The New Economy Initiative, a 6-year-old project that’s funded studies and business incubators in Metro Detroit, received more than $33 million in new funding on Monday to continue operations.
Ten foundations, including the Kresge Foundation, Hudson-Webber Foundation and William Davidson Foundation, donated a combined $33.25 million to the project over the next three years.
Since 2008, the initiative has awarded $76 million in grants, served more than 35,000 entrepreneurs and helped to create more than 675 companies and 8,000 jobs in southeast Michigan. It’s given money to organizations such as Wayne State University’s TechTown; downtown Detroit-based startup accelerator Bizdom and Troy’s Automation Alley.
The initiative has also funded a number of economic studies that look at issues such as immigration, transportation, distribution, alternative energy and technology and how they could impact job growth in Michigan.
“By developing an infrastructure and culture that is supportive of the diverse community of entrepreneurs, we can change the face of our economic future for the better,” said David Egner, NEI executive director. “And at the same time, we’re also helping to create a more diverse economy where jobs and prosperity are available for everyone.”
The initiative, a special project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, launched in 2008 with $100 million in grants from foundations.
“The re-commitment from our original partners, as well as a new supporter, is due to the success NEI has demonstrated in this region,” said Mariam Noland, president of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. “It’s imperative we build on the momentum of this initiative to put us in a better position for long-term and sustained economic growth.”
Egner said many of the organizations the initiative helps are clustered in downtown Detroit and he hopes to continue to “take advantage of the density that’s growing downtown.”
“It’s terrific to see momentum start,” he said. “We think we’re at the very beginning of this and, if NEI wasn’t moving in, the momentum would continue.”