When COVID-19 reached Michigan, Ross School of Business Lecturer Chris Mueller was supervising several student teams enrolled in Capstone MAP (Multidisciplinary Action Projects). He immediately saw the impact the pandemic had on local small businesses in Southeast Michigan — and on students.
“Students were losing their summer internships, and local businesses needed help thinking through a new set of problems they could not possibly have considered,” Mueller said. “It looked like an opportunity to me.”
With support from Michigan Ross, the University of Michigan’s Center on Finance, Law & Policy’s Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project (DNEP), the Ford School of Public Policy — and grant funding from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation — +Impact Studio for Local Business (+ISLB) was born. Its mission: to help businesses in Detroit and Southeast Michigan respond and adapt to challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and related shutdowns.