What we do

The Office of Economic Development (OED) guides, elevates and communicates Wayne State's annual economic impact. We envision and contribute to an increasingly vibrant Detroit and Michigan with equitable access to opportunity and lasting prosperity for all.

Economic Impact

Wayne State was one of the first universities in the U.S. to create a cabinet-level office to lead economic development strategy. Our 2022-2027 Economic Impact Strategy is informed by and responds directly to Wayne State's 2022-2027 Strategic Plan "Our Moment in Time", as well as national and university best practices and local needs — including those articulated in Detroit Future City's recently released "The State of Economic Equity in Detroit" report.

The strategy is organized around five high-level goals:

  • Prepare a diverse student body for and connect them to good, household-supporting jobs
  • Ensure all Wayne State jobs are household-supporting jobs and accessible to a diverse workforce
  • Leverage our purchasing power, research enterprise and entrepreneurship programs to create more household-supporting jobs and wealth-building opportunities, especially for Detroiters and people of color
  • Retain and attract talent through investments and programs that improve quality of life in our neighborhood, city and region
  • Be a thought leader and active partner in equitable economic development

These goals are intentionally comprehensive of work happening across Wayne State schools, colleges and divisions. We also reference external metrics that Wayne State hopes to impact through our actions, including the percentage of individuals in our city and state with a post-secondary degree, our labor-force participation rates and wages.

View 2022-2027 Economic Impact Strategy

OED Programs

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is an intensive education and coaching program for second-stage small businesses that are poised for significant growth. To date, over 700 small business owners from across Michigan have graduated from the program. Approximately 70 percent of these businesses increased revenues after completing the program and 45 percent created new jobs.

Detroit Revitalization Fellows

Detroit Revitalization Fellows launched its first cohort of talented, emerging leaders from Detroit and around the U.S. in 2011. Since then, 80 Fellows have engaged in this rigorous two-year leadership development program while serving full time at organizations focused on community, civic and/or economic development. Recognizing that Detroit is not the same place it was in 2011, DRF is reorienting to support and connect leaders who work to build the capacity of Detroit's communities and neighborhoods, while ensuring a commitment to equity in the face of a rapidly transforming city and region.

TechTown Detroit

OED also partners closely with TechTown, Detroit's entrepreneurship hub. Founded in 2000 by Wayne State, Henry Ford Health System and General Motors, TechTown became a nonprofit in 2004 and remains closely affiliated with the university.  Since 2007, TechTown has supported more than 4,500 companies, which created 1,600 jobs and raised more than $172 million in startup and growth capital.


Office of Economic Development staff are available for presentations to student groups, faculty, staff and community members. To schedule a presentation, contact Emily Thompson, Director, Economic and Community Development, at emily.thompson@wayne.edu.