Motor City and Motown inspiration

Author: Joya Helmuth


Our first trip out of South Bend was to Detroit, MIchigan, otherwise known as Motor City. It was only fitting that our first site visit was at General Motors, where Notre Dame alum Derrick Coleman '83 welcomed our Fellows with open arms and put on an engaging program with his colleagues in the diversity and human resource offices. From there we visited the heart of downtown, and were treated to a walking tour of the immediate area by Bruce Schwartz, Detroit Ambassador at Quicken Loans. We visited several buildings that Quicken has invested in downtown, and other businesses that have spun off from their efforts to revitatize Detroit. The Fellows were most impressed by their partnership with local government to affect areas of safety as well as real estate and other activities.

Friday began at Tech Town, a business incubator in the newly revitalized midtown area of Detroit. For many of our Fellows interested in growing entrepreneurship in their home communities, this was an inspiring example of a coworking space and startup accelerator. Global Detroit, a nonprofit organization supporting immigrant entrepreneurs, came and spoke via roundtables about issues facing those sectors of the city.  As a part of a 'round robin' set of discussions, the Fellows had the chance to meet with the City of Detroit's Taylor Nelso, who heads the Mayor's Office on immigrant programs, and the CEO of the National African Business Association.

After some free time to explore downtown, we finished the day with music at the Motown Museum. We danced in Studio A, where the Supremes, Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, and the Four Tops recorded their first hits!