Adrienne Lenhoff - Why entrepreneurialism is key to rebuilding Detroit and southeast Michigan Featured

3:19pm EDT August 26, 2013
Adrienne Lenhoff, president and CEO of Buzzphoria Social Media Marketing and Online Reputation Management, Shazaaam Public Relations and Marketing Communications, and Promo Marketing Team, Adrienne Lenhoff, president and CEO of Buzzphoria Social Media Marketing and Online Reputation Management, Shazaaam Public Relations and Marketing Communications, and Promo Marketing Team,

The national headlines herald Detroit as a city decimated by financial ruin and urban blight. But the city known as Motown, the Motor City and years ago the “Paris of the Midwest,” is entering an era of entrepreneurial opportunity not seen since the industrial age.

For many business owners and burgeoning entrepreneurs, Detroit’s financial woes create a blank canvas of economic opportunity. The need and promise of urban revival paves the way for the creativity and industrialism that allow the city’s reinvention. It can become a hub for new industries to emerge as well as a bastion for entrepreneurialism.

Resources abound

When you look past the sensational headlines, Detroit has all the elements it needs to create an entrepreneurial mecca. The city and its outlying suburbs offer a host of resources and opportunity needed to help build the next titans of industry.

The foundation for the city’s renaissance lies in the heart of the sheer entrepreneurial creativity of individuals finding and creating business opportunities in the region. These range from the infrastructural foundation needed for an urban renaissance such as retail, housing, office and entertainment to the businesses and services needed to support the burgeoning revitalization.

Just as the city is entering this time of reinvention, so too are many existing businesses in the market. Rather than just exploring introspectively, smart entrepreneurs are seeking the help of outside resources to look at their businesses with a new set of eyes.

The city and its suburbs are teeming with entrepreneurial resources ranging from business and specialized industry specific meet-ups, to incubators, to networking groups, to business partnerships, to funding and venture capital and a variety of what seems to be endless supplies.

The electricity of newfound possibility within both existing and new business enterprises fosters a culture of entrepreneurship, reinvention and exploration of new business ventures. So, how does one identify newfound and unrealized business opportunities?

Here’s a look through several different prisms:

■  Businesses working in and around the city.

>  What will they need in terms of infrastructure, supplies, resources, products and services?

■  People working and living in the city.

>  What will they need in terms of shelter, food, housing, safety, entertainment, lifestyle and convenience?

■  People visiting the city.

>  What will they need in terms of shelter, food, housing, safety, entertainment, lifestyle and convenience?

■  Places and things.

>  What types of places and things does a city need to provide quality of life to its inhabitants and visitors?

Seize the opportunity

For those components that already exist, is there opportunity for your business to provide products or services that offer support? For the ones that do not already exist, what type of business opportunity exists for the invention or creation of such components?

Look at other cities, both places that have remained vibrant as well as communities that have struggled. What works for them? What hasn’t? Are there elements out there that create an opportunity in Detroit?

Look at cities that have gone through a reinvention. What’s worked for them? What hasn’t? What elements, if any, spark your creativity and imagination and create both a business opportunity and also an element that could either marginally or pivotally play a role in the resurgence of Detroit?

What doesn’t exist anywhere, but seems like it could be a great idea for Detroit? Let your imagination and creativity chart new territory.

Adrienne Lenhoff is president and CEO of Buzzphoria Social Media Marketing and Online Reputation Management, Shazaaam Public Relations and Marketing Communications and Promo Marketing Team, which conducts product sampling, mobile tours and events. She can be reached at alenhoff@shazaaam.com. Follow her on Twitter @alenhoff.