An African-American woman ad her employee stand outside a small business.

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Detroit is a city that is known for a poor economy, rampant crime, and a myriad of other problems.

For years, people familiar with the city’s woes have wondered why people aren’t willing to invest in the city, but a lot of them have been from the wealthier metropolitan area, and they’ve been looking to the wrong places for help. They should have been looking to the city itself, and to entrepreneurs there.

That’s what LifeLine Business Consulting has been doing, by helping minority entrepreneurs put together business plans and get the capital to start the ball rolling. Last year they helped 25 entrepreneurs with $1.1 million in funding, and those people are helping to rebuild the city of Detroit.

LifeLine founder Dr. Nicole Farmer says, “LifeLine serves as a conduit for entrepreneurs to assist primarily with business plan preparation and connecting with funding sources.” The organization offers a 15-week course on entrepreneurship and provides one-on-one workshops and assistance with business plan preparation, among other services.

LifeLine’s effort hasn’t miraculously saved the city, but it certainly is helping. In places like Detroit, which struggle with high unemployment, among other problems, simply finding work can be difficult, especially for people who can’t leave the city limits to work in the suburbs. This is where business owners can help their neighbors, new or old, by keeping jobs where they are and by expanding or starting new businesses in areas that need jobs.

Investing in a city like Detroit can be risky, but all investments require some risk, and in this case, the payoff can benefit both the individual and society.

Programs like LifeLine can help people who might not otherwise have access to capital get the money they need to start a business. Banking isn’t always generous to people who most need loans to get a business underway. If you’re in that position, look for incubators and other local investment opportunities that can help you get started, and if you’re looking for new ways to invest, consider places like Detroit.

Visit LifeLine’s website to learn more.