Launch Exchange for Social Entrepreneurs

Launch Exchange for Social Entrepreneurs: Growing social enterprise in Detroit through coworking, community, and compassio

Detroit, United StatesDetroit, United States
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Launch Exchange is committed to growing social enterprise in Detroit and beyond. We provide three services to the community - coworking space, consulting, and events - to contribute and support our growing social enterprise ecosystem. 

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if people were empowered to live the lives they want to live?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

What is lacking in our region is an impact ecosystem, that can not only provide capital and capacity building to potential and existing community-based entrepreneurs, but one that also has access points and a track record at which these resources can be deployed to maximize ROI2 - return on investment and involvement – for all.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Launch Exchange, which provides coworking space, consulting, and programing, addresses capacity and access issues found in Detroit by working within a neighborhood to put tools in the hands of community-based entrepreneurs. Providing access to capacity building increases the potential for community-based entrepreneurs to drive change, innovate, and disrupt inharmonious paradigms within and beyond their community. Similarly, Launch Exchange seeks to further expand the scope and reach of capacity building to the investment and civic sectors to demonstrate the impact well formed, managed, and data-driven social entrepreneurs can have at a local level and beyond.


50 new leaders from SEA, American Express, and the Unreasonable Institute
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Launch Exchange provides space, community, and incubation services to close the loop on entrepreneurial services in Detroit. There is an abundance of entrepreneurial programs and competitions that inspire and teach budding entrepreneurs. However, the ecosystem lacks a place where these entrepreneurs can go to continue learning and growing once they have exited a program. Launch Exchange will provide these next steps incubation services to enable entrepreneurs and small businesses to continue to scale their seedling businesses organically through a lean business model approach.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Since 2014, Launch Exchange has hosted events which have engaged over 450 entrepreneurs and business leaders throughout Detroit and the region. We currently are working with several local startup social enterprises and startup nonprofits to help them structure their organization and develop a roadmap to success. We are also in the process of launching our first popup coworking space in partnership with several key community stakeholders. In the coming year, we anticipate having successfully launched our popup coworking space to pilot our physical presence in the City, introduce new curated incubation services and programs to support social enterprise (such as workshops on rapid prototyping, lean business model canvas, and fundraising), and welcome community members into our network via coworking membership and programs and event participation.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Over the next year, our strategy is to validate the need for our physical space in the community. We will host a popup coworking space for 3-6 months which will serve as a pilot for this initiative and engage with marginalized entrepreneurs in Detroit's neighborhoods. We anticipate growth into a permanent space within two years. Once we have proof of concept via the popup space, we will launch a community crowdfunding campaign as a tool to acquire a blighted school in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood. This new location will become a nexus for social enterprise and community development.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We will have competitive pricing on our programs and space, but we will leverage our for-profit hybrid status to engage the philanthropic community to provide educational subsidies for our programs for entrepreneurs and community members in need.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are three entrepreneurial programs focused on training entrepreneurs in Detroit; approximately 5 local coworking spaces; and dozens of nonprofit organizations working to revive their communities through economic development efforts. Yet, none of these entities provides full service support the way that Launch Exchange will - access to space, programming for continued learning, and a support network in house which allow members to not only start up in our space but mature as a business within our space as well.

Founding Story

Launch Exchange grew out of a frustration and realization that to solve problems at a systemic level capital and capacity building needed to be better activated in our communities. We realized that many of the people who have solutions to problems are often closest to those problems and Detroit was neither lacking in problems, nor people close to those problems. Thus, we began Launch Exchange as an access point for enterprising community members to learn, grow, and make their own impact.


Nicole Mangis, CEO - FULL TIME Part Time/Consultants: Adriane Galea, Contract Consultant – HR and workforce development specialist Chelsea Smallish, Contract Consultant – Market research and data specialist Advisors: Jess Doresy, Technology Advisor Marcus Jones, Real Estate Investment Advisor Meredith Kerekes, Business Development & Operations Advisor Stefan Pagacik, Business Development & Investment Advisor
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Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:


Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Startup Weekend Detroit for Social Entrepreneurs: hosted a weekend long business competition for over 60 local entrepreneurs with the challenge of creating a social enterprise in one weekend.
Startup Weekend Detroit for Youth: hosted and facilitated a weekened long business competition for over 65 youth ages 9-18
E-Corps: engaged 4 community partners in Detroit, hosted 4 events on topics relevant to each partner's community needs (such as financial literacy, social enterprise, vending at a farmers market), and coordinated over 20 panelists for the events.
Nonprofit Opportunity Challenge: engaged 60 University of Michigan-Dearborn students, two non-profits, and 5 local mentors to identify actionable solutions for nonprofits.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

Bamboo Detroit - a local coworking space
Corktown Studios - a local artists collective
ProsperUS Detroit - an entrepreneurial program initiative to train entrepreneurs
Detroit Social Enterprise Alliance