In Rust Belt cities such as Detroit, MI, living has not always been easy. And at this point, much of the city has a rundownfeel to it. But not everyone has given up on this dilapidated city. The Gilbert Family Foundation, for instance, has recently announced a three-year, $10MM commitment to support those interested in founding businesses in this city.

This is the perfect opportunity for entrepreneurs to have the money they need tobuild up businesses in the city. The Venture 313, an initiative, provides direct investments in startups as well as a web-based platform providing guidance. It also will partner with a variety of organizations that will innovate programming with entrepreneurs around the city. Detroit is certainly a city that has been waiting for someone to breathe life into it, and Venture 313 is poised to do just that.


A community development financial institution (CDFI) will provide equity-like investment opportunities from $25,000 to $250,000, along with coaching and programming. For brand new entrepreneurs, this type of mentorship can be invaluable in achieving their dreams. Besides the obvious benefits of the capital, entrepreneurs can also be connected through a common platform, as well as receive important advice and help along the way.

There are several other businesses that seek to improve the region of Detroit. TechTown Detroit supports early-to growth-stage small businesses along with tech entrepreneurs. These grants are meant to take a project from ideation to creation of a viable product. What is even more beneficial is the ongoing support and coaching that go along with the money. Additionally, the Detroit Development Fund is for those who are branching out of the mold, and for minorities who do not usually get representation. For those who don’t normally qualify for a typical loan, these loans between $25,000 to $250,000 can make a world of difference.

“A business-as-usual approach will not equip Detroit founders with the tools or funding they need to get in the game,” said James Feagin, director of economic mobility at the Gilbert Family Foundation. “We need to be as disruptive and agile as the businesses we are looking to support, and these playbooks and other resources will allow us to grow Venture 313 into a catalytic platform that truly opens the door for Detroit’s entrepreneurs.”

According to Advisor to Berkeley Capital Adnan Zai, “Investing in 2nd tier cities like Detroit, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh is key to the nation’s growth. Entrepreneurs should not have to go to a major city to seek funding for their ideas. Standard Oil had its roots in Cleveland when Rockefeller started his idea, and it has grown ever since.”

The Rust Belt cities have always been at the heart of America. And with the chance for them to grow, this is an important way to build up the country itself. The Gilbert Family Foundation, behind the generosity of their gift, have made it their mission to change the world for the better.