Putting the Power Back in the PitchBy Lauren Bealore on October 30th, 2016 /
Changing the Conversation in Detroit
Gentrification. Revitalization. Crowdfunding. Grants. Opportunity.
These have been the general buzz words around new development for business and economic growth in the City of Detroit. Some with a negative connotation…and some with the gleaming shimmer of hope for a city that at previous intervals has seen blight, bankruptcy, and overall economic turmoil rather than prosperity.
In 2012 when my Co-Founders and I initiated Y.A.B. into the Detroit business scene, there was no actual real foundation for this community of change agents and creative curators. It was the beginning stages of what we now know to be the “Gilbert Era”, where Detroit has become a game of monopoly and opportunity comes from aligning partnerships and funding to create social enterprise.
With those changes, in turn comes a change in conversation. By that following year, there was definitely a rebirth of what we now know as “Opportunity Detroit”. New partnerships, co-working spaces, and even funding programs emerged to lift the veil of discouragement in a city with historic promise and ultimately power. The conversations around Detroit seemed to now focus on growth and advancement, retaining many young and mid-level professionals in the city’s population to add to the engagement. With all of the new positivity around the city, one would come to believe that our cries were over, but we believe the conversation and outcry was just beginning.
Opportunity in Detroit Requires Ongoing Engagement
Decades of statistical data has shown that thriving cities does not necessarily equate to a thriving people. Why is that? That is because the city is a sole representation of a residential demographic whereas a people does not represent that same collective, but instead multiple ethnic demographics with multiple socio-economic experiences. In Detroit, the answer became to create funding programs that could implement a diverse array of entrepreneurs to elevate the business development in different revitalized sectors throughout the city. Great. Problem solved… or so we thought. What came of this programming was now a conversation about resources and the actual likelihood of receiving them. This is where my Co-Founders and I felt the need to step in and bridge this continuous gap.
Y.A.B. has a Business Development entity that cultivates partnerships with co-working spaces and other resources, working to change the narrative of business for women of color. We felt that it was time to reach out to these resources to remove the wall between two different communities. With TechTown, Motor City Match, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, LifeLine Business Consulting, LaunchGood, and Pretty Brown Girl providing funding and pitch expertise, our hope is that the audience that feels neglected in the social enterprise network will begin to feel that opportunity is now in their grasp. Come meet and learn about these resources first hand at Power in the Pitch at TechTown Detroit on November 11th.
Changing the narrative of any conversation begins with changing the audience that one is addressing. We hope our event series are the catalyst for laying the building blocks of a new story for Detroit, a story of real opportunity more inclusive to all.