Discovering and applying new and innovative economic development tools, models, policies, and programs
Creating Jobs and Wealth in Distressed Michigan Communities

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Robert Carson, AICP, is the Regional Director of Community Development with Networks Northwest. Collaboration across levels of government is perceived to provide economic and community-wide benefits. Inherent capacity issues, particularly in rural communities are thought to be a hindrance to development, application review, approval and permitting processes, further compounded by the complexities of navigation of statutes by local units of government, when managing approval body structure, operation, and oversight. Carson’s Innovation Fellowship project proposes a research methodology to gain information and data concerning collaborative service partnerships between regional planning entities and local units of government. Learn more about Robert, here. 

2023 Innovation Fellowship awardee, Margo Dalal, is the co-founder and Executive Director of Detroit Community Wealth Fund. Dalal has seven years of experience in cooperative business development. Her fellowship will introduce incentive and support programs for worker ownership in Michigan to preserve local jobs as business owners retire and increase wealth-building opportunities in low-income communities statewide. Although there is ample research to support the economic and social benefits of work ownership, more research is needed on the public perception of worker ownership from both business owners and employees and small business technical assistance providers to create successful state and city worker ownership initiatives. This Innovation Fellowship will leverage the Detroit Community Wealth Fund as the state’s only loan fund that finances democratically owned and operated cooperative businesses, and the only cooperative business incubator. Learn more about Margo, here. 

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