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Meeting Detroit’s brain gain challenge

Click photo to hear Doyle Mosher speak about Challenge Detroit

A little over two years ago I got an e-mail from a friend telling me to check out The Collaborative in Birmingham. It was a good, trusted source so I called and met with its founder Doyle Mosher. He sat at a table made of Detroit relic shadow boxes designed and built by Detroit artist Scott Hocking.

I knew then this was going to be fun … I just didn’t know how much fun and how much The Collaborative would be contributing to Detroit’s transformation. Doyle exuberantly talked about this “little” plan he had to bring young talent to Detroit called Challenge Detroit

Now before we go any further I need to tell you The Collaborative Group is a non-profit dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship so either bringing talent to Detroit or keeping it here fits right into its agenda. The group also believes innovative, talented people both inside and outside Detroit want to be part of the city’s transformation. The question was how to either get them here or keep them here?

The answer: Challenge Detroit, which The Collaborative just launched. Deirdre Greene Groves, executive director of The Collaborative Group and Challenge Detroit, is championing the project.

Challenge Detroit will bring approximately 30 of the country’s best and brightest young people from every intellectual discipline, whether attorneys or artists, doctors or financiers, engineers or educators, either to the Detroit-area or keep them here. Here’s how it works.

Following a three-phase application process including written applications, video resumes, and in-person interviews, Challenge Detroit judges and partnering companies will determine final job placements. Each participant will work at one of 30 Challenge Detroit host companies, which include ePrize, Quicken Loans, Marketing Associates and Strategic Staffing Solutions.

“Challenge Detroit is founded on the belief that 30 of the best and brightest, passionate, hard- working and inventive leaders of tomorrow can make all the difference in the world, let alone a city,” says Groves. “We are working with top companies, non-profits and leaders from the greater Detroit area to develop this exciting social initiative that will positively impact the future of Detroit and the region.”

Those chosen will:

  • Live in Detroit, supported by a $500/month housing stipend
  • Receive a $30,000 salary to work at one of the top companies in the region
  • Experience the city through organized social and cultural events
  • Participate in monthly team challenges in partnership with area non-profits, designed to positively impact the city and region

Participants will also work with non-profits, including The Detroit Regional News Hub, Tech Town and the United Way for Southeastern Michigan on initiatives such as developing opportunities for social entrepreneurship, addressing urban issues pertaining to regional planning, transportation and education and distributing food to those in need.

During their year in Detroit, participants will gain new insights about the city and the greater Detroit region while sharing their story with the world through regular blogging, video logging and social media updates. “We believe, through their experiences with Challenge Detroit, these individuals will be intrigued to stay in Detroit, work in Detroit, bring new ideas to Detroit, even start their own business in Detroit, and by doing so, they will have a positive influence on our region today and in the future,” said Groves.

Challenge Detroit is accepting applications through March 16, 2012 and the year in Detroit will begin in August 2012. Those interested in participating, should visit for more information and to begin the application process.


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