Ford is working to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation in the business and design communities. It began with the creation of their cutting-edge Tech Shop, which gives Ford's employees access to high-tech resources and material for design and creation. Next, they made some refinements to their Patent Incentive Program to allow employees to get credit for their intellectual discoveries.
Now Ford is sponsoring the Motor City Innovation Exchange. The exchange is a physical extension of the Detroit-based AutoHarvest Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization set up by automotive executives hoping to facilitate connections between the industry and local entrepreneurs.
William Coughlin, CEO of Ford Global Technologies comments on Tech Shop and the Motor City Innovation Exchange:
“There was a time not so long ago in this business when ideas that were ‘not invented here’ got easily dismissed,”
“The competitive pressures in the auto industry today are greater than ever, with demands for improving quality, safety, technology and of course fuel efficiency, so we are both encouraging and looking for new ideas wherever we can find them.”
“Bringing TechShop to Detroit was the critical first step in the creation of the Innovation Exchange,"
“It will be an open meeting place that will enable inventors to showcase what they create in TechShop and then negotiate, network and even sell their prototyped solutions to players in the automotive industry, from manufacturers and suppliers to research institutions and startups.”
Additionally, TechTown, Wayne State University's business incubator, will hold regular sessions at the Innovation Exchange in order to educate and advise innovators and creators who take advantage of Tech Shops's resources. The sessions will cover a variety of relevant topics and be presented by the school's instructors.
Ford will also be sponsoring something they call the Jump Start Program. Essentially, Ford will be helping small businesses and entrepreneurs get set up on smaller operations which seek to market the manufacture products designed and inspired through Tech Shop and the Motor City Innovation Exchange. More information on how to take advantage of the Ford Land resources are available through thisFordland.com link.
Here's a quick recap of what Ford is doing o fuel innovation in the community:
* Ford’s intellectual property licensing group to open Motor City Innovation Exchange providing a showroom for innovators to show off their creations to peers and potential customers
* Working with TechShop, the nonprofit AutoHarvest Foundation and Wayne State University’s TechTown, Ford is helping entrepreneurs commercialize their creations
* Ford Land is now offering the Jump Start program to provide more affordable work/hacker space along with support to help spur job-creating businesses
Coughlin again comments:
“Like every industry, the automobile business was built and thrived on innovation,”
“As personal transportation is reinvented in the 21st century, the challenges facing the industry are greater than ever and fresh ideas are essential to success.”
“Ford is pleased to be leading the way through its connections with TechShop, AutoHarvest Foundation and TechTown,”