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Back To Diesel Products>Can Detroit rebound as a tech center?

By Jonathan Oosting |

February 11, 2010, 10:34AM
Detroit isn't Silicon Valley, but entrepreneurs in the Motor City have something their competitors may envy: community spirit.

That, according to Michael V. Copeland of Fortune Magazine.  In a piece published online today, Copeland looked at Wayne State University's Research and Technology Park, TechTown, which hopes to spur the creation of 400 new companies in the next three years.

The New Economy Initiative in July awarded TechTown a $4.975 million grant for three years to develop an entrepreneur training and support program, and would be business-owners have been eager to take advantage of the assistance.

TechTown is already home to 160 startups, according to Copeland.

But community spirit only goes so far, and Detroit has plenty of other things going for it.
Feb. 11, The area is rich in skilled electrical, mechanical, and software engineers, and Detroiters have deep expertise in some industries with growth potential, such as alternative energy (hello, electric cars), health-care technology (until 2008, Pfizer (PFE, Fortune 500) had one of its largest R&D centers in the region), and logistics and supply-chain management, thanks to its manufacturing roots.
Copeland talked with Dave Shaw, who parlayed his auto industry experience into a TechTown startup, Clean Emissions Fluids, that is developing a high-tech biodiesel blending machine.

And Shaw's not the only one doing cool things at TechTown.  Metromode today reports, Carole Y. Johnson, formerly of Compuware, recently launched e-Cyren, a free online database service that provides easy access "to essential information in an emergency."

It might be a stretch to assume Detroit will develop into a tech hub, but it's safe to say TechTown is on the way.
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