The following U-M courses, clinics, or programs work with Detroit small businesses.
Ross School of Business
Formulation of appropriate and effective marketing strategies must begin with a clean and accurate understanding of consumers. This includes an understanding of consumer needs and wants, the process by which they are satisfied, and the environment in which the behavior occurs. The objectives of the course are as follows: (1) to introduce the student to concepts developed in psychology, economics, and sociology and their relationship to consumer behavior, (2) to involve the student directly in the study and analysis of consumer behavior, and (3) to develop in students the ability to translate what can be learned into marketing action implications. Learn more here.
This multidisciplinary seminar covers topics such as the principles of persuasion, persuasion strategy (campaign planning and research); persuasion tactics (copywriting; graphic design; film, video, photography; website design; media planning; database marketing; product design); and the social impact of persuasion campaigns. In addition to the class sessions, taught by faculty from different University departments, students work in interdisciplinary teams on a semester-long field project. Learn more here.
This course provides students with an opportunity to develop personal capabilities, professional competencies, collaboration skills, and business acumen by integrating and applying knowledge to real-work organizational opportunities and problems.
Capstone MAP gives students the chance to work as a team on a hands-on project for a real-world company using a wide range of business skills and critical thinking. Projects are sponsored by established companies, startups, and nonprofit organizations. Guided by top Ross faculty members, students conduct original research, develop workable recommendations, and present their results to company executives. The challenge is difficult, the work is real, and the experience is irreplaceable.
This course will help students refine the skills necessary to succeed in the workplace by empowering student teams to work independently, design their own schedules, and deliver results for real companies. BA 453 will teach students to effectively design and organize projects, extract valuable information from multiple resources, and ultimately deliver productive and impactful solutions. This course is a must-take for any student looking to nail future work projects and add value in their first professional role.
After enrolling, you'll have the opportunity to bid for projects from a wide variety of sectors, including Real Estate, Energy, Transportation, Media, Non-profit, Start-ups, and many more. You can also request projects that focus on a variety of disciplines, including finance, marketing, strategy, operations, etc.
Most teams will have three touch points with Executives from their sponsor company: at the beginning, middle, and end of the project. After some initial training at the beginning of the course, student teams will be responsible for working autonomously to complete their project with weekly meetings with their faculty advisor. Learn more here.
Develop a toolkit for social innovation that is also desired by top employers across industries. In the interdisciplinary Impact Studio course, BA670, you’ll gain a mindset, a process, and a set of tools and experiences for developing impactful solutions to societal challenges. The course combines the management principles and acumen of business with design thinking, design tools, and interdisciplinary expertise and scholarly insights. This course is taught by Dr. Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks, Behavioral Scientist and Professor of Management and Organizations at the Ross School of Business, whose research and teaching focus on the social process of designing and implementing desired futures. Learn more here.
The Community Enterprise Clinic (CEC) is dedicated to promoting vibrant, diverse, and sustainable communities by providing transactional legal services to nonprofit and community based-organizations, social enterprises, and neighborhood-based entrepreneurs and small businesses. The CEC was founded in 1991. We provide creative solutions to the transactional needs of clients in our mission to promote community and economic development in Detroit and other underserved urban areas of the region. Our clients work with student attorneys under the close supervision of faculty members who are licensed attorneys with significant transactional experience. Learn more here.
The first of its kind in the United States, the Entrepreneurship Clinic plays a central role in the entrepreneurial ecosystem at the University of Michigan and beyond. Since its inception in 2012, the clinic has provided no-cost legal services to a significant number of student-led and other startups. We offer an array of services and resources including direct legal representation, office hours, workshops, and blog posts with current information about entrepreneurial legal issues. We also host the Ann Arbor New Tech meetup. The direct legal services we offer includes entity formation, intellectual property protection, advice on worker classification issues, financing and deal-making. These services help innovators launch and grow their businesses. The clinic also provides law students with the real-life experience needed to help early-stage companies after they graduate from law school. Learn more here.
Stamps School of Art & Design
Design Studio: Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project is part of a collaborative, interdisciplinary project focused on assisting neighborhood-based small businesses in Detroit. Students from Stamps, the Law School, and the Ross School of Business will work with Detroit entrepreneurs to solve problems and address barriers to growth. Students will develop real-world experience, learn how to think critically, act strategically, work in a team, and practice managing client relationships and working in a diverse setting. The class also aims to foster a connection with community engagement, particularly within the city of Detroit. Students will work on various kinds of visual communication design projects (branding and identity, websites, posters, environmental graphics, packaging, etc.) to be determined as part of the problem definition and project scoping process. We will work explicitly on developing collaboration skills, both within the design teams and in the context of the larger, interdisciplinary cohort. There will be opportunities across disciplines to work together, to compare methodologies and understand adjacent areas of practice. Students will also have opportunities to develop skill sets for interacting with and presenting to clients. Learn more here.
Ford School of Public Policy
The Practical Community Learning Project is a university–wide resource housed at the Ford School where it can leverage existing expertise and interdisciplinary approaches to generate policy–relevant research, analysis and learning, as well as improvements in organizational practice. Learn more here.
School of Engineering
Learn how to engage a community to identify an important problem and design a sustainable business model that solves it. Whether you’re designing the school lunch of the future or the successor to Uber, you’re in for a challenging and rewarding experience. Throughout the course, the city of Detroit is referenced to further explore practices and policy surrounding urban entrepreneurship.
Learning Objectives: Students will clearly understand the definition of “urban entrepreneurship”, and how urban-focused businesses compare to others; Learn to effectively analyze and compare the business models of urban-focused ventures; Engage the community on multiple levels to ascertain and prioritize needs; Capture an identified community need in a well-defined problem statement; Understand and apply “design thinking” to formulate potential solutions for the identified problem; Identify a scalable, for-profit business opportunity to implement the proposed solution; Develop a business model that will effectively document the business opportunity; Apply Customer Discovery and Human Centered Design methods to test and refine the business model; Understand the processes required to form, finance, and begin execution of a new business venture; Learn to effectively pitch the venture to prospective co-founders, investors employees, and others. Learn more here.