In developing the 2020 Washtenaw County Small Business Capital Report, EntryPoint was pleased to have the opportunity to partner with the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation and Revalue, organizations committed to promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth in their regions. In an effort to better understand the flow of capital and resources in the county, its impact, and residents’ relative access to it, EntryPoint analyzed results from nearly 600 unique institutional investors, registered investment advisors, bank trusts, Washtenaw County businesses, and individual investors. This data was then examined in relation to the Washtenaw County landscape, including its workforce demographics, education system, housing statistics, and general culture.
Particular attention is paid to five areas of industry that are key to the overall community of Washtenaw County: the caregiving, real estate, food systems, education, and independently-owned main street sectors. The report also examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon Washtenaw County businesses. Overall, despite the turbulence of the past year, EntryPoint’s findings indicate that Washtenaw County has great potential for continued economic development due to its hardworking entrepreneurs and investors, its wide range of business types, and its strong sense of community.
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The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) included the 2020 Washtenaw County Small Business Capital Report in a combined report they developed to understand how community and capital intersect in Washtenaw County. Please read the full AAACF Washtenaw County Capital Research Report on their website. Today, AAACF sees an opportunity to shape Washtenaw County’s future in a more just and equitable way. In addition to their role as grantmaker, they are taking on a new role: that of mission-based investor.
Washtenaw County is not without its challenges, and in order to promote more sustainable and inclusive growth, the county could consider addressing the following patterns of inequity:
- A historical underfunding of certain school districts has had long-lasting effects on the success and career trajectories of Washtenaw County residents in these economic areas. For example, while Proposal A redistributed school funding to be only 20% locally funded in 1993, the school systems in districts with low property value were already underfunded for nearly 40 years prior.
- Employment opportunities available to Washtenaw County residents are more accessible to White residents than Black residents. In fact, the median family income for Black families in the county is 53% of the median income for White families.
- The lack of equitable and accessible affordable housing options across Washtenaw County creates low socioeconomic enclaves with reduced economic potential that disproportionately hinders people of color. Furthermore, there is no definitive consensus on what constitutes affordable housing, and this lack of agreement negatively impacts the overall economic health of particular locations and amplifies socio-economic divides of the region.
- Land development and the presence of small businesses is limited to populated downtown areas of certain regions, while other locations are neglected. This uneven development hampers the health of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Washtenaw County.
- The funding opportunities that are available to businesses within the county is accessible for larger businesses and not for businesses with fewer than 10 employees. They are even further limited for businesses owned by people of color because businesses owned by people of color most often employ less than 10 individuals.
Here’s what the community had to say about this report!
“The 2020 Washtenaw County Small Business Capital Report was a first of its kind research initiative to be conducted at a Countywide level, designed to answer questions key institutions in our region wanted to know – how much capital is flowing through the County, where is it going, who is getting it, and who is not. We were fortunate to have an experienced research institution in EntryPoint, right here in our backyard, who we could partner with. Their ability to guide a complex project from vision to implementation was invaluable, allowing the community to gain a level of insight we did not have prior to the project. This work will continue to inform important initiatives designed to strengthen a resilient and equitable economy for years to come.”
–Angela Barbash, CEO of Revalue
>>>check out our conversation with Angela on The Cackle!
“As the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation moves deeper into impact investing, we appreciate EntryPoint’s data expertise that advanced our efforts to better support our local entrepreneurial ecosystem. Their findings in the 2020 Washtenaw County Small Business Capital Report will benefit our institutional decision-making and the community’s investing for years to come”
–Neel Hajra, CEO of Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation
>>>check out our conversation with Neel on The Cackle!
“We are a data driven society. Data provides insights into things like consumer buying habits all the way to business intelligence used to influence business decisions (such as where and how to invest their money and to create opportunity). However, that data has to first be gathered then analyzed. I’m continually amazed at the approach, depth of research, and most of all, the analysis and insights the EntryPoint team demonstrates in every data-based report they release whether it is for community or private business consumption. We are extremely fortunate and lucky to have this invaluable resource in our backyard of Southeast Michigan. EntryPoint’s understanding of our communities at whatever granularity you need (city, county, or state) is so deep that finding another organization that can be as holistic and comprehensive will be very difficult. Want to make decisions for your organization with the best data and analysis? Start with EntryPoint and then utilize them as a long term partner.”
–Rich Chang, CEO of The New Foundry
>>>check out our conversation with Rich on The Cackle!
- Read the Washtenaw County COVID-19 Business Impact Report!
- Read the 2020 Ann Arbor Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Report!
- Check out the EntryPoint Data and Program Development Guide to learn more about utilizing research insights to implement effective data-driven programs that support entrepreneurs and small businesses
- Spreadsheet of Ann Arbor-area Black-owned businesses
- Read other recent research on the Midwest entrepreneurial ecosystem
- If you are a tech company in Ann Arbor – add your company to this page
EntryPoint is a research institution that aims to promote entrepreneurship across the Midwest. The organization believes that the best research takes a holistic approach to data acquisition and analysis, and as such, seeks to build meaningful partnerships with corporations, community foundations, entrepreneurial support organizations, and other groups. Working in tandem with these partners, EntryPoint develops comprehensive research reports that deliver insights on strengths and challenges facing companies, communities, and the broader region. Research findings are used to design and implement effective programs to promote entrepreneurship by fostering an inclusive culture, expanding networks, and facilitating education and advocacy. EntryPoint is a registered 501(c)(3) organization.