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Monday, June 18 • 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Designing Entrepreneurial Ecosystems for Urban Sustainability: Using Communication-as-Design for Arts/Creative, Tech, and Food

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This program stems from my ongoing research project aimed at designing diverse, inclusive, and viable entrepreneurial ecosystems for long-term urban sustainability, in Detroit. The research team has thus far conducted interviews with 25 representatives from entrepreneurial support organizations (e.g., TechTown, Build Institute) and 18 local entrepreneurs, and attended public events/workshops in the city. During this session, we will first share our preliminary findings on how the existing Detroit entrepreneurial ecosystem is designed, and how entrepreneurs are able to access it (10-15 min).

Then, we will break up into small groups to engage in "live problem-solving," using communication-as-design principles, to think about the opportunities and challenges for entrepreneurs in accessing ecosystem support in three entrepreneurial spaces -- lifestyle/creative, technology, and food (20-30 min). Each group will then share their thoughts with the rest of the session (10-15 min), and we will note down your feedback to convey to key entrepreneurial support organizations within the ecosystem. Session attendees are also invited to join the ongoing research project; to join, please email me at rahul.mitra@wayne.edu.
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Inredibly grateful to the following people for helping lead small group discussions at the session:
  • Matthew Lewis (Chief Communication Officer, New Economy Initiative): Prior to joining NEI as Communications Officer in March 2016, Lewis served as the managing editor of Model D, a local news site that covers what’s next in Detroit. Before that he worked at Wayne State University in the Office of Economic Development. He also worked on the team that helped develop the NEIdeas small business challenge for NEI. As a freelance writer, Lewis has contributed to various local and national publications, including Next City, Crain’s Detroit Business, Detroit Free Press and MLive. He earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a Master of Urban Planning degree with a focus on local economic development from Wayne State University. He lives in Detroit.
  • Amy Latawiec (Founder, Rebel Cycle Studio): Amy is a Senior Lecturer at Wayne State University where she teaches developmental and first-year writing courses. She earned her doctorate in Rhetoric and Composition in 2016. While her career in higher education continues to be fulfilling and productive, Amy has always had a passion for fitness. Upon completing her PhD, she decided it was time to open her own indoor cycling studio having spent 10 years in the fitness industry and 7 years as a cycling instructor. After being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2012, Amy dedicated her work in the fitness industry to body-positivity: the belief that all bodies are worthy of health and happiness no matter their size or ability. Rebel Cycle Studio is Detroit’s first body-positive indoor cycling studio offering dynamic and entertaining spin classes for all fitness levels. The mission of Rebel Cycle Studio is to break down the barriers to the activity of indoor cycling through body diversity, representation, and education. The studio will be located in the new Detroit Fieldhouse at 3401 E. Lafayette in Detroit, MI. and will have its grand opening in September 2018.
  • April Jones Boyle (Founder & Exec. Director, Build Institute): April was a founding team member of D:hive, where she was Director of Small Business Initiatives and helped launch the Build program. She is also the co-creator of a number of small-scale ventures including the award-winning family Hootenanny kids concert series and CD, the critically acclaimed Indonesian pop-up restaurant Komodo Kitchen and the all mom rock band The Mydols- featured on the Cable television series Gene Simmons Family Jewels. She sits on the board of Kiva Detroit and the advisory board for Ponyride. She is also co-owner and investor in Gold Cash Gold, building and restaurant, in Corktown. April is married to Model DCo-founder Brian Boyle and is the mother of three amazing boys – Carter, Gram Henry and Rowen.

Program Partner / Speaker
avatar for Rahul Mitra

Rahul Mitra

Assistant Professor, Wayne State University
I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication, studying organizational communication -- especially how organizations engage stakeholders and communities to implement decisions related to long-term and holistic sustainability. Presently, I am working on a research... Read More →


Monday June 18, 2018 4:00pm - 5:00pm
20 Witherell 20 Witherell St, Detroit, MI 48226

Attendees (103)