Inclusive entrepreneurship

Starting a business is never an easy undertaking. For underrepresented entrepreneurs such as women and people of color, however, the challenges can be especially daunting. Systemic racism and other structural imbalances often mean that minority-owned businesses have limited access to things every small business needs, such as start-up capital and a robust professional network.

Through our policy research, we work to understand and explain the systemic barriers that hold back Detroit businesses. Through our 1:1 work with business owners via the Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project, we work to break down those barriers.

Two young people sitting at a computer

Digital Equity

Community Tech Workers

The Community Tech Workers project aims to fill a gap in Detroit's entrepreneurial ecosystem by offering free, 1:1 technology support to Detroit small business owners, while gathering data about the number and complexity of business' needs. Results will be used to develop a model that could be replicated by resource-constrained municipalities to develop local IT talent and better support small businesses.
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Increasing the rate of minority and female entrepreneurship may help to reduce the race and gender wealth gaps, to reduce income and wealth inequality, and to increase social mobility. With the United States becoming more heterogeneous, increasing business formation by minority and female entrepreneurs is critical to improving the rate of entrepreneurship overall.

Michael S. Barr, Co-Faculty Director of the Center on Finance, Law & Policy

Read Michael S. Barr's full paper, Minority and Women Entrepreneurs: Building Capital, Networks, and Skills