From Midtown to the Riverfront to East Side and West Side neighborhoods, Detroit is experiencing a remarkable economic renewal. This growth is due in part to significant corporate investments and public-private projects, but it’s also Detroit’s small businesses, entrepreneurial ventures and neighborhood enterprises that are driving the city’s recovery and economic progress.

With the 2017 Detroit Reinvestment Index, The Kresge Foundation builds on research about what National Business Leaders think about Detroit by also gathering Detroit Metro-Area entrepreneurs’ perceptions about living, working and starting a business in the city.

For the second year in a row, National Business Leaders continue to be bullish on Detroit.

84% believe Detroit can recover and become a great American city once again

72% a majority, rate Detroit as an excellent or good investment opportunity

Detroit Entrepreneurs are even more enthusiastic about the city’s comeback.


believe Detroit can recover and become a great city again


rate Detroit as an excellent or good opportunity for their business


are likely to recommend opening and operating a small business in Detroit

Detroit offers much of what National Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs say they need to succeed:

A Place Looking to Attract New Investment

A City Where it’s Possible for Companies to Make a Difference

A City with Potential

Entrepreneurs who work and live primarily in Detroit are more likely to call for the need for civic assets. Detroit-City Entrepreneurs believe investment in public spaces is most important to their business today.

93% of National Business Leaders and Detroit Entrepreneurs agree small businesses in the Detroit Metro-Area have been at the core of the revitalization of the city.

But in order to continue local small business growth, Detroit Entrepreneurs say further success will depend on whether Detroit can:

  • Offer skilled workers to fill open positions
  • Improve the pace of neighborhood revitalization

The top roadblocks Detroit Entrepreneurs face are “lack of customers with spending power” and “limited resources.”

Both National Business Leaders and Detroit Entrepreneurs are calling for neighborhood revitalization efforts with the same urgency as they demand traditional economic development tools.

Young Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurs of Color are among some of the most positive surveyed.


of Young Entrepreneurs have favorable impressions of Detroit


of Entrepreneurs of Color have favorable impressions of Detroit

The New Economy Initiative - that has invested about $92 million to build an entrepreneurial support system in southeast Michigan - has resulted in:

Direct assistance to more than 4,400 companies

Launch of more than 1,600 companies

Creation of 17,490 jobs

Nearly $3 billion in economic output

The explosion of small businesses in Detroit has dramatically diversified the city’s economy and also enabled families to build assets, attracted new jobs into neighborhoods and stabilized commercial corridors vital to neighborhood identity and safety.

Methodology Note: Alongside FTI Consulting, The Kresge Foundation measured perceptions of American cities, particularly the city of Detroit, among both National Business Leaders (N=300) and Detroit Metro-Area Entrepreneurs (N=300). The research was conducted online from December 2 through December 12, 2016. This dataset is the second in a series of research The Kresge Foundation has conducted about perceptions of Detroit and American cities more generally.