The Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project is a small business accelerator that connects Detroit entrepreneurs with University of Michigan faculty, students, and staff from the Law School, the Ross School of Business, the Stamps School of Art & Design, and the Ford School of Public Policy to help neighborhood-based businesses rebrand, streamline operations, resolve legal issues, and become more profitable so they can hire the expertise they need to grow.
DNEP matches U-M faculty and students with small businesses for professional services consulting projects. Engagements are typically a semester or year-long and organized through a UM course, clinic, or student organization. UM student teams provide free strategic consulting work, legal assistance, design strategy, and other work on complex business problems. Small businesses are matched with schools and classes based on their business needs and interests.
Through DNEP, U-M students apply skills learned in the classroom to challenging, real-life problems facing small businesses and entrepreneurs. Students learn how to think critically, act strategically, work in a team, and practice managing client relationships. Small businesses receive free business, legal, and/or design consulting work that can help grow their venture, and are able to build lasting connections with the University of Michigan research and entrepreneurial networks.
An interdisciplinary team of faculty across the University provide guidance and direction for DNEP. DNEP is coordinated by the U-M Center on Finance, Law and Policy, and is housed at the University of Michigan Detroit Center.