Invest Detroit has been actively engaged in lending and economic development efforts in Detroit since 1995. The company was founded with the establishment of the $52 million Detroit Investment Fund (DIF), created to be a catalyst for economic development and investment in Detroit by providing critical gap financing for city businesses and commercial real estate projects.
We broadened our investments in 2009, creating a community development entity (CDE) to apply for and distribute New Market Tax Credit allocations. To best leverage these efforts, management then created the Invest Detroit Foundation in 2010 and became a certified community development finance institution (CDFI) in 2011 to facilitate funding from the philanthropic sector and the CDFI Fund and to further our mission to provide for the increasing needs of Detroit’s underserved community.
In 2012, Invest Detroit, continued to expand its investments beyond Downtown Detroit. In conjunction with numerous other stakeholders, we launched a transit-oriented development strategy to revitalize the Woodward Corridor of Greater Downtown Detroit and, in 2013, added new partnerships in 2014 with JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs to create funds to enhance small business lending.
At the same time, Invest Detroit committed to support promising Michigan-based, high-tech startups through investment capital and programs that strengthen the startup ecosystem. We created ID Ventures (IDV) and launched the First Step Fund in 2010 and in the following years took over management of the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition. IDV has continued to grow since 2014 with the creation of the Detroit Innovate Fund, the First Capital Fund, and the Hacker Fellows program.
As the Greater Downtown market continued to improve and project investment gaps narrowed, Invest Detroit’s strategy and scope continued evolving with a new initiative to invest in targeted neighborhoods across the city. In partnership with the City of Detroit, we launched the Strategic Neighborhood Fund (SNF) in three pilot neighborhoods in 2016. In early 2018, we expanded the SNF to invest in a total of 10 neighborhoods.