Smart-Detroit Nurtures Area Startups

For small business owners seeking a downtown presence, the costs associated with leasing office space, purchasing office equipment and installing the latest communications technology can be a burden. 

Unless you’re one of the fortunate tenants or virtual clients doing business with Smart-Detroit.

Headquartered on the 13th floor of the Penobscot Building at 645 Griswold Street, Smart-Detroit is paving the way for entrepreneurs to function as a large corporation without the overhead.

The business center and resource provider operates much like a five-star hotel that caters exclusively to small business.  
Their scalable programs and services allow entrepreneurs to lease individual offices or executive suites that are pre-equipped with phone lines and high-speed Internet access at vastly reduced cost s through alliances with Qwest Communications, SunTel Services and other business resource providers.

The 40 offices range in size from 150 to 3,000 square feet, and the lease rate includes local phone service, T1 Internet access, personalized voicemail, mail delivery, utilities, maintenance and professional office cleaning, and a receptionist to personally answer phones.

Tenants also have access to conference and training rooms equipped with global video-conferencing capabilities; meeting rooms of all sizes, lounges, kitchenettes, and a café where guests or prospective clients can enjoy complimentary coffee while checking e-mail.

The facilities are also available at an hourly or daily rate for non-tenants, depending on individual needs. 

Once leases are negotiated, move-in can happen much quicker than a typical office lease because there is no need to wait for phone installation or Internet hook-ups. 

For small business owners who don’t require physical office space, Koziatek offers four Smart Identity Packages, which provides a downtown Detroit mailing address, personal mail delivery, courier services and access to all a la carte services, along with additional benefits depending on the package.

Use Smart-Detroit while you’re a small business and if your business grows outside of the scope of what Smart-Detroit can offer, then we have the Penobscot Building to upgrade you

Smart-Detroit has helped several small businesses achieve the type of growth they couldn’t achieve through the traditional office lease.
Lisa Valley Smith, CEO and co-founder of Airfoil Public Relations, was one of Smart-Detroit’s early tenants. She and fellow co-founder Janet Tyler launched their company with five employees in late summer 2000, and were up and running in six weeks time.

“It was important for us to find a full-service office space that could accommodate us immediately and help us accelerate our establishment,” Smith explained. “The technology and infrastructure was kind of plug-n-play and gave us access to equipment and resources that, at the time, we didn’t have the money to afford ourselves.”

Airfoil has since grown to18 employees and eventually moved to bigger offices at 1001 Woodward Avenue, but still borrows Smart-Detroit’s overhead projector from time to time.

Xede Consulting Group, Inc. was another early client that leased a small office until their operations required more space. When that happened, they moved to another floor in Penobscot where they could still maintain a downtown presence while still leveraging the resources of Smart-Detroit.

“The Penobscot building not only provides us with that proximity, but also provides access to Smart-Detroit's state-of-the-art office suite and conferencing center that both facilitates our business plans and serves as a showcase for the changes that are taking place in Detroit,” according to company officials.

Detroit Auto Scene

By Antonio Vasquez

Staff Writer

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