Monday, July 2, 2012

Chronicle 5: CDS Shares Best Business Practices

For the second time in as many months, Centric Design Studio was represented on a panel of entrepreneurs chosen by business incubator, TechTown, to meet with federal government officials. On June 14, CDS partner Saundra Little met with Lorraine Hariton, special representative for commercial and business affairs at the U.S. Department of State, as part of Global Economic Statecraft Day. Other participants included: Leslie Smith, president and CEO of TechTown; Dr. Souad Rouis, TechTown Incubation Prize winner from Tunisia and co-founder of BiotechRDP; Roger Newton, president of Esperion Therapeutics; and Christopher Danowski, director of technology commercialization at Ford Global Technologies.

Saundra at Global Economic Statecraft Day
Through the State Department's Global Entrepreneurship Program, Hariton is responsible for outreach to the business community, and she works to ensure that commercial diplomacy efforts support U.S. foreign policy objectives. The Department of State focuses on economics as part of the foreign policy agenda, Hariton said, and she came to find out how Detroit's lessons in entrepreneurship can be applied globally. Countries respect the United States in innovation and entrepreneurship and want to learn best practices.

TechTown, where CDS offices are located, is one of the Global Entrepreneurship Program's 100 partners in the U.S. and is a tangible example of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's vision for "economic statecraft."

Although Centric Design Studio is not involved in international projects just yet, our company is following a course for successful entrepreneurship and business growth shared by the State Department and TechTown. We are nurturing our business in the TechTown “ecosystem:” taking full advantage of the training, networking opportunities, mentors and other resources offered. “We found ideas and relationships at TechTown to get the business up and running in three years,” Saundra says.

The architectural and graphic design services we offer“create community and place,” she continues. Those services, combined with our client-centric approach, can be offered internationally to emerging businesses and countries developing and re-establishing communities.

As a woman in a male-dominated profession (women make up about 20%. of the population of registered architects in the U.S.; Black females account for 0.2% of the industry), Saundra has a unique view of entrepreneurship and growing a professional service firm. She shares some of the same desires as Dr. Souad Rouis from Tunisia, also a panel participant, of being a role model for girls and sharing business experiences with her community.

Saundra meeting with White House economic advisors
In May, White House advisors also met with Detroit-based entrepreneurs, including Centric Design Studio. Gene Sperling, Director of the National White House Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and Greg Nelson, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, met with the group to gather ideas about how the White House can support entrepreneurship in economically challenged communities like Detroit.

Centric Design Studio is proud to have been selected to share entrepreneurial best practices with the U.S. State Department and the White House, and we will continue to share our story with emerging businesses locally and globally.

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