-For Michigan Expats or if you know of a former Michigander and would like them to be invited to this event-
Organized by Crain’s Detroit Business, this event serves as a purpose to be an addition (to many projects and strategies that are already in place by local communities/organizations, government and corporate entities) to help the city of Detroit continue to grow by those who came from the city itself, or who went to school in the state of Michigan.
A new luxury sports equipment manufacturing company is launching in Detroit next month.
Shawn Ward, a Detroit native who founded the Brooklyn-based Ward & Fifth Consulting for startups and early-stage companies, made the announcement of Williamson Goods on Monday during the kickoff of the Detroit Homecoming III event at the Max M Fisher Music Center.
Williamson will make products such as a $35,000 bicycle that’s copper plated with a seat made from Florida crocodile, and a crocodile skin football, he said Monday morning.
In addition to Williamson Goods, Ward announced the opening of a new Eastern Market office of his consulting company and a new initiative, Urban Future Program – Detroit, which offers Detroit companies business development services at one-quarter of a usual Ward & Fifth Consulting rate.
UFP is working with Citizen Ciao surf brand and Cool Club Clothing, which was founded by Cyrus Tetteh, a designer for Ward & Fifth Consulting and University of Michigan graduate.
Ward said the goal is to give up to $85,000 in manpower services the first year and double that next year.
Ward is a graduate of Cass Technical High School, UM and Oakland University.
“I left Detroit in 2001 frustrated. I never thought I would come back,” he said Monday morning.
His is one of the stories of so-called “expatriates” — those with ties to the Detroit area but who have moved elsewhere and found success — bringing investment to Detroit, said Jim Hayes, co-director of Detroit Homecoming.
“Our expats continue to bring an overwhelming amount of enthusiasm, ideas, attention and money to Detroit,” he said in a statement.
Detroit Homecoming started in 2014 and was organized by Hayes and Mary Kramer, publisher of Crain’s Detroit Business. The Downtown Detroit Partnership is the event’s nonprofit fiduciary partner.
Since the event began, its organizers say expats have committed more than $260 million in city and business projects, including the Orleans Landing residential mixed-use development on the Detroit River, Will Leather Goods in Midtown, technology incubators and angel investors in startups.
Mike Duggan, during the kickoff event Monday morning, said he spent “a fair amount of time coordinating drug raids” during his time as Wayne County prosecutor on the Midtown block where Will Leather Goods now is.
When he was first approached about the Homecoming event by Kramer and Hayes, Duggan said he didn’t know whether the event would draw “six people or 200 people.” The mayor noted it has been well received around the country.
“I have been in five different cities in this country where they said, ‘I was at Homecoming,’ ” he said.
This year’s Detroit Homecoming — the theme of which is creativity — will take place Sept. 14-16 at a variety of venues around the city. It is invitation-only, but open to working media.
Among this year’s confirmed attendees are Steve Ballmer, a former CEO of Microsoft who now owns the NBA‘s Los Angeles Clippers; and Tony Fadell, one of the creators of the iPod and the founder of NEST, which makes things such as thermostats, smoke detectors and security systems that are programmable and Wi-Fi enabled.
In addition, Jeffrey Seller, an Oak Park native and Tony award-winning producer of the hit musical “Hamilton,” will accept the Governor’s Arts Award during Detroit Homecoming from Gov. Rick Snyder and Creative Many, the statewide arts and culture coalition.
Kramer said Monday morning that a Detroit Homecoming job fair will take place Thanksgiving weekend for people looking to move back to the city.
Sponsors and partners of Detroit Homecoming III are the William Davidson Foundation; the Display Group Ltd.; DTE Energy Co.; FirstMerit Corp.; Ford Motor Co. Fund & Community Services; Forte-Belanger; General Motors Co., Ilitch Holdings Inc.; Infused PR & Events; J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.; JR Turnbull Communications; The Kresge Foundation; Lear Corp.; Meijer Inc.; Meridian Health Plan Inc.; the Michigan Economic Development Corp.; MSLGroup; the New Economy Initiative; Rush Group/Dakkota Trucking; the Skillman Foundation; Talmer Bancorp Inc.; the University of Detroit Mercy; the University of Michigan;Urban Science; the W.K. Kellogg Foundation; and Wayne State University.
More details can be found at detroithomecoming.com.