The Build Institute – based in downtown Detroit – was birthed out of D:hive, a kind of welcome center for Detroit residents and visitors started in 2012. There, people could find resources that were not easily accessible by the city, such as information on where to live, work, engage, or build a city. At its core, D:hive was all about making connections between people and building a sense of community in the city they called home.
D:hive spawned two programs: The Detroit Experience Factory and the Build Institute. The Build Institute was created specifically to help aspiring entrepreneurs by giving them access to the tools needed to build a business.
The institute offers classes called “Build Basics” which are based on national standards for entrepreneurship education. Classes are 8 weeks long and taught by local experts. They cover all the basics of starting a business – from licensing and financial literacy, to market research and cash flow.
One unique program they offer is a training course in Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship. It was developed specifically for community members who are unemployed or underemployed but have existing creative skills. It’s a 4-week program that guides them through the process of building a micro-business and becoming a craft entrepreneur.
In addition to the classes, they also offer networking events that are free to the public. These events, called Open City, are an opportunity for Detroit’s established and aspiring small business owners to have the opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from each other in a casual atmosphere over a couple drinks.
Since 2012, Build Institute has graduated over 600 aspiring entrepreneurs. They definitely have the diversity thing down – with a minority of graduates (42 percent) having been white and 71 percent female.
Build Institute carries on the goals that started at D:hive, primarily the goal of connecting community members with resources that they did not know existed.