Revitalizing Detroit One Neighborhood at a Time

By Lauren Ebelt on May 13th, 2013 / Comments

Detroit, this one is for you.

More specifically, this one is for all the entrepreneurs out there who are looking
for something big, something new, and something that is changing the way Detroit
operates.

Just last year, ProsperUs Detroit was the new kid in town and has since exploded.
Its Entrepreneur Training program is taking off and it’s revitalizing the city we
know and love.

The initiative for ProsperUs Detroit stated about a year and a half prior to its fall
2012 launch when the minds behind Global Detroit began researching rejuvenation techniques for the regional economy. Global Detroit searched across the nation for an immigrant-based Neighborhood Revitalization program and after an extensive search, connected with the Neighborhood Development Center (NDC) based in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

NDC’s success rate is extraordinary – they have trained over 4,000 entrepreneurs,
according to the ProsperUs Detroit site, found at www.prosperusdetroit.com.

Global Detroit saw the potential that the NDC’s neighborhood model had for Detroit and formed a partnership to “recruit local prospective entrepreneurs, host trainings and assist business launches in their own communities,” the ProsperUs website says.

The NDC now serves as an advisor to the ProsperUs team to help find the hidden
talent of entrepreneurs in low-income communities.

“Our goal is true empowerment of the individuals and their respective
neighborhood communities,” said Kimberly Faison, director of Entrepreneurial
Initiatives at ProsperUs Detroit. “We provide a set of tools and resources that
challenge people to dream and use their natural talents in a way that helps the
whole community while making a profit.”

Those tools are found in the relationship with the team members at ProsperUs
Detroit and their community partners. One key aspect of the success of the program, and its graduates, is their relationship-based approach. Long-term relationships are created that help make positive impacts in neighborhoods.

“We dig deep into the neighborhoods and we take risks,” said Faison.

The curriculum that ProsperUs Detroit employs is simple and time-tested. They
use one-on-one coaching to guide the empowerment process – through which
the individuals needs and barriers can be used to identify their opportunities and
strengths.

The curriculum is adopted from the NDC, and is based on a model used in St. Paul, Minnesota. The approach is nearly identical, with the exception that ProsperUs Detroit developed a grant opportunity for their partners. Their method is driven by six key elements that work to “educate hundreds of entrepreneurs and transform target neighborhoods, while increasing the capacity of community leaders and partner organization,” according to the ProsperUs Detroit website.

The six key elements are finding the talent, eliminating barriers, taking a long-term approach, working at scale, linking energy to place, and building local and national capacity of their partners.

Currently, ProsperUs Detroit is based only in the Cody Rouge, Southwest and North neighborhoods, although they plan to continue growing.

With two graduates since their launch, and another seven more to graduate in
May and June of 2013, it is easy to say that ProsperUs Detroit is well on its way to
developing successful entrepreneurs.

“We are a place-based community revitalization initiative that focuses on
minority and immigrant communities and supports micro-enterprises and small
neighborhood-based businesses,” Faison said.

The passion for Detroit is immense, the skill and technique behind the program are tested and successful, and now all they need is you.

To learn more about the program or to apply, please visit
www.prosperusdetroit.org.

Photo via Prosperus Detroit.

About the Author

Lauren Ebelt

Lauren is a recent graduate from Michigan State University. She likes traveling, blogging about the food she eats, and correct grammar.