Forward Cities National and Local Research Update
This is a presentation at the second convening of the Forward Cities Learning Network, held in Detroit in June 2015. It presents the scope of work and activity plans for the national and local research partners, including the Urban Institute and Data Driven Detroit. Other local research partners include the Center for Economic Development at Cleveland State University, the City of Durham's Neighborhood Improvement Services Office, and Tulane University.
Forward Cities is a two-year national learning collaborative related to developing and supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses, with a particular focus on low-income and minority residents. In each city, Innovation Councils with representatives from across sectors have formed to identify an under-developed neighborhood or corridor in which to focus their efforts to support new and existing small enterprises. Forward Cities seeks to strengthen existing networks and accelerate entrepreneurial activity within the participating sites through fostering peer learning among the participating cities. Through the published products and Forward Cities website (http://www.forwardcities.org/), the project will also serve as resource for others that are looking to build out their entrepreneurial ecosystems. The local research partners are collecting quantitative and qualitative data about the focus area and entrepreneurial support systems. The Urban Institute serves as the national research partner, coordinating the local research partner data collection and assessing the short term benefits of the Collaborative.