The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has announced it is partnering with the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan (NEI) on a three-year, $9.25 million economic-recovery program designed to help minority automotive suppliers transition to new industries while boosting entrepreneurship in the region.
Leveraging Kauffman's FastTrac and Urban Entrepreneurship Partnership (UEP) programs, the new program will receive funding from NEI and assitance in program development as well as analysis, staffing, and materials from the Kauffman Foundation. Through FastTrac, the initiative will provide assistance to an estimated eight hundred individuals who have been displaced from their jobs or who are starting or expanding small businesses to define and evaluate business concepts, while the UEP component will work to train, coach, and mentor about a hundred and fifty minority automotive suppliers to transition into the aerospace, alternative energy, medical devices, and military and homeland security industries. Implementation of the programs will begin immediately, with FastTrac to be launched in June and UEP to be launched in July.
As part of the initiative, NEI will provide roughly $5 million to Detroit-based small-business incubator Tech Town, where all initial programs will be located, while providing $1.25 million to Shorebank Enterprises Detroit to establish and manage the Detroit Business Innovation Development Fund.
"With the region's tremendous assets — from a talented workforce, to intellectual capital in research and technology, to an unparalleled work ethic, and beyond — we have some amazing tools for developing the ideas and companies that will be the foundation of our future economy," said NEI interim director David Egner. "These efforts will help activate those assets and accelerate the increases in new businesses and jobs that the region needs."