Detroit is home to one of the largest and most diverse Fellow cohorts. Detroit’s Fellows are also some of the most entrepreneurial.

A City of Resiliency and Pride

From Motown, techno and jazz, to architectural and manufacturing prowess, to a powerful civil rights history, Detroit unabashedly displays its riches of culture. Coupled with a growing sector of diverse small businesses and startups, the city is quickly becoming a must-see in the country. 

Living in Detroit means being surrounded by not only cars, but residents who have a deep sense of connection and have kept the city moving, through the good and bad. This love is even more apparent in every Coney Dog and Old English D. Detroit’s magnetic energy continues to pull individuals from within its limits and outside of it to serve as contributors to its ever-expanding story. 

Even more, Detroit is now synonymous with VFA as the official site of Training Camp, a hallmark summerlong retreat where Fellows from across the country have the chance to live, learn and play in the 142 square miles of the city. This intensive startup bootcamp combines training from industry experts and sponsored team challenges to get prepare Fellows to add value in their jobs from day one.


VFA Detroit By The Numbers

175+ Fellows

Have been placed in Detroit

100+ Company Partners

Have hired Fellows

30+ Detroit Fellows

Have launched their own companies

Where Fellows Work

The Detroit region is home to diverse and growing businesses, from high-tech mobility and health startups to high-growth retail and food. Detroit’s startup scene is supported by a tight-knit network of community support organizations and growing VC and angel investment firms. For information on how to hire a Fellow at your startup, reach out to Sarah Craft, VFA Director of Detroit, at

Alerje is a modern allergy management platform

Providing investments to Michigan's startups

A vegan brand redefining beauty

Workit Health saves lives with addiction treatment

Fellow Turned Founder Spotlight:

Fellow Turned Founder Spotlight:

Yelitsa Jean-Charles '16, Founder at Healthy Roots Dolls

Yelitsa Jean-Charles relocated to Detroit after finishing her fellowship in Cincinnati for the VFA Detroit Accelerator in 2018. She then joined the Backstage Capital Accelerator in Detroit and has decided to grow her business with her strong network of mentors, investors, and founders. Healthy Roots Dolls are designed to empower young girls and represent the beauty of diversity for kids with curly hair and darker skin tones.

Learn more about Healthy Roots Dolls
Fellows Turned Founders Spotlight:

Fellows Turned Founders Spotlight:

Eric Huang & Steven Mazu '13, Founders at Ash & Erie

Eric Huang & Steven Mazu, 2013 Fellows, both worked at a digital advertising startup before launching Ash & Erie. They saw firsthand how software and Internet companies are built. But launching Ash & Erie was our first time building a physical product.

Ash & Erie is creating the clothes that shorter men deserve. The company is building the first major brands specifically for men 5’8″ and below.

When asked about building a company in Detroit, Eric and Steven described a positive, contagious energy in the city. Further, they mentioned how the Fellow cohort has been extremely helpful and supportive.

Learn more about Ash & Erie

Our region's founder network is ripe for growth and Venture For America supports entrepreneurially-spirited individuals in places like Detroit. Duo has been fortunate to scale and gain momentum in our region and I believe VFA's Fellows can help other businesses follow suit.

– Dug Song, Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO, Duo Security and General Manager, Cisco
Learn about Detroit's Advisory Board
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