Entrepreneurial Report Shows Positive Outlook for Detroit Startups

Lauren Zyber

By on 04/13/20

Entrepreneurial Report Shows Positive Outlook for Detroit Startups

With the rise of pandemic panic, people are craving data about the state of Detroit’s economy. Luckily our friends at EntryPoint just released their Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Report that highlights some promising numbers. 

Emily Heintz, the founder & managing director of EntryPoint, noted in the report that COVID-19 is drastically impacting many businesses and causing uncertainty for consumers. But that doesn’t mean the data is invalid. It just means it’s all the more valuable. 

“These recent challenges demonstrate how important it is for us to understand the conditions of entrepreneurship and investment, particularly in high growth areas like Detroit,” Emily wrote. “Together and as a community, we can use our understanding of the economic landscape to adapt to the shifting terrain and continue Detroit’s record of growth and success.”

The report highlights trends, challenges and opportunities in Detroit’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Several community leaders share their insights on various topics, and we were also able to share some of our own findings about attracting top talent. 

More importantly, the report stands as a testament to the achievements made by the individuals and organizations in this amazing community. It’s really incredible what’s been accomplished here, and I wanted to share a few key takeaways from the report. I hope you find it as inspiring as I do. 


Detroit is positioned for excellence. 

A few quick numbers: 

  • 38 active venture-backed startups in Wayne County 
  • $485 million in combined funding
  • 58% increase in the number of high-growth companies over the last six years
  • Over 26% of these high-tech startup companies in Michigan are located right in Detroit

What makes Detroit such a great place for startups? It’s well-positioned for growth. It has the funding, the talent, the research, and strong local community—the 4 things needed to have a vibrant tech entrepreneurial ecosystem. Plus, with an affordable cost of living, people have a higher quality of life here.


Startups are key to our economy. 

Technology-based startups make an enormous impact on our local economy. Here’s how:

  • They provide better-paying, longer-lasting jobs
  • They increase their employment faster than other startups 
  • They contribute more to innovation, productivity, and competitiveness


We still need to work on diversity.

There are some really wonderful organizations in our community working on boosting diversity in the Detroit tech world. But there’s still more that we all can do. 

The black population in Detroit makes up about 79% of its total population. However, the startup and venture capital communities across Michigan are made up of approximately 70% White men. 

“As Detroit grows, everyone within the high-tech entrepreneurial ecosystem can create an inclusive community and work across differences,” April Boyle, founder and Executive Director of the Build Institute, wrote in the report. “The City of Detroit has the diversity, but the community still needs to focus on building equal access to opportunities to contribute to the entrepreneurial community’s success.”


Detroit is attractive to talent, but there are more ways in which we can be competitive.

Better cost of living, a strong community, great benefits… what’s not to love? Detroit—and the jobs here—are attractive to top talent in many ways. But there’s always room for improvement. 

In order to be more competitive, startups could offer more advanced benefits packages that include things like parental leave and pay structures that incorporate performance bonuses.

We also shared the top six attributes that candidates look for when applying for a new job. Things like upward growth and mobility, transparency, flexibility—the things that make companies competitive. You can check out all six attributes here


Community is key.

I love that this is a big feature in the report. Community is the lynchpin of this ecosystem. Whether we’re talking about coworking spaces or building a community that serves as a network for founders to support each other, at the end of the day, our community is what will make this ecosystem thrive. 


Want to check out more highlights and trends in the report? You can view it on the EntryPoint site. 


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