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Built in Detroit Supports Small Business International Growth

Jun 26, 2018

By Sandra Choi, Senior Business Development Manager

Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) is proud to announce the launch of Built in Detroit, the organization’s new initiative to support the international growth of Detroit’s small businesses.

Built in Detroit will help local manufacturers and technology firms expand into global markets in order to create, retain and attract quality jobs for Detroiters. This new practice also reflects DEGC’s commitment to introducing innovative programming to support Detroit companies throughout their entire lifecycle, from  start-up to local growth and now, international expansion.

Built in Detroit focuses on four core objectives:

  1. Strengthen the regional trade/export ecosystem by partnering with public, private and educational partners to increase the number of exporters and value of exports from Detroit.
  2. Provide local companies with a new set of growth tools, including export development programs and financial assistance.
  3. Advocate for the importance of exports and export-led growth as a critical cornerstone of the regional economy.
  4. Help local firms leverage Detroit’s brand as the world’s leading community of innovative makers for local businesses who are equipped to market their products and services in the global marketplace.

Facilitating access to global opportunities for local firms translates into tangible benefits for the regional economy. Exporting firms grow more quickly than their non-exporting counterparts. Industries with access to international markets also make significant investments in research and development to develop innovative products and services for the global marketplace. This, in turn, preserves and creates strong employment opportunities in local communities. In a survey of 60,000 American manufacturing workers, exporting firms were found to pay, on average, wages that were 20 percent higher than their non-exporting counterparts. Nurturing the local export base is critical for Detroit’s ongoing economic revitalization. On the national level, exports fueled a quarter of the nation’s post-recession economic recovery through 2015.

Detroit is already a leading export-intensive metro economy based on its large commodities and manufacturing industries. In 2016, regional exports totaled $42.1 billion, and export commerce supported an estimated 271,000 jobs in Michigan. In addition to the value of goods built and exported from Detroit, the city’s Ambassador Bridge is North America’s busiest trade crossing, fueling trade between the U.S. and its second largest trading partner. Built in Detroit’s priority objective is to encourage more small businesses and entrepreneurs to participate in the region’s export growth and trade economy.

As part of Built in Detroit, DEGC will unveil several new technical assistance programs in partnership with strategic private, public and university partners including: Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the U.S. Commercial Service, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center and Saginaw University. DEGC and its partners are currently recruiting the first cohort of manufacturing and technology companies to participate in Detroit ExporTech, a national export development program that helps companies develop and execute an international sales strategy. In addition to ExporTech, DEGC is offering an export workshop for local food manufacturers in conjunction with Michigan Department of Agriculture and the Eastern Market Corporation. Additional export resources are currently in development.

Built in Detroit’s work with exporters lays a crucial foundation for its foreign direct investment efforts. Regional foreign investment trends indicate that most international investment originates from existing relationships between local and foreign firms. With trade and foreign direct investment being inextricably linked through global value chains, Detroit’s best storytellers of the region’s economic opportunities and shared prosperity are its own globally oriented industry leaders. In partnership with our stakeholders, DEGC is committed to prepare and support its local businesses succeed in the global marketplace.

For more information on Built in Detroit, visit

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