Forward Cities Initiative, Promoting Urban Innovation Nationally, Launches out of New Orleans BioInnovation Center

Forward CitiesThe brand new Forward Cities Initiative is bringing together leaders from Detroit, Cleveland, Durham and New Orleans this week at the BioInnovation Center to discuss promoting urban innovation. The meeting in New Orleans, which has been going on for the last two days, is about how the cities can increase entrepreneurship in under-developed commercial corridors.

The primary goals of the initiative include:

  • bolstering the economic and community vitality of targeted neighborhoods within each participating city through increased entrepreneurial and small business activity and connectivity;
  • fostering best practice sharing, relationship building, and entrepreneurial activity between the participating cities; and
  • serving as a dynamic knowledge resource/model for other cities that are looking to extend the diversity and inclusivity of their innovation ecosystems.

The leaders from all of the participating cities will meet in each of the cities over the next two years– Detroit in Spring 2015, Cleveland in Fall 2015, and Durham in Spring 2016– to the multi-day learning, sharing, and planning.

“It’s an ambitious effort” says Christopher Gergen, co-founder of Forward Cities, “but too many communities are being left behind in the innovation economy.”

During the gatherings, cities will hope to: 1) allow the host city to showcase its own innovation ecosystem; 2) establish relationships between like-minded innovators in respective participating cities; 3) share current strategies, models and visions for each city’s future community and economic development; and 4) explore ways to share this knowledge with other cities in the United States and beyond.

More information about Forward Cities can be found at