detroit’s bankruptcy might impact your community.
Beautiful shot of Detroit featured from Jeff Wegner.