Have you ever felt as if you just knew one more person … the right person … you could go far?
How can you make that connection? At the D:hive.
There are so many ways this group of dedicated Detroiters is looking to improve the city … from pop-up retail to tours to business classes to ideas for funding … but it all comes down to one concept. D:hive connects people to what they need in the D. In turn, the goal is to help retain and attract talent.
“Detroit is now a ‘2-degree of separation’ city,” said Jeanette Pierce, director of community relations at D:hive.
The bright and colorful space located at 1253 Woodward (the former home of Inside Detroit), officially opens tomorrow (May 23). It is a multipurpose place that allows visitors, prospective residents and prospective business owners get immersed in the city at whatever level they’re comfortable … then bring together the people to make things happen.
“You’ll be able to reach us through social media and our website, but what we really want is for people to come here and engage,” said Jeff Aronoff, D:hive’s executive director.
The project is funded through a three-year grant from the Hudson Webber Foundation and is administered by the Downtown Detroit Partnership.
Just a few of the things it has going on:
Project:BUILD has been an early success assisting 30 entrepreneurs including Detroit Vegan Soul, 3 and a Third Designs and the oft-talked about Tashmoo Biergarten. It is an eight-week curriculum to help people get from good idea to a real business through the passing on of knowledge and connections.
D:hive will also offer free public tours that highlight options for living, working and playing Downtown. Customized private tours and events will continue to be available for a fee as well and the team has also provided tours for corporations like PriceWaterhouseCooper and Quicken Loans. There will be a schedule of public tours posted at http://www.d-hive.org.
D:Pop is a retail store that’s spearheaded by Margarita Barry of 71:Pop fame. She’s brought her concepts into the D:hive space and it’ll provide a place where potential retailers and local artists can test out their ideas, merchandising, and see if over a trial period people are interested in their goods.
Another outreach is “Come Be My Neighbor” where residents share their thoughts in videos and blogs and encourage people to join them living in the city. The aim is to put voices and faces to the people who live in Detroit.
Technically, D:hive has been in operation since December 2011, with the space being under construction, and they’ve found some interesting trends.
“We want Detroit to become the center of the pitch,” says Aronoff. “Working in Detroit is the lead, and the job is sort of secondary, and we have evidence that approach works.”
D:hive brings an immersive, knowledgeable group to the table, as well as connections to new people and funding. Although it isn’t set up to fund the business ideas there are many programs in Detroit such as the Creative Corridor’s recently announced Design in Detroit (LINK) that can help.
The space at 1253 Woodward might just be a connection engine that could make a difference in Detroit.