Ross Welcomes New Program That Supports Economic and Community Development in Detroit

Michigan Ross is highly rated for its entrepreneurship programs which include the Impact Studio, an incubator focused on student-led impact businesses. This year, Ross added a new program to its entrepreneurship portfolio called the Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project. DNEP matches U-M faculty and students with neighborhood-based businesses that need strategic consulting services and other support to help them scale and become more profitable. Since 2016, DNEP has worked with 842 small businesses, 90% of which are minority-owned. Seventy-six percent are women-owned. It is the only known university-based program in the United States that integrates business, law, and design students together to support small businesses over a semester.

“As businesses move out of the start-up stage, their options shrink for getting the support they need. DNEP builds long-term relationships with businesses and tries to walk alongside owners until they can afford to hire professional staff, by connecting them to teams of U-M students in succession. So someone might start with accounting support, and from there, need legal representation, a new business model, a marketing campaign, a store layout, a website overhaul, branding guidelines, a license or permit, and a lesson in how to schedule posts to Instagram,” said Christie Ayotte Baer, managing director of DNEP. “These are all services we can support.”

Baer is thrilled about the move to Ross and said the program plans to expand the number of supervising faculty to boost its capacity to serve more Detroit businesses and give more students real-world business experience.

For more information, visit the Ross website.

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