DETROIT, Aug. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Cass Tech High School and University of Michigan graduate and entrepreneur Shawn Ward, founder of Ward and Fifth Consulting, today announced he has opened a branch of his agency in Detroit's Eastern Market and is launching a new business in September, Williamson Goods, to manufacture luxury sporting equipment. A portion of the proceeds of every product sold by Williamson Goods will be donated to Detroit Police Athletic League (PAL).
Ward & Fifth Consulting has also started the Urban Future Program – Detroit, to give Detroit companies 75 percent off business development services. It is currently working with two local companies: Citizen Ciao surf brand and Cool Club Clothing.
Ward made the announcement as part of a kickoff of Detroit Homecoming III, Sept. 14-16. The event brings some of the region's most successful "expats" – from CEOs to entertainers – back to Detroit so they can reconnect and reinvest in their hometown. Expatriates also share ideas and perspectives on how to continue Detroit's rebirth.
Since the inaugural event in 2014, Detroit expats have committed to investing more than $260 million in city projects and businesses.
"We want creative young people like Shawn Ward back in Detroit," said Mayor Mike Duggan. "The talent pipeline is shifting in Detroit's favor. Events like Homecoming make all the difference."
"When we decided to build Williamson, our hearts took us to Detroit. We want to show that the heart, passion and grit of Detroit can create some of the most luxurious products in the world," said Ward. "Williamson products will be built by Detroit citizens because we believe in the renewed glory of Detroit manufacturing."
The theme of this year's Detroit Homecoming – creativity – will highlight how technology, art, music, architecture, fashion and design help define the narrative and culture of Detroit. This complements the city's recent designation as a UNESCO "City of Design."
In addition to Ward, former Detroiters attending this year's event include: Steve Ballmer, former Microsoft CEO and current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers and Tony Fadell, one of the creators of the iPod and founder of NEST.
Oak Park native Jeffrey Seller, Tony award-winning producer of "Hamilton," will come home to accept the Governor's Arts Award during Homecoming from Gov. Rick Snyder and the statewide arts and culture coalition, CreativeMany.
"This event continues to attract some of Detroit's most accomplished alumni who haven't forgotten their roots: They are passionate about our city and are investing time, intellectual capital and millions of dollars to help revitalize Detroit," said Mayor Duggan.
"Drawing attention to the technology, arts, business and development happening in Detroit helps us retain and recruit the talent and entrepreneurs who'll help move the city forward."
Ward's investment joins initiatives such as the Orleans Landing project in the Jefferson corridor, Will Leather Goods, technology incubators and angel investments in startup businesses across the city.
"When we launched the Homecoming idea in 2014, we weren't sure what to expect," said Detroit Homecoming co-director Mary Kramer. "We hoped we'd get interest and that those expatriates would fall in love with the city all over again and they've not let us down."
Said Jim Hayes, Detroit Homecoming co-director: "We had no idea we'd still be building steam and becoming a template for other cities. Our expats continue to bring an overwhelming amount of enthusiasm, ideas, attention and money to Detroit."
Detroit Homecoming and its nonprofit fiduciary partner, the Downtown Detroit Partnership, are grateful to the sponsors and partners who have committed to support the initiative so far this year: William Davidson Foundation, Display Group, DTE Energy, FirstMerit Bank, Ford Motor Co. Fund & Community Services, Forte-Belanger, General Motors, Ilitch Holdings, Infused PR & Events, JP Morgan Chase – Detroit, JR Turnbull Communications, Kresge Foundation, Lear Corp., Meijer Inc., Meridian Health Plan, Michigan Economic Development Corp., MSLGROUP, New Economy Initiative, Rush Group/Dakkota Trucking, Skillman Foundation, Talmer Bank, University of Detroit Mercy, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Urban Science, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Wayne State University.
For more information on Detroit Homecoming, visit www.detroithomecoming.com. The event is invitation-only. It is open to working media.
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SOURCE Detroit Homecoming