Detroit Rebuilding Itself
By Robert Tuomi
(WINDSOR, ON) – If there is a secret to effective economic development it most likely is not to cancel meetings, the operating style of Drew Dilkens who heads the city of Windsor’s economic development committee.
Most likely the secret includes an ability to act quickly when an opportunity rears its pretty head.
It is something that shows the advantages Detroit has of having professionals working on the city’s economic development efforts rather than the abecedarians down at the Windsor Essex economic development outfit.
As soon as the developers heard that famed search engine company Yahoo was setting free some workers “a group of Detroit businesses are encouraging the more than 2,000 recently laid off Yahoo employees to consider bringing their talents to the Motor City.”
This call to the “Yahooers” came from Quicken Loans, Detroit Venture Partners, Rockbridge Growth Equity and Fathead.com who are among downtown Detroit-based companies interested in hiring hundreds of technology and marketing professionals with credentials akin to those of the former employees of Yahoo.
To get their message out there the Detroiters have “created a website, for these technology and Internet marketing pros to upload their resumes. The companies will immediately begin interviews and have committed to fly final candidates to Detroit to introduce them to the wide-range of established and start-up companies that have sprung up in the city’s emerging technology corridor over the past two years, creating the vibrant arts and entrepreneurial renaissance in Detroit that has gained the city national acclaim.”
Further, in a news release, the enterprising Detroit companies claim that “‘Detroit is quickly emerging as one of the nation’s best kept secrets when it comes to technology, Internet and mobile-related jobs,’ said Josh Linkner, CEO and Managing Partner of Detroit Venture Partners, a Detroit-based high-tech venture capital fund.
“‘We know that there is a great deal of talent inside of Yahoo – especially in marketing and web development, and we’re encouraging those who have been impacted by job cuts to consider Detroit as the next stop in their career. In the DVP portfolio alone we have 12 start-ups that we think would be attractive to those looking to regain the excitement of working in a creative, collaborative and entrepreneurial environment,” Linkner added.
Windsor’s neophyte economic developers say that one of their targets is people with digital skills but have shown no interest in doing things as bold as Detroit to capture the interest of potential employers and investors to build on what Windsor has, which isn’t much since Team My Mobile skipped town and quashed the prospects of 50 high technology jobs.
Detroit has has even captured Twitter’s interest with the company, one of the movers and shakers in the digital age, planning a “Detroit office at the historic Madison Building in downtown Detroit, a state-of-the-art technology and business incubator that houses many of the region’s top start-up companies.”
The city’s strategy, and it has one and the abecedarians in Windsor would do well to at least take notes, is to create “‘an exciting urban core for young, energetic and creative professionals who want to affect the outcome of an entire region,’ said Bill Emerson, CEO of Quicken Loans, who has consistently ranked in the top-10 of Computerworld’s ‘Best Places to Work in Technology’ over the past decade.’”
He adds that, “Not only does Detroit make for a great place to start or grow a business, but it’s also a great option for those who want to be on the ground-floor of rebuilding and reinventing a great American city.”
Detroit is slowly and patiently rebuilding itself from within and winning the economic development battle while Windsor continues to drop in the rankings, maintaining its highest unemployment rate in the country and suffering the indignity of 26,000 lost jobs which no one seems to be able to or even show an interest in replacing, least Drew Dilkens and his committee’s legacy of cancelled meetings.
While Detroit looks for investors, Dilkens places a temporary sign on Dougal.
Quite the contrast.
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