Mayor Duggan reveals new economic development plan

Mayor Duggan reveals new economic development plan

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DETROIT (WJBK) - Mayor Mike Duggan revealed his plan about bringing jobs to the city Thursday.

Duggan calls the area the "innovation district". It's 4.3 square miles and will be a hub for entrepreneurs, but he says the growth will move throughout the city and into surrounding neighborhoods.

"This is the first of what will be several steps that we'll be rolling out over the next six months and creating that entrepreneurial climate," Duggan says.

He says the innovation district will mentor entrepreneurs and accelerate job growth by making it easier to start a business and by reducing the amount of time it takes to start up.

The area is already a host of 55 percent of the city's jobs and Duggan says will ultimately strengthen not only the creative energy in downtown and midtown, but in neighborhoods as well.

"They have an innovation hub here that has provided technical support to startup businesses in Brightmoor and the area around Osborn High School and the like," says Duggan.

Also revealed was the innovation district's new advisory committee, which includes Tech Town President Leslie Smith and committee chair Nancy Schlichting, CEO of the Henry Ford Health System, who says this connection of entrepreneurs across the community will drive positive change.

"If people look back on this day and say, 'Boy, that was a starting point of something very special,' then we will have done our job very well," Schlichting says.

In talks for months now, the announcement comes after a national study released Monday outlined how innovation districts can support metropolitan economies. Detroit was one of seven cities studied.

'What's happening here today really reflects the shifting geography of innovation in our country and around the world. And, if you do this right, you're going to have the potential to grow more and better jobs in a truly inclusive economy," says Bruce Katz of Brookings Institute.

With 15,000 jobs and 50 new companies added to the downtown area in the last 18 months, Duggan says this district is just more fuel to power economic growth.

"My first six months was focused on improving the city services and getting the busses to run on time, and the ambulances on time, and getting the lights on. My second six months is going to be focused on creating the atmosphere for entrepreneurs to believe this is the place to come," Duggan says.


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