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May 31

Collaboration Is Critical to Regional Health

Collaboration.  Five simple syllables.  When joined together, what do those syllables mean?  For those of us engaged in the work of economic development across our great city, region and state, it has to mean working together, beyond rhetoric, conflicting agendas and individual egos to set down existing structures and try something new.  Together.

It must mean listening to the voice of industry and the fledgling entrepreneur.  They’ve told us time and time again (and most recently every day this week) that they need us to work together to clear hurdles, streamline processes, identify sources of capital, make thoughtful intentional investments, celebrate the iterative process and invent innovation.  Together.

Then, it means, we tell the story.  The story about the impact innovation in collaboration changed our economic realities.  How it moved 15,000 new people to the Midtown by 2015.  How it attracted a Whole Foods to Detroit.  How it brought GalaXe Solutions to downtown.  How it created a platform for real estate development in the City of Detroit unmatched in the past 50 years.   Together.

We need to tell our story about that.  We must tell this story because it is uniquely ours to tell.  We have to revel in our ability to innovate and pivot.  We have to take what we learned from our past mistakes and bask in the light of success brought to bear by our partners, who together with each of us, committed to make a difference.  We have to be bold, decisive and fearless.  Together.

This Detroit grit, when used effectively to grind the stones of challenge, will turn to gems.   But it won’t happen by any one of us alone and it doesn’t have to.  We can get there.  Together.

They say it takes a village to raise a family.  We are that village and Detroit is our family.   We must raise it well.  Together.

About the author

Leslie Smith

Leslie Smith, President and CEO, TechTown Leslie Lynn Smith was named President and CEO of TechTown in November 2011. In her time at TechTown, Leslie has brought to bear best practices which will help TechTown scale its entrepreneurial support services, including business acceleration, small company incubation, access to space, talent, capital and networking along with core academic and research capabilities at Wayne State University. Prior to coming to TechTown, Smith served as Director of Business Acceleration at Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

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