D:Hive Helps Detroit’s Newly Arrived Entrepreneurs Plug In

2/17/12Follow @XconomyDET

I don’t know about you, Detroiters, but I feel like we’ve turned a corner on this revitalization thing. The energy around town is building, there are interesting little projects under way in every corner of the city, and people are moving here at a steady clip. The word of mouth has spread, and Detroit is slowly transforming into the legitimately cool city that state government officials hoped it would become.

But after a person decides to take the plunge and relocate to the Motor City … what’s next? How do they connect with other like-minded individuals for entrepreneurial opportunities, business classes, and networking?

“Interestingly, Detroit has more resources than any other city I’ve worked in,” says Josh McManus, the “air traffic controller” for D:Hive, an initiative funded by the Hudson-Webber Foundation that seeks to help new Detroit arrivals plug in. “What’s problematic is if you don’t have three degrees of separation from great resources, you wouldn’t likely find them. In spite of tons of great things going on, there’s an intuitive piece left out of the offerings.”

McManus comes to Detroit after spearheading the successful CreateHere project in Chattanooga, TN, which McManus describes as the world’s “largest community visioning process.” He started coming to Detroit to share what he’d learned working on CreateHere, and the local foundation community asked him to research the resources and organizations available.

After he discovered the disconnect between residents and the resources available, he created D:Hive, which is located in same building as Inside Detroit on Woodward Avenue. “We’re in the process of identifying something that’s not being filled, but the overarching goal is to help more people live, work, and engage in Detroit,” McManus says.

D:Hive recently kicked off its first eight-week Build class, which invites any entrepreneur to bring in an idea and receive assistance making it a reality. McManus says the curriculum the class uses has graduated thousands of people, and the fee is based on a sliding scale but never exceeds $250. “It’s a catch-all for folks where the idea hasn’t fit yet, especially people who put place before profit,” he adds.

McManus says D:Hive also hosts problem-solving roundtables and will soon launch a class called Grow, a month-long class that builds a group of people to solve problems and share accountability. D:Hive is intended to be a three-year project, though there’s always a possibility it will expand if it’s successful.

McManus says Detroit appealed to him because he’s a history buff. He sees Detroit’s current renaissance as being remarkably similar to what was happening in the city about 100 years ago. “The energy that was here, so many ideas forming at the same time—that’s the place Detroit is at. But this time, we need to focus more on durability and sustainability.”

Sarah Schmid is the editor of Xconomy Detroit. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET

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