2016 Impact Conference

Detroit Made Panel: Doing Business in the Motor City

Detroit-based organizations will share what it means to be “Detroit Made” and what they see as their role in shaping the future of the city. Hear from leaders at Shinola, Eastern Market Corporation, Sidewalk Ventures, and Michigan Funders about the impact of the bankruptcy on local business, the challenges and opportunities of the current landscape, and the relationship between Detroit businesses and the communities in which they operate.

Sidewalk Ventures Eastern Market Logo Shinola Logo Michigan Funders


  • Jeff Aronoff, Founder, Sidewalk Ventures – helps Michigan businesses raise capital from local, community-minded investors.
    • Aronoff founded Sidewalk Ventures based upon the belief that strong local businesses should have access to new forms of capital to help them grow while building deeper connections to their customer, neighbors, and communities.
  • Randall Fogelman, VP of Business Development, Eastern Market Corporation – nonprofit organization that manages Detroit’s historic Eastern Market.
    • Fogelman is responsible for recruiting new vendors, managing EMC’s renovation initiatives, and other economic development activity throughout the district.
  • Michael Haener, Art Director, Shinola – based in Detroit and is dedicated to producing American-build products, including watches, bicycles, leather goods, and journals of the highest possible quality.
    • Haener is responsible for keeping a consistent aesthetic across all mediums and channels.
  • Niles Heron, Founder, Michigan Funders – Michigan’s first homegrown intrastate equity crowdfunding platform.
    • Niles works to develop the capital, commercialization, and operational strategy of startups and small businesses in Detroit.

Breakout Sessions

The breakout sessions are designed to spark debate and provide insight into issues surrounding the city of Detroit. Through attending one of the below sessions, participants will become further in tune with being an engaged citizen in an evolving urban landscape.

Facilitators and Breakout Descriptions:

  • Managing in a Difficult Political Environment
    • Anthony Adams, Former Deputy Mayor of Detroit, will discuss how the Detroit government is playing a vital role in creating positive change and facilitating the economic and social recovery process in the city.
  • Understanding Privilege: Self-Awareness in Community Development Work
    • Lauren Hood, affiliated with Deep Dive Detroit, will redefine stereotypes of the Native Detroiter and examine how to engage with the city as an outsider by surpassing the hesitations and barriers of entering a new community.
  • Bad Ass Story Telling
    • Matt Dibble, associated with Final 5, will explore how to express yourself through sharing your story and personal brand when joining an unfamiliar community.


6th Annual Detroit Revitalization & Business Conference

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