Accelerator, ignored by governments, churns out jobs in jobless capital

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Windsor Star/Doug Schmidt

Jen Levitt and Michael Hoppe can barely contain their youthful excitement as they describe a new joint enterprise they’ve formed at the Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator.

“Look, we just got two cheques,” said Hoppe, waving what the mailman had just delivered to their small new office inside the local entrepreneurial incubator. “It feels really great.”

Levitt, 31, and Hoppe, 26, met while studying architecture at St. Clair College. He formed an architectural design firm called Siren; she began her own company, Precision Drafting, which is also involved in conceptual building design, and the two have formed a partnership.

“We’re aggressive, we’re young, and we’re coming into the game with a lot of fresh ideas,” said Hoppe.

It was only last year the two former classmates spoke of joining forces. As of Tuesday, they have their own office and 17 projects on the go, including a “tech centre redevelopment” they predict will make a big splash on the Windsor scene.

Both started from home, and both said they’d be nowhere near the point they’re at today without the Accelerator’s help, the confidence-boosting support and professional mentorship it provides. They even hope to start hiring other people this year.

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