Microsoft helps entrepreneurs rebuild Detroit

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Microsoft helps entrepreneurs rebuild Detroit

Recently we’ve heard of Microsoft’s assistance to startups around the world and the building of Innovation Centers here in the US. But today Microsoft is showcasing a slightly different kind of story about their work with startups in Detroit.

The story focuses on two startups in one of the most financially distraught major metropolitan cities in the US. As the Microsoft blog notes, Detroit’s unemployed had reached 20% in 2011, possibly being as high as 50% if accounting for people who gave up looking for work. But the city has had issue for much longer than the recent recession as the 2000 and 2010 census show a decline in population by 25% and only last December did the city exit bankruptcy, which it forced to enter into to deal with the realities of years of financial mismanagement.

But Microsoft’s story starts with how since 2010, there seems to be a trend of millennial moving into the urban center of Detroit, and helping create  a young startup community in this once large industrial urban metropolis.

Specifically, Microsoft focuses on two young startups 1701 Bespoke and Paramita Sound, both of which have incorporated Microsoft devices into their daily operations and the ways they collaborate.

1701 Bespoke is a clothing boutique specializing in custom-made garments for discerning men and they have used Surfaces and Lumias for more than typical business purposes and automating as many processes as they could. They also use Microsoft devices for taking measurements in fitting customers and designing clothing. They take over 25 measurements of each customer with their Surface and Tom Daguanno explains:

“There is one thing people think is pretty cool: When we measure the slope of a customer’s shoulders, we use the Microsoft Level app on our Lumia phones to measure the degrees of slope.”

1701 Bespoke’s Tom’s Daguanno does say, “The biggest change for us was taking this business that was all paper forms and fax machines, and turning it into a simpler, digital automated solution.”

Paramita Sound is a new-era vinyl music shop that relied on classes at D:Hive Build and TechTown’s Retail Boot Camp before opening their doors. Technology meets their needs for interacting with customers, managing transactions, and connecting with their distributors and partners. Andrey Douthard of Paramita Sound says Microsoft devices:

“allowed us to stay connected on a cohesive platform. With all of us having Lumia phones and Surface Pro tablets, it gives us the ability to speak clearly through all our devices.”

The two companies have also found a way to collaborate, offering customized product lines in each other’s stores in an effort to benefit Detroit’s Music Hall through proceeds. The story highlights how two young business use Microsoft devices and technology to help bring “old tactile business back to music, old tactile business back to style” in an exciting time of change in Detroit after such a long periods of decline.

The Lumia Conversations post definitely reads as a promotional piece for Microsoft devices. However, that doesn’t make their success stories less true, or the uniqueness of how Microsoft devices changed the way not only two different startups operate, but also find ways to collaborate for change in their community.

Have Microsoft devices give your business an competitive advantage or just simply made things easier? Let us know in the comments section.