Detroit Creative Corridor Center set to open business acceleration studio

Posted on July 12, 2011

The Detroit Creative Corridor Center has chosen 17 organizations that will be supported by the center’s Creative Ventures Acceleration Program.

The pilot program is to be officially launched at a grand opening today at the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education in the New Center area of Detroit.

The 17 organizations are mostly existing creative businesses just beyond the startup phase but that lack their own physical space, often operating from the owners’ homes, said DC3 Director Matt Clayson.

Three organizations are registered as nonprofits or low-profit, limited-liability companies, or L3C.

Thirteen of the organizations will be housed for one year in the new, 2,500-square-foot DC3 Acceleration Studio at the Taubman Center. The center is part of the College for Creative Studies and is where the Detroit Creative Corridor Center — or DC3 — is based. Four businesses that already have physical locations will participate in a “virtual” program.

All the organizations will receive mentoring and consulting support. DC3 is looking for grants, loan guarantees or other channels of financial support for the businesses.

“We’re looking at creating vehicles at the end of the 12 months,” Clayson said. “How that will look is not firmed up.”

DC3 is working with businesses at TechTown for help with mentoring and consulting, while CCS will provide access to studios, prototyping equipment and other hands-on resources.

Identifying new markets, increasing capacity and providing access to tooling and collaborative workspace for sales meetings are also to be a part of the program.

The goal is for the businesses to emerge from the program ready to occupy space in downtown, Midtown or the New Center corridor. If successful, the program could lead to a cluster of creative businesses, Clayson said.

“In five years, that would be 30 new businesses with storefronts or a prominent presence,” Clayson said.

The Creative Ventures Acceleration Program is the culmination of the primary work that DC3 has been doing since its inception in February 2010, when Business Leaders for Michigan formed it as the final portion of an economic development plan for the region. That plan was launched in 2006 by Business Leaders’ predecessor organization, Detroit Renaissance Inc.

DC3 is supported by CCS, the New Economy Initiative, Business Leaders for Michigan, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the U.S. Small Business Administration. It has raised more than $1 million and operates under the college’s 501(c)3 license, Clayson said.Working with the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., DC3 also has played a role in attracting media and advertising firms to move to or have a presence in Detroit. Those firms include Skidmore Studio LLC, Goodby Silverstein & Partners and Jack Morton Worldwide. The DEGC handled the technical matters of site location and incentives, while DC3 pitched connections to Detroit’s talent pool, Clayson said.

The organizations participating in the Creative Ventures Acceleration Program are:

• First Element Entertainment, full-service film and video production.

• Homeslice, apparel design and manufacturing.

• CoG-studio, architectural design and service.

• PASSENGER Center for Contemporary Art, creative cultural center, exhibition venue and residency program for artists (nonprofit).

• PTD Design, architectural design firm.

• Left Bank Creative, public relations.

• People of Detroit, public relations, with emphasis on providing voice to people who live in or have relationships with Detroit (L3C).

• Detroit Lives!, developer of multimedia projects that push a new image of Detroit (L3C).

• GAS Afterhours Productions, film production.

• Publicity Ink, public relations.

• Detroit Big F Deal, crowd-funding platform that directs financial and volunteer contributions toward areas of social and civic need.

• Rippid, source for helping businesses find freelancers and other resources.

• Will Do Designs, public relations.

The four virtual program participants:

• Centric Design Studio, architecture and graphic design.

• Detroit Design Center, sculpture and functional art design.

• MASH, public relations, with emphasis on fusing fashion and design.

• PEDL, transportation software development.

By Gary Anglebrandt, Crain’s Detroit