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The city of Detroit was once the center of entrepreneurship in the United States. Before our current days of Silicon Valley and software companies galore, Detroit gained worldwide recognition by starting a different type of industry – the automotive industry.


The Ford Motor Company was founded in Detroit by Henry Ford in 1903, coining the city’s nickname of the “Motor City.” The Ford Motor Company would go on to become one of the largest and most profitable companies in the world, as well as being one of the few large companies to survive the Great Depression later in the 1930’s.

Fast forward through years of building the auto empire and becoming a top US city, Detroit found itself facing issues feared by all entrepreneurs: financial downfall. In March of 2013, governor Rick Snyder declared a financial emergency for the city. A few months later in July of 2013, Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy case in the history of the United States.


But just like any strong entrepreneur should, Detroit began rebuilding itself. It suffered through major PR issues against its image and felt the loss of confidence from residents. But the city kept pushing on. One year later, Detroit successfully left bankruptcy and had regained full control of finances in December of 2014.

Detroit’s entrepreneurial journey shows what it’s like to rise to the top, fall to rock bottom, and still get right back up and prove everyone wrong. Today, we are proud to have a strong and active UP Global community in Detroit. This May, they’ll be celebrating Editions Month by showing what its residents are passionate about and well-versed in: social impact through entrepreneurship. See below for what the Startup Weekend Detroit organizers have to say about their upcoming event and read their awesome story behind it.


Organizing team members:
Grace Montero
Chelsea Smallish
Nicole Mangis
Brandon Chesnutt (Facilitator)

What are you most excited about for your upcoming event?

Detroit has a rich entrepreneurial spirit. As a Detroit community we have a chance to truly leverage that spirit to benefit our City and beyond. By giving entrepreneurs tools-in-hand, such as Startup Weekends, we are nurturing that entrepreneurial nature. We all win by helping businesses to make more informed and conscious choices because we all benefit from a vibrant, diverse, and resilient business ecosystem.

What makes this Edition interesting?

As an organizer I have seen many Friday night pitches, and in most cases the ideas that are pitched have a community-oriented or do-good component – without the pitcher really embracing or leveraging that. This edition gives entrepreneurs the freedom, occasion, and resources to play with what it takes to launch a successful social enterprise: one that simultaneously makes money and makes a positive impact.

Any extra things making this event special?

We are encouraging participants to bring a nonperishable food item with them at any point over the weekend to donate to the Gleaners Food Hub which is located on site of the event.

Read the Organizers’ story behind this event:

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Kacey Wherley Kacey Wherley
(@kaceyraewherley) is Marketing Production Lead at Techstars. Before joining the Techstars team, Kacey was part of the UP Global team and previously with a cybersecurity startup in Pittsburgh. She enjoys all things social media and connecting with entrepreneurs online.