1. Students: Sign up to Help Detroit Entrepreneurs this Fall — and Get Credit

    April 17, 2018

    Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project is thrilled to announce the following opportunities for University of Michigan students to assist Detroit small businesses in the Fall 2018 semester.

    Law students – There is currently a waiting list for Michigan Law’s Community & Economic Development Clinic.

    Design, Business, Public Policy, Engineering and other students – You have two choices. You can either:

    (a) register for Stamps School of Art & Design Course (ARTDES 400.1) Design Studio: Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project (a 3 credit course), or
    (b) request  a Thursday-only independent study with Ross School of Business professor Cathy Shakespeare (also 3 credits).

    ARTDES 400.1 meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-4:15 p.m. in Art+Architecture Room 2216; ROSS independent studies will meet on Thursdays only at the same time, same place.

    For questions about the Stamps School class, contact Stamps School of Art & Design professor Hannah Smotrich. For questions about an independent study, contact Ross Professor Cathy Shakespeare.


    What do students do? 

    Projects are determined based upon clients’ needs. In the past students have, for one client, collaborated to complete the following work:

    • Law students conducted legal research and submitted a trademark application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to protect the client’s brand; while
    • Art & Design students revised the client’s logo to the proper pixilation so it would scale appropriately when printed on products, apparel, signage, and online media; created cardboard cut-outs (as are seen at carnivals) for photos during a pop-up event; designed and printed posters for an event; and worked with the law students to provide the images needed to support the USPTO application; while
    • Business students developed financial projections to help the small business owner assess how much product she would need to sell every day to break even, and how those costs could be set off by space rentals for special events; collaborated with design students to develop a culturally-appropriate data collection system to allow the entrepreneur to determine the needs and demographics of the people in her neighborhood; and conducted a comparative market analysis to help the small business owner improve her understanding of the competition; while
    • Accounting students worked with the entrepreneur to establish an inventory system, set up Quickbooks for the business, and taught the owner how to use it.

    For another client:

    • Business students analyzed the company’s three revenue streams (brick & mortar store, trade shows, online) and helped the client realize that she should close her unprofitable physical store; while
    • Art & Design students helped the client develop a visual identity for the brand, and created new images and visuals in support of that brand, including a new logo, proposed color palette, business card mock-ups, a trade show booth design model, and packaging materials; while
    • Law students researched the business name to help the client determine if she could assert a trademark claim and then drafted a clearance trademark opinion in support of a trademark application to the USPTO; while
    • Business and design students worked together to develop a comprehensive marketing plan for the client that includes a profile of her target customer, a social media marketing plan, and individualized recommendations of beauty bloggers to contact to boost testimonials and overall sales.

    These are but two examples of many. The course offers a chance for students to work together across disciplines, to compare methodologies, and understand adjacent areas of practice. Students also develop skill sets for interacting with and presenting to clients.