Blog: Antonio Lück

Brazil native Antonio Lück, portfolio manager at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, has lived in the Detroit area for under four years, yet has built a chain of friendships and activities that many would take a lifetime to amass. This week he writes on how a collaboration between a Brazil university and WSU brought him to Detroit's shores, the seeding of the Detroit Young Professionals volunteer and leadership group, and entrepreneurial gusto in the city.

Post 3: Detroit Is....

Remember my friend Alain Piette that I met at the WSU Alumni Association and who is a former Adams Entrepreneurial Fellow? Alain currently is the CEO for Spaceform, a company he spun out of Delphi. When I joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) last year as a portfolio manager, Spaceform was assigned as one of my companies, which received investment from MEDC in 2004. Sing it with me now: "It's a small world after all…."

I felt the energy behind entrepreneurship and the desire to create "the new" in this region from my time with Delphi; this feeling has become more evident as I continue to work at the MEDC. The State of Michigan has created a significant structure to provide an environment for entrepreneurship to thrive. One good example of MEDC's initiatives is the creation of 12 Smartzones to support entrepreneurs in their endeavors.

Another initiative is the 21st Century Jobs Fund, which has committed over $500 million over the last 10 years to grow new high-tech industries that will bring a diverse, vigorous economy to the state. Tom Baruch, the founder of CMEA Capital in San Francisco, confirms this view when he highlights how Michigan is ahead of the game regarding policies programs that spur entrepreneurship in the article "California's innovation model… Michigan".

Entrepreneurship is driven by one's desire to reinvent the world, to create something new, make it a better place. Detroit has a lot of vacant space with inexpensive rent and a multitude of talented workers. Just the right mix for innovative thinking that drives new business.

Chris Rizik, one of the region's most prominent venture capitalists, believes Detroit was held back by the "success of entrepreneurs over the last century and the creation of two generations of employees, not of entrepreneurs." I agree with him, fortunately, I continue to witness first hand this region overcoming these obstacles and flourishing for years to come.

Detroit has a lot of the DIY (Do It Yourself) culture. It is a place for you to be you, to find yourself, to see potential, to be. The city has great history and is a blank canvas for you can paint your transformation; be it in the arts, music, business, community service,…, you name it.

The Detroit DIY culture was highlighted well at TedX Detroit 2010. The conference energized me and broadened my vision of the many artists, musicians, poets, and business initiatives that are transforming Detroit. I believe the recent Johnny Knoxville movie, Detroit Lives, is another example of a very positive and accurate way to portray this view. BTW – Phil Cooley is in it!

Detroit's rebirth has begun. It is organic, germinating from seeds carefully harvested by Detroit's people and community.  Our rebirth is authentic; a far cry from plastic-fake culture.

* Disclaimer: This blog reflects only Antonio Lück's point of view and is not supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.