TechTown’s Leslie Smith tackles the challenge of Building Ecosystems for High-Growth Entrepreneurship at second annual CGI America meeting in ChicagoJune 4, 2012
Detroit, June 4, 2012 – Leslie Smith, president and CEO of TechTown, Wayne State University’s business incubator and technology and research park, will join former U.S. President Bill Clinton for the second annual the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting, June 7-8, 2012, in Chicago. Smith, recognized nationally for leading TechTown’s ascendance as an economic growth engine in Detroit, will participate in a CGI Working Group, Building Ecosystems for High-Growth Entrepreneurship, that explores lessons learned from the success of entrepreneurship hubs like Silicon Valley and Route 128 to create supportive entrepreneurial ecosystems throughout the United States.
“The mantra ‘partner or perish’ characterizes Detroit’s urban renewal strategy,” explains Smith. “TechTown’s collaborative ecosystem for entrepreneurs includes universities like Wayne State, sister incubators throughout the region, foundations, state and local government agencies, and a wide range of other economic and community development partners. Through these partnerships we are able to provide entrepreneurs with a comprehensive wrap-around experience that celebrates innovation and accelerate enterprise launch and growth through structured guidance, a diverse and inclusive culture, and a wealth of resources that include best-in-class access to customers, talent, funding and location. I am eager to share TechTown’s commitments at this year’s CGI meeting, and more importantly, to bring back strategies and new and expanding partnerships across the country to further accelerate the economic revitalization we are experiencing in Detroit.”
TechTown is one of the world’s most diverse business incubators. According to a recent impact report, 66 percent of TechTown clients are minorities, 60 percent are women and 47 percent are age 46 and older. With TechTown’s assistance, clients have raised $84 million in funding since 2007 and created more than a thousand jobs. In addition, TechTown has directly invested $790,000 in client companies.
CGI America is an annual event focused on finding solutions that promote economic recovery in the United States. The meeting brings together leaders from the business, foundation, NGO and government sectors to develop solutions that address unemployment, prepare Americans to be competitive global citizens, and rethink current models that shape our economy and society. Attendees participate in plenary sessions and contribute to topic-specific Working Groups of their choosing. These groups convene multiple times over the two-day meeting and provide opportunities to share knowledge, build partnerships and generate commitments around the group’s area of focus.
“America’s edge is its entrepreneurial spirit,” explains CGI America on its website. “Americans have led the way in innovations from the Model T to the iPod, creating entire industries and millions of new jobs in the process. The next wave of innovators will be essential to replacing the jobs lost in the Great Recession and to keeping the United States competitive through the 21st century. In fact, in the past fifteen years, companies under five years old have been responsible for nearly all net job growth in the United States. For entrepreneurs to succeed on a mass scale, they will need supportive ecosystems to help them thrive. Start-up firms need mentors, capital, and talent, which remain largely concentrated around a few hub cities. Continuing America’s entrepreneurial tradition in the face of growing international competition will require a democratization of opportunity for high-growth entrepreneurship into all regions of the country, capitalizing on every community’s unique competencies and advantages.”
TechTown is a community of passionate, diverse people and businesses driven by an entrepreneurial spirit to pursue extraordinary opportunities. Entrepreneurs join TechTown to gain guidance and get connected with resources needed for success. TechTown offers entrepreneurs unique access to Wayne State University’s research, academic and technology assets. By reigniting an entrepreneurial culture, TechTown is fueling business growth, job creation and the revitalization of Detroit’s Midtown and beyond. For more information, visit http://techtownwsu.org/.
About CGI America
President Clinton established the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) to address economic recovery in the United States. CGI America brings together leaders in business, government, and civil society to generate and implement commitments to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, foster innovation, and support workforce development in the United States. Since its first meeting in June 2011, CGI America participants have made more than 100 commitments valued at $11.8 billion. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will improve the lives of three million people, create or fill more than 150,000 jobs, and invest and loan $354 million to small and medium enterprises in the United States. The 2012 CGI America meeting will take place June 7-8 in Chicago. To learn more, visit www.cgiamerica.org.
About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2,100 commitments, which are already improving the lives of nearly 400 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $69.2 billion.
CGI’s Annual Meeting is held each September in New York City. CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org, and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.
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