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Is Detroit's Bankruptcy Filing Good for City's Tech Scene?

Rather than viewing the Motor City's financial woes as a fiasco, the tech community sees it as an opportunity for an about-face.

by / July 23, 2013
Detroit, Mich. David Kidd

Jockeying for its long-term survival, the tech world in Detroit is making a conscious choice in light of the city's well-publicized financial insolvency. According to a report on Fast Company, the entrepreneurial technology sector views the bankruptcy action simply as an opportunity to pivot.

Although last week's Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing is the largest filed by a city in American history, some, like tech startup LevelEleven CEO Bob March, see it as a hopeful sign.

"A lot of people here have wanted this to happen. It's time to take drastic measures so the city can correct itself," Marsh told Fast Company. "Someone's finally willing to take a pivot here."

Given the condition of Detroit's finances, businesses like Marsh's can't count on lot of help from the city, but they do benefit from certain opportunities made possible by the economic crisis -- cheap office space, for example.

On the same day that Detroit filed for bankruptcy, more entrepreneurial hope emerged as Quicken Loan founder and chairman Dan Gilbert offered to buy and convert a stalled jail project into a retail, office and residential development. A native of Detroit, Gilbert's total investment in the city to date tops $1 billion, making him its third largest landowner.

Tech entrepreneurs seem to share Gilbert's optimism for their city's future.

"We embrace the fact that we're in Detroit, and it works in our favor," Marsh said.

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