Business, Giving Back, New Economy

Change — of all kinds — is good for Detroit. Especially the shiny, golden kind.

Starting today, I am offering a share of my blog space to any corporation that wants to sponsor my writing. With a big, fat check.

Of course, Dear Bosses and Readers, I am completely kidding. The sponsors who support my writing will continue to be faceless big media conglomerates. But I wanted to note that Detroit-based organizations are getting some corporate love – and that’s mostly, I think, a good thing.

On Thursday, Hatch Detroit announced it will now go by the moniker Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest. This reflects the retail-business competition’s new sponsor, Comerica Bank. The bank will provide the full prize amount of $50,000, which will seed the winning business idea of this unique and very powerful contest. Better yet, Comerica will provide its thought leadership to support Hatch’s efforts to build Detroit entrepreneurs.

From the press release: “Comerica is committed to the City of Detroit and to supporting the small businesses that are a driving force in Michigan’s economy,” said Thomas D. Ogden, president, Comerica Bank-Michigan. “As a bank that has a stake in the future of our region, we are proud to make this investment in Hatch Detroit, and in the city and communities we serve.”

Then, a few hours later, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra announced it will be receiving funding from the Ford Foundation to provide discounted tickets to its shows for Detroit residents. This comes shortly after Target Corp. stepped up to sponsor the DSO’s children’s concerts, which are offered at no charge to anyone – Detroiters, suburbanites, hipsters pretending they’re with kids but really just there to listen to music while sipping Starbucks – at all times.

I like free money. I especially like free money that helps Detroit. And while there might be some strings attached, money that helps the city is all right with me. Strings and all.

Now, I will be a sour puss for a moment and note that Comerica, despite its lovely Hatch help, did move its corporate headquarters from Detroit to Texas in 2007. Yes, I’m bitter. That said, the bank does maintain its Michigan presence downtown. There. I’m done. Now I’ll digress to another topic.

And, yes, Hatch has always had some form of corporate sponsorship, especially from its in-kind donors. It’s hard to do much of anything as progressive as this without some big bucks behind you, and I salute Hatch for all of its efforts – it is far more than the average Joe has done to spur retail growth within the city limits, so kudos to all.

Realistically, this is a sign of positive things. Here is a large corporation that wants to invest money in Detroit, in our entrepreneurs, in our retailers. Retail is what supports residents — people want to live near grocery stores, clothing shops and the like. With more places to shop, people will live better lives. And who am I to throw stones?

In the end, I’m largely glad to have the Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest. I’m also happy to see baseball at Comerica Park, although I still call it Tigers Stadium from time to time. So forgive me, Comerica, for bringing up the past. What I need to learn is this: Change – of all kinds – is good for Detroit.

A note from The Bulldog: All applications must be submitted online at www.hatchdetroit.com by August 1, 2012, at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

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