February 11, 2020
Monica Wheat – Venture Catalysts
Monica Wheat is the Executive Director of Venture Catalysts, a non-profit that is creating a model for optimized connections between players, resources, and programs in the Detroit startup community. She describes her work as offering “Ecosystems as a Service.” In this power perspective from the 2020 Detroit Policy Conference, Monica made a strong case for the importance of startups, given that 43% of economic activity in cities across the country is driven by startups. The challenge is that 75% of startups fail, and the vast majority of the barriers they face can be solved by an effective ecosystem. While Silicon Valley is the gold standard for entrepreneurship, she says that Detroit is underestimated in our ability to deliver an ecosystem. Over the last several years, Detroit has delivered some of the largest, most diverse startup events, conferences, and accelerator programs. She especially emphasized the opportunity to support underrepresented founders, and create a diverse community of entrepreneurs in Detroit. Her vision for the startup community in Detroit is clear by the end of the presentation, and suggests a path forward for Detroit to foster equitable economic growth. “We can make Detroit the capital for inclusive entrepreneurship.”
Watch her full presentation above to learn more about Venture Catalysts and how you can support their work.