In cooperation with the Dutch Foreign Office we organized the trade mission to Detroit of May 2015 for over 25 organizations. The program established new permanent business partnerships of Dutch agri- and horticulture, and innovation companies with their American business, governmental and community development counterparts. Detroit, a former powerhouse of the automotive industry, has suffered from deindustrialization, a decline in population, an increase in crime, and general decay. Yet, Detroit is a city full of resources and opportunities. The event launched Detroit Urban Regen which aims to revitalize the city using smart agricultural solutions and creating a new biobased industry. 22 written pledges of commitment where secured, adding to the existing 15 international partners for Detroit Urban Regen.
The Detroit Urban Regen project was introduced by a film about cooperation between Detroit and the Netherlands. Support for the Detroit Urban Regen project was overwhelming. Participants expressed all-round enthusiasm about the project’s goal of investing $40-60 million to make a new economic backbone in Detroit. Detroit Urban Regen and its 37 partners continue to work on 6 concrete challenges that were identified during the event, and currently raise funds to create a new, bio-based backbone for Detroit.