The Detroit Creative Corridor Center Tuesday night officially opened the doors to its new collaborative working space and introduced the participants for its Creative Ventures Acceleration Program during a very well attended open house event.

Guests packed the 2,500 square-foot DC3 Acceleration Studio located inside the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education in Detroit’s New Center neighborhood. At the event, attendees learned about DC3 initiatives that have been developed to grow the creative sector economy, and how successful creative-sector entities can help to strengthen the economic viability of the city and southeast Michigan if given the proper support and resources.

“We have taken another step toward the continued growth of the creative economy in Detroit and our region with the opening of this acceleration studio,” Matthew Clayson, director of Detroit Creative Corridor Center, told attendees of the event. “With this new collaborative working space, and introduction of our first Creative Ventures class of participants, we will be providing resources and expertise needed to help advance the mission of local creative-sector businesses so they can be more competitive both locally and nationally.”

Detroit Creative Corridor Center became reality through the partnership and support of the former Detroit Renaissance — now Business Leaders for Michigan — and the College for Creative Studies.

Sabrina Keeley, COO of Business Leaders for Michigan attended the open house and told the crowd, “In 2006 as part of the Road to Renaissance initiative we established six strategies to help transform the economy of southeast Michigan and one of them was to grow the creative economy in greater Detroit. Research showed that we had a wealth of creative sector talent and resources in our region … and the opening of this Detroit Creative Corridor Center and your attendance is proof that creative sector businesses are alive and well and growing in the Detroit metro region.”

Rick Rogers, President of the College for Creative Studies, in his remarks to guests in attendance, said, “CCS is excited to have the Detroit Creative Corridor Center within its Taubman Center and to work with DC3 to build greater creative density in Detroit. Detroit is becoming a magnet for creative people. I believe the creative industries can drive economic development in the City. The DC3 is going to help make this happen.”

As part of the open house attendees also had an opportunity to meet the owners of the 17 businesses selected to participate in the 12-month Creative Ventures Acceleration Program DC3 developed in partnership with Tech Town.

The accelerator offers a “ventures-in-residence” track, for which thirteen firms have been chosen, and a virtual track, in which four firms will take part. Participants receive access to resources, services, strategic counseling, and developmental support; but each track offers a unique experience.

* “Ventures-in-residence” has a more robust curriculum that will identify development goals, resources, best practices and outcomes.  This track allows a business access to the DC3 Acceleration Studio, business center, design library and meeting rooms.
* “Virtual acceleration” is for those who want a less rigid experience and features virtual tutorials, roundtable discussions, monthly Open City business forums and talent expositions/resource fairs will be used to share best practices, resources and counsel.

Rola Nashef, owner of Gas Afterhours Productions, has been in business for six years and is one of the 13 businesses participating in the “Ventures-in-residence” track. During the event Nashef said, “I am looking forward to taking part in the Creative Ventures Program because it is designed to help a business like mine grow. We have been working in this community for a while now, and our work has been very well received, but I think with the tools and resources being provided by DC3 will help me take my production company to the next level.”

Another “Ventures-in-residence” track participant on hand Tuesday night was Detroit Lives! founder Philip Lauri. His company develops multimedia products and projects to promote a new image of Detroit by using a combination of social branding, marketing, and community engagement.

As he toured the new 2,500 square-foot acceleration studio Lauri said, “This space is really meant to be a comfortable work environment for creative businesses like mine. The look and feel is right.  From moveable work stations and the resource library to art on the walls from local artists, it’s a great place to collaborate and work as we go through the Creative Ventures program.”

Financial support for the Creative Ventures Accelerator Program totaling $500,000 is being providing by the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The following creative ventures have been selected for the in-residence program:

* First Element Entertainment, a full-service film and video production house
* Homeslice, a for-profit apparel design and manufacturing house striving to utilize methods that make a humanistic and ecological impact
* CoG-studio, an architectural design and service firm
* Passenger Center for Contemporary Art, a creative cultural center, exhibition venue, and studio/residency program for artists
* PTD Design, an architectural design firm
* Left Bank Creative, which specializes in identity management, digital animation, web development and branding services
* People of Detroit, whose mission it is to give voice to the positive, dynamic individuals that live in or have relationships with the city of Detroit
* Detroit Lives, a developer of engaging multimedia products and projects that push a new image of the city of Detroit
* GAS Afterhours Productions, a film production company
* Publicity Ink, a developer of ad copy, web content, press releases, newsletters and bios
* Detroit Big F Deal, a crowd-funding platform that facilitates financial and volunteer contributions toward areas of social and civic need
* Rippld, a source for helping businesses find freelance support and other resources
* Will Do Designs, which provides public relations and image management consulting

The following firms have been chosen to participate in the virtual program:

* Centric Design Studio, an organization that merges architecture and graphic design practices
* Detroit Design Center, designers of sculpture and functional art
* MASH, a media and lifestyle branding company with an emphasis on fusing  fashion and design
* PEDL, is a Detroit based tech start up providing new solutions in collaborative transit and peer to peer commerce

To select program participants, DC3 convened a task force comprised of its Advisory Board members who reviewed all of the applications and shared feedback. DC3 staff aggregated the feedback and conducted 1-1 interviews with each.  Businesses selected to participate in the Creative Ventures Program were chosen based upon the following:
* potential to capture large markets,
* ability to create a product or service that fills an existing or future demand,
* current leadership has  a solid commitment to grow her/his business to the next stage, and
* demonstrated ability to effectively leverage the resources being provided by DC3.

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