Detroit Regional Chamber > Detroit Policy Conference > John Hope Bryant: Detroit Must Make Smart ‘Sexy’ Again

John Hope Bryant: Detroit Must Make Smart ‘Sexy’ Again

March 1, 2016

Raising entrepreneurial energy and empowering underserved communities with financial literacy is a key next step for Detroit’s revitalization, according to Operation HOPE CEO John Hope Bryant. Delivering an impactful keynote address, Bryant stressed the importance of positive role models in neighborhoods and classrooms who can play a large part in raising credit scores through early financial literacy intervention.

“We need to make smart ‘sexy’ again,” Bryant said, adding that Detroit can create a new class of entrepreneur and hundreds of new businesses by connecting youths and adults with the resources they need to succeed.

“I see a Steve Jobs on every block,” he said. “Neighborhood by neighborhood we need role models who encourage our kids to start a business because that commitment is an immunity to failure.”

Bryant, one of the foremost global voices for financial equity and education, built on his 2015 Mackinac Policy Conference keynote by calling on the business community to take a leadership role in building up neighborhoods through sponsoring internships and financial education programs or partnering with his organization to open HOPE Inside financial literacy centers throughout the city.

Bryant said his goal is to open 100 centers in Detroit by 2020. As part of the 2015 Mackinac Policy Conference To-Do List, the Chamber is partnering with Bryant to reach this goal.

“I see untapped, unassessed potential in Detroit and when you have positive role models and a positive environment, you have aspiration,” he said.

Bryant said he believes poverty is a direct result of negative role models and lack of confidence and/or aspirations.

“The most dangerous person is someone with no hope,” he said.