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Southeast Michigan has several natural comparative advantages to other regions, based upon the region’s existing assets and resources. NEI will provide modest funds to research opportunities and develop strategies in these areas. When appropriate, NEI will provide larger seed or project funding to advance these strategies. Seed and project funds should only be provided when the strategies show exceptional promise in creating or attracting talent and new jobs or advancing economic inclusion.
NEI leadership considers this module of work the research and development arm of NEI. If the research is supported by existing infrastructure and regional leadership and shows promise, it may become a full initiative of NEI. For example, the Creative Economy and the Manufacturing Design and Capacity efforts, originally conceived in this module, have been supported with larger funding and have become initiatives within the entrepreneurial module. Similarly, the NEI-funded University and College Internship Program has been added as an initiative within the workforce modules. These initiatives may require additional funding at a later date. Areas that do not provide opportunities in a timely or supported fashion will not be pursued beyond the initial research or exploratory grants.
Southeast Michigan has the most crossed international border in North America. The border, coupled with the transportation advantages of the St. Lawrence Seaway, Canadian and U.S. rail lines, major U.S. interstates, and high quality air traffic and freight infrastructure, provide for opportunities to create a more Global Detroit. Homeland security industries have an advantage in southeast Michigan because of the high border traffic. A recent grant was made to the Michigan Security Network to provide staffing support as they pursue the building of a homeland security center of excellence.
Another possible series of grants will be to develop a strategy to grow border logistic and trade opportunities for the region. The region already has over 300,000 logistics jobs connected to the auto industry. Michigan State University (MSU) has what is considered one of the best supply chain management programs in the world. Recently, NEI approved a grant to assist MSU, in partnership with the Detroit Regional Chamber and Wayne State University, to examine the southeast Michigan supply chain and quickly identify opportunities to build or attract business within it.
As a region, southeast Michigan has a reputation of not being immigrant friendly. The foreign-born immigrant population for the region grows at half the rate of the national average. Increasing foreign-born populations is proven to increase economic outcomes. A consultant has been engaged by NEI and other funding partners to review the work of other cities and Michigan and Detroit policies to determine what, if any, investments might be made by NEI or other funders to increase the region’s foreign-born population.
Blue, clean, and green industries may offer another area of opportunity for the region’s economy. Michigan is surrounded by one-fifth of the world’s fresh water supply. The State and Federal governments are looking to advance new economic development programs that seek to advance green jobs and clean manufacturing. NEI will research opportunities in this area over the next several months.
If you are interested in learning more about our grantees, please see the Our Grantees section of the website.
Thank you for your interest.
NEI's work is to strengthen institutions and organizations that have the largest impact on entrepreneurial activity, and creates stronger connections to the other organizations inside that network.