Ten national, regional and local foundations have committed $33.25 million in new funding to continue the work of the New Economy Initiative (NEI). NEI launched in 2008 when ten foundations came together to form a unique $100 million philanthropic initiative to address economic issues in Southeast Michigan.
NEI, which is a special project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM), will now have funding to support its efforts over the next three years to not only foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, but also build a network of support for entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout the Detroit region.
Through its first round of funding, NEI awarded $76 million in grants, served more than 35,000 entrepreneurs, and helped to create more than 675 new companies and 8,000 new jobs in the Southeast Michigan economy. In addition, more than $500 million was leveraged into the entrepreneurial ecosystem through not only entrepreneurs themselves, but also through the grantees and service providers.
The work of NEI has also helped to bring out more than 700 patents and invention disclosures in the region and exposed more than 250 business ventures to 80 local and national investors. In addition, Accelerate Michigan, an international business competition developed by NEI, has led to more than $4 million distributed in awards and, in 2013 alone, exposure to 70 venture capitalists representing $1 trillion in capital.
Launching with a broad and urgent purpose to return Detroit to its position as a global economic leader, NEI has since worked toward this goal by sharpening its focus specifically to entrepreneurship by thoughtfully building and promoting a network of support for entrepreneurs and small businesses. The network helps to connect all entrepreneurs, including women, minorities and immigrants, to the providers of essential support in the areas that impact the life cycle of any business: tools, ideas, talent, capital and places.
“By developing an infrastructure and culture that is supportive of the diverse community of entrepreneurs, we can change the face of our economic future for the better,” said David Egner, NEI executive director. “And at the same time, we’re also helping to create a more diverse economy where jobs and prosperity are available for everyone.”