Mary Murray introduced her dear friend and our speaker today, Larry Wright (shown here with President Nate), Past District Governor, member of the Taylor Rotary Club and the founding member of the very successful Launch Detroit Campaign. He is the owner of Wright’s Landscape Services in Brownstown, Michigan, He and his wife, Sarah, have been extremely active in their club and district levels. About one year ago, Mary said, Larry was one of six people in the world who was recognized in New York by the United Nations for Launch Detroit!


Larry began by saying that it was great to be back in Adrian after so many years and that we had a dynamic club and that “one of his favorite people” besides Mark and Mary, was Dave Maxwell who was club president in the 95-96 year when he was District Governor. "Dave and the Adrian Rotary Club came through in a big way donating money to the RI Foundation that year to reach their goal!"


Larry began his presentation of Launch Detroit by showing a brief video highlighting the various individuals who got involved in the program and started their own successful businesses in the greater Detroit area, they very city that filed for bankruptcy six years ago and they year Launch Detroit was birthed! Ideas, he said, actually came from what the Grameen Foundation was doing in Bangladesh with micro lending.


A committee was formed to discuss doing it in the US. While the money is important to prospective entrepreneurs, Larry said, even more important to them was education and training. The four legs of the Launch Detroit the committee decided were: Small Business Classes, Micro Loans (up to $2,500 at 5%) Mentoring, and Networking. Funding for Launch Detroit has come in part from organizations like Baker College, the Michigan Women’s Foundation, Presbytery of Detroit and Level One Bank.


Attending the district’s first Small Business class, Larry said, were 13 budding entrepreneurs. They have recently partnered with Wayne State University’s Mike Illitch School of Business. The program continues to grow thanks to Larry’s leadership and his committee! Larry stayed after the meeting to meet with others in attendance to discuss how our club might want to get involved or do something similar.