Ever wanted to know what national business leaders think about Detroit since its emergence from bankruptcy? Here’s your chance. The Kresge Foundation has released its findings from its Detroit Reinvestment Index, a survey of 307 business leaders regarding Detroit.

Their definition of “business leaders” included senior leaders at mid- to large-size companies with influence over their companies’ global, high-level decisions. They work for a company with at least 250 employees, and are involved in contracting, purchasing, sales, or related functions.

Overall, 98 percent of business leaders believe it’s possible for cities to overcome and recover from significant challenges.

When discussing Detroit, 84 percent of those surveyed believe that Detroit can once again be a great city and 71 percent say the city is a good place to invest for their business.

As far as putting their money where their mouths are, business leaders do pretty well – 45 percent of them have had business operations and investments in Detroit. Furthermore, 91 percent have a connection to Detroit and 62 percent have been to the city of Detroit.

According to the report, business leaders view Detroit favorably because of its rich cultural history, effective local government, low taxes, low cost of living, and its racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity.

An interesting statistic is around good public transportation. Good public transportation was ranked number one as a desired housing, infrastructure, & community feature/attribute, followed by a low crime rate and a rich cultural history.

Graphic via Kresge Report
Graphic via Kresge Report

However, despite their positive outlook on the city’s economic and business value, only 16 percent of business leaders are aware that Detroit is out of bankruptcy.

Apparently the city’s emergence from bankruptcy in late 2014 wasn’t nearly as interesting as its descent into it.

After Detroit’s emergence from bankruptcy, business leaders believe that the three most important features of the city’s recovery are:

  • A turnaround of the auto industry
  • Implementation of innovative approaches to urban development
  • The emergence of new industries

Of the leaders surveyed, 80 percent believe that a lower crime rate is essential to Detroit’s success, while only 52 percent said Detroit’s crime rate was “excellent or good”.

While Detroit still has a long way to go before its revitalization can be considered complete, business leaders seem to be rooting for the city and are ready to invest, provided the forward momentum continues.

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