“Fête Accomplie” Celebrate. Recognize. Revitalize.
By Arthur Barbut
The Inaugural “Fête Accomplie” hosted by the Accelerator takes place at The City Grill on October 15, 2015. This event will bring together Windsor’s entrepreneurial community and its supporters to help fuel
the entrepreneurial growth taking root in Windsor.
“One key to entrepreneurial success is to get a great group of people around you who believe in your idea.” – Richard Branson
Creating a vibrant entrepreneurial city takes time and more importantly it takes the right people.
The reality is that most cities face huge economic and competitive challenges and for the most part they are on their own. Fortunately, over the past decade there has been a significant trend whereby passionate business and entrepreneurial leaders are taking action and investing in their cities’ entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Windsor has a rich entrepreneurial history, but it now finds itself at a crossroad. It consistently boasts the highest unemployment in the country and many of our brightest youth are leaving the city to
pursue opportunities elsewhere.
The economic woes of Windsor stand in stark contrast with Windsor’s nearly unparalleled geographic advantage and its recent ranking one of the top two regions in the small city category in the “American
Cities of the Future Awards” 2015/2016 by fDi magazine. Clearly there is a large disconnect between the opportunity and our ability to capitalize on it.
So how can Windsor capitalize on this opportunity? Is there something we can learn from our closest neighbour, Detroit, which has faced more hardship but has been able to rebound in a remarkable way?
One of the keys to Detroit’s success has been their focus on entrepreneurship as strategy to recreate their local economy.
This was only made possible with large investments from individuals such as Dan Gilbert, who recognized Detroit’s potential when most had given up hope. A crucial part of that strategy has been investment in business incubators and accelerators in order to transform the downtown into a hub of innovation where
entrepreneurs both work and live.
Windsor has similar potential and needs to be more than a retirement city. We need to make our city attractive to startups and continue to build on the entrepreneurial success of the Accelerator. Over the past three and a half years the Accelerator has been responsible for creating more than 230 direct jobs and has created an economic impact of nearly $5 million in 2014 alone.