Rebuilding Detroit, One Small Business at a Time

In the early 20th century, Detroit may have been on the cusp of becoming a center of the innovation universe. With new car models, state-of-the-art factories, and eager workers, Detroit was ready to become a major American industrial city. More than 100 years after the auto industry became synonymous with Detroit, we remain the enthusiastic, innovative, and hardworking community that worked to bring cars to almost every home in America.

Today, the large-scale factories that previously made up our skyline are replaced with a booming small business scene. From small startup restaurants to service companies' increasing curb appeal, small businesses are slowly on the rise. While this phenomenon is nationwide, Detroit has once again become an incubator for creativity, ingenuity, and innovation.

Detroit has been in the news frequently the past year following our bankruptcy filing. Making history as the largest city to date to file for bankruptcy does not mean that we are ready to be written off as a city in decline. However, owning a small business in Detroit has its peaks and pitfalls, just like any other city. We pride ourselves on continuing to work hard in a city with troubles of its own. This pride helps us persevere - and overcome - the tough times.

Because of all Detroit has been through, our successes are that much sweeter and our defeats hurt that much more. Our city remains a microcosm of the growing economy and the determination of small business owners to make a difference in their community. Small businesses around the country are breathing new life into sleepy towns and creating new American jobs. It may take some looking to see the seeds of growth and progress through the negative stigma that Detroit has recently received, but the good is definitely there.

Detroit is reborn. Businesses and industries are beginning again with small businesses as the roots that will help Detroit grow again. The day-to-day operations, new jobs created, and increased margins will drive this city onward. We take pride in the entrepreneurial growth that is budding here. That's part of the mission of my own company, Locqus, which equips small businesses with the tools to be more competitive with larger companies. The small business movement will drive the forces necessary for change and progress in Detroit and nationwide, and it is a pleasure to be a part of it all.

Every business, including my own, has its own self-sustainment as its primary goal; yet, we Detroiters tend to include in our personal goals a desire - a need - to help Detroit. Go to Ford Field, Comerica Park, or Fox Theater. Everywhere around the city you can feel an electric energy and determination. Our small business community sleeps a little better knowing that by owning a small business in this city, you are investing in the future of Detroit itself.

Paul Proctor is co-founder of Locqus, a free, online platform and mobile app that provides small businesses with a big company experience through streamlined, easy-to-use tracking and management services.

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