Detroit vs. Shenzhen

From the Arsenal of Democracy to the COVID-19 Vaccine, America’s critical products are made in Michigan.

Let’s honor and build on this legacy by making Detroit the home of America’s new manufacturing revolution.

Idea: Make Detroit an American mass manufacturing hub to compete with China’s Shenzhen.

  • Turn Detroit into a free trade and advanced manufacturing zone.
  • Create a concentrated supply chain in Detroit near the US-Canada border.

Why? Create an Arsenal of Progress in Detroit, the original Arsenal of Democracy.

  • Create thousands of jobs in Detroit.
  • Manufacture critical supplies in America close to where they’re needed most.

Key: Leverage Michigan’s existing manufacturing leadership:

  • Make Detroit a hub for CHIPS Programs in partnership with Michigan automakers.
    • Create a research and manufacturing ecosystem for microelectronics and semiconductors.
  • Partner with BARDA to make Detroit a Pharmaceutical Manufacturing in America (PMIA) hub.
    • Parke-Davis, once the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, was founded and headquartered in Detroit.
    • Pfizer’s largest manufacturing site, where its coronavirus vaccine is made, is in Kalamazoo, Michigan, less than 150 miles from Detroit.

Model: START-UP NY for Detroit.

  • Invest up to $1M each in the best startups and manufacturers that move to Detroit.
  • Allow new and expanding businesses in Detroit to operate up to 10 years tax-free.
  • $0 down home loans for anyone moving their primary residence to Detroit.

Vision: Retrofit iconic old Detroit buildings into new manufacturing and technology startup offices.

Ford acquired Michigan Central Station to be the centerpiece of its new Detroit campus. This should be the anchor tenant for a new manufacturing hub in Corktown.

This idea is a work-in-progress. If you’d like to riff on it, hit me up @neilthanedar on Twitter.

Published by Neil Thanedar

Neil Thanedar is an entrepreneur, investor, scientist, altruist, and author. He is the founder & GP of Utopic, a pre-seed biotech VC fund investing in the future of science. He is also the founder & chairman of Air to All, a 501(c)3 nonprofit medical device startup, and Labdoor, a consumer watchdog with $7M+ in funding and 20M+ users. He previously co-founded Avomeen Analytical Services, a product development and testing lab acquired for $30M+ in 2016. He has also served as Executive Director of The Detroit Partnership and Senior Advisor to his father Shri Thanedar in his campaigns for Governor, State Representative, and US Congress in Michigan.