New Economy Initiative (NEI)

Industry Entrepreneurship/Economic Development
Communities Engaged Works referenced in this report employ several methodologies, including qualitative and quantitative research and secondary research landscape reviews. Stakeholders include: Entrepreneurs, Small Business Owners, Business Support Organizations, Philanthropy
Collaborator(s) Who's That?

EarlyWorks partnered with NEI to synthesize a large body of research, using the findings to paint a picture of business supports for entrepreneurs in Southeast Michigan. Through this work we discovered that there is, in fact, a network of support. NEI demonstrated that entrepreneurs need this network of support working at the regional level, especially those that are underestimated or growing businesses in lower-income communities.

Highlights from the report include that to achieve equity, networks need to be fully visible. While overall awareness is improving, visibility is still a challenge in some places to some entrepreneurs or would-be entrepreneurs and to the broader regional community less directly involved in entrepreneurship, including the general public. NEI uncovered a relationship between accessibility and connectedness: more connections among and between entrepreneurship support resources leads to improved accessibility for entrepreneurs. Improved accessibility leads to expanded opportunity and personal agency. Now that the foundational structure of entrepreneurial support has been established and documented, NEI posits that advancing the region will require next-level systems behavior to build an inclusive system of business support for the region.

Our objectives were:

  • Report development (strategy, research, writing, editing, guidance to visual designer on graphic layout)

  • Messaging support (strategy, talking points, funder communications)

  • Presentation (strategy, writing, editing, guidance to visual designer on graphic layout)

To accomplish those goals we:

  • Reviewed all the relevant primary and secondary research

  • Coded and analyzed entrepreneur open ends from previous primary research

  • Conducted sessions to help the NEI team surface insights

  • Developed the narrative

  • Drafted visualizations to guide the graphic designer’s efforts

  • Provided support for socializing the findings at the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference

  • Consulted on the presentation for Detroit StartUp Week report launch

The main body of research sourced was commissioned by the New Economy Initiative (NEI) with support from the William Davidson Foundation.


Detroit StartUp Week photo credits: Nick Hagen

“I believe that I'm privileged to have been privy to various networks and support systems because I did the research and leg work to develop relationships. I think that there are many others that would find it difficult to navigate without said network.”

—Entrepreneur respondent