FastCompany Magazine

The official Tumblr of Fast Company.

Despite the valiant efforts of its burgeoning startup community, Detroit just became the largest city to ever file for bankruptcy in the U.S.
Fast Company contributor Matt Haber asked earlier this year whether creative companies would be able to rescue Detroit. We must wonder how this setback will effect the hardworking citizens of Detroit who are trying to rebuild Detroit by hand. 

Detroit: The rest of the story

Between 2000 and 2010, the population plummeted 25%. It will soon drop below 700,000 for the first time in nearly a century. 
Detroit has more than 100,000 vacant lots in its 139 square miles. A fourth of the housing units—45,000—are abandoned. 
Unemployment is 18%—more than twice the national rate. Including people no longer looking for work, the rate soars to more than 50%. 
Household income is $27,862, barely half the national level. Nearly a third live in poverty, more than double the national rate. 
In 2011, Detroit ranked first in murder rate, first in violent-crime rate, and fifth in property-crime rate. 
The police force is down by more than half from 12 years ago. The fire department was cut by a third in the past decade. 
Here is some of our other coverage of Detroit:
Detroiters on how to make it in Detroit
Meet the makers: Rebuilding Detroit by hand

Despite the valiant efforts of its burgeoning startup community, Detroit just became the largest city to ever file for bankruptcy in the U.S.

Fast Company contributor Matt Haber asked earlier this year whether creative companies would be able to rescue Detroit. We must wonder how this setback will effect the hardworking citizens of Detroit who are trying to rebuild Detroit by hand

Detroit: The rest of the story

  • Between 2000 and 2010, the population plummeted 25%. It will soon drop below 700,000 for the first time in nearly a century. 
  • Detroit has more than 100,000 vacant lots in its 139 square miles. A fourth of the housing units—45,000—are abandoned. 
  • Unemployment is 18%—more than twice the national rate. Including people no longer looking for work, the rate soars to more than 50%. 
  • Household income is $27,862, barely half the national level. Nearly a third live in poverty, more than double the national rate. 
  • In 2011, Detroit ranked first in murder rate, first in violent-crime rate, and fifth in property-crime rate. 
  • The police force is down by more than half from 12 years ago. The fire department was cut by a third in the past decade. 

Here is some of our other coverage of Detroit:

Come To College! Get Funded! Northeaster Offers The Nation’s Only Student-Run Venture Accelerator, Idea
Northeastern University has a student-run venture accelerator with $250k cash. Is this what it takes to keep kids on campus?
College is crazy expensive—and it’s getting more expensive all the time. Entrepreneurs like Peter Thiel are fond of saying it’s not worth it. But 23-year-old Chris Wolfel, who is getting his bachelor’s from Northeastern University this spring, found college to be not only a good investment, but the perfect launching pad for his entrepreneurial dreams.
For the last two years, Wolfel has been the CEO of IDEA, the only student-run venture accelerator in the country. Founded in 2009, IDEA offers workshops, meetups, coaching, mentoring, and most importantly, funding, all from alumni donors, for student startups. Wolfel and his team were able to raise $250,000 to help launch almost 300 businesses by students from every school across the university.
"Northeastern right now is one of the biggest hotbeds of entrepreneurship I’ve seen," says Wolfel. He points to the longstanding co-op model to explain why—Northeastern’s five-year bachelor’s degree program includes three six-month-long full-time internships, so "people come here knowing they’re going to work no matter what." For the last few years there’s even been a self-co-op model for student entrepreneurs to take time off to work on their own projects.
It could be said that IDEA is challenging the very idea of university education. 
Is the major purpose of convening a university and charging tuition to allow students to ponder the good life or expand the boundaries of human knowledge—or to turn collegians into entrepreneurs?
[Image: Flickr user Steve Jurvetson]

Come To College! Get Funded! Northeaster Offers The Nation’s Only Student-Run Venture Accelerator, Idea

Northeastern University has a student-run venture accelerator with $250k cash. Is this what it takes to keep kids on campus?

College is crazy expensive—and it’s getting more expensive all the time. Entrepreneurs like Peter Thiel are fond of saying it’s not worth it. But 23-year-old Chris Wolfel, who is getting his bachelor’s from Northeastern University this spring, found college to be not only a good investment, but the perfect launching pad for his entrepreneurial dreams.

For the last two years, Wolfel has been the CEO of IDEA, the only student-run venture accelerator in the country. Founded in 2009, IDEA offers workshops, meetups, coaching, mentoring, and most importantly, funding, all from alumni donors, for student startups. Wolfel and his team were able to raise $250,000 to help launch almost 300 businesses by students from every school across the university.

"Northeastern right now is one of the biggest hotbeds of entrepreneurship I’ve seen," says Wolfel. He points to the longstanding co-op model to explain why—Northeastern’s five-year bachelor’s degree program includes three six-month-long full-time internships, so "people come here knowing they’re going to work no matter what." For the last few years there’s even been a self-co-op model for student entrepreneurs to take time off to work on their own projects.

It could be said that IDEA is challenging the very idea of university education. 

Is the major purpose of convening a university and charging tuition to allow students to ponder the good life or expand the boundaries of human knowledge—or to turn collegians into entrepreneurs?

[Image: Flickr user Steve Jurvetson]

The United States Of Innovation
We crunched the numbers, beginning by assessing the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ launch rate of all private-sector businesses, as well as the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity’s percentage of people who are starting new businesses and how that percentage changed over time. Then, to see the health of young firms in particular, we tallied the percentage of jobs contributed by those less than three years old and how that percentage changed over the past five years. To analyze the self-described startup community, we incorporated the health and growth rate of Startup America members and a tally of AngelList and Fundable members.
The result is a list with California near the top, as expected, but with new arrivals above it. Some developing startup cultures, like Iowa’s, weren’t yet reflected in the numbers, and some longtime hot spots like Massachusetts dropped down. “It used to be that there was only a small number of places like this, of which Boston and Silicon Valley have a long history of being leaders,” says Scott Stern, professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. But as they multiply, “that’s a real bright spot if you want to have confidence in the economy.” 
Read on to see how innovation is happening all over, and how your own community can learn from the winners.
Which states that are lesser known for their start up communities do think made the top ten?

The United States Of Innovation

We crunched the numbers, beginning by assessing the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ launch rate of all private-sector businesses, as well as the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity’s percentage of people who are starting new businesses and how that percentage changed over time. Then, to see the health of young firms in particular, we tallied the percentage of jobs contributed by those less than three years old and how that percentage changed over the past five years. To analyze the self-described startup community, we incorporated the health and growth rate of Startup America members and a tally of AngelList and Fundable members.

The result is a list with California near the top, as expected, but with new arrivals above it. Some developing startup cultures, like Iowa’s, weren’t yet reflected in the numbers, and some longtime hot spots like Massachusetts dropped down. “It used to be that there was only a small number of places like this, of which Boston and Silicon Valley have a long history of being leaders,” says Scott Stern, professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. But as they multiply, “that’s a real bright spot if you want to have confidence in the economy.”

Read on to see how innovation is happening all over, and how your own community can learn from the winners.

Which states that are lesser known for their start up communities do think made the top ten?

How A Young Community Of Entrepreneurs Is Rebuilding Detroit

Jerry Paffendorf’s Imagination Station was an art and performance space sitting near Detroit’s iconic eyesore: the windowless, 18-story Michigan Central Station. He and some neighbors had bought two houses and a field for $6,000 and renovated the property as a goodwill gesture and an expression of faith in his adopted home. 

"With so much abandoned property [in Detroit], arson is common. One 32-hour span in September saw 31 fires. The department’s finances are such that last year firehouses ran out of toilet paper…."

See more images of Detroit’s start up scene here.

 
Think women don’t launch startups?
1) You’re not alone, and 2) Think again!
Over the last couple of months there has been another round of women in tech and startup debates.
Robert Scoble says in a Facebook Group that he wants to write about women launching world-changing startups but struggles to find them. Michael Arrington over at TechCrunchsays “the press is dying to write about [women startups].” Over on Quora, there is a discussion about the hottest companies started by women. Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr and Hunch is one of the most popular answers.
Click here for the full list.

Think women don’t launch startups?

1) You’re not alone, and 2) Think again!

Over the last couple of months there has been another round of women in tech and startup debates.

Robert Scoble says in a Facebook Group that he wants to write about women launching world-changing startups but struggles to find them. Michael Arrington over at TechCrunchsays “the press is dying to write about [women startups].” Over on Quora, there is a discussion about the hottest companies started by women. Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr and Hunch is one of the most popular answers.

Click here for the full list.