WJR Business Beat

WJR Business Beat: Wayne State Announces New Entrepreneurial Program (Episode 393)

On today’s Business Beat, Jeff talks about a new program in which Wayne State University and Global Detroit are partnering to help immigrant and international entrepreneurs launch high-growth startups in Southeast Michigan.

Tune in to today’s Business Beat to learn more about the Global EIR program:


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Good morning, Paul!

Our good friends over at Wayne State University and Global Detroit are partnering to help immigrant and international entrepreneurs launch high-growth startups right here in Southeast Michigan. The program is known as the Global Entrepreneur in Residence, or Global EIR, program, and it’s intended to help place foreign-born startup founders at universities in our region so they can teach and mentor other students while there. The founders in turn become eligible for an H1B visa, which enables them to launch and grow their companies right here in metro Detroit.

And that is what you call a win-win! Certainly good for Detroit and good for those founders as well. Now the program is already underway and making progress. Wayne State reports that Simon Forster, a native of Germany, Wayne state’s first global EIR. He’ll be based at the office of business innovation and technology commercialization with support also coming from TechTown, Wayne State’s affiliated entrepreneurial hub. Forster’s a cofounder of a startup known as PassiveBolt. They make a product known as a Shepherd Lock. That’s a touch access, keyless entry technology, winning CES 2020 and 2021 innovation awards.

Why is this program so exciting? Well, historically, of course, the backbone of the Detroit economy was built by immigrants coming to our region to start new companies or work for others. More recently, over the last 25 years, immigrants have helped launch one-quarter of all the high-tech startups in the U.S. and approximately half of the startups in Silicon Valley.

Paul, many overseas entrepreneurs dream of coming to the land of opportunity to start a business, but obtaining a visa can be a major challenge and this program helps them bridge that gap and make their way here.

Ned Staebler, vice president for economic development at Wayne State and president and CEO of TechTown, says this: “Talent is the No. 1 driver of strong economies. Attracting and keeping companies founded by international students and other global entrepreneurs makes great sense for our university, our city and region, and our state.”

To learn more about this program, go to globaldetroit.com/global-eir/.

I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO of startupnation.com, and that’s today’s Business Beat on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.

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