Forward Cities is a cross-city learning collaborative that fosters inclusive innovation and entrepreneurial development in Cleveland, Detroit, Durham, and New Orleans. During the two-year pilot initiative, community leaders identified focus neighborhoods to direct and coordinate resources to increase entrepreneurship. Forward Cities participants increased their focus on supporting minority entrepreneurs in these underserved neighborhoods. Forward Cities also deepened relationships between entrepreneurial support providers. The pilot initiative generated funding or significant interest and facilitated cross-city connections, primarily though formal convenings, but also through informal connections developed by participants. Finally, Forward Cities offers lessons for designing similar initiatives around small business and entrepreneurship.
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