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Cities Turn To Memphis For Innovation Inspiration

Programs like MEMFix helped transform Broad Ave., and that's what's making other cities around the world take notice.
Cities Turn To Memphis For Innovation Inspiration_20160326010707

Bloomberg Philanthropies has invited 19 cities to the Bluff City next week to learn about the success of some local innovative programs like MEMShop and MEMFix.

Bloomberg Philanthropies is the charitable organization of New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg.

Programs like MEMFix helped transform Broad Ave., and that’s what’s making other cities around the world take notice.

Jim Steffen’s Bikesmith shop in Binghampton started with help of the city program MEMMobile.

“The money from that made it possible to buy a good truck and get it designed and outfitted and look great,” said Steffens.                        

Other cities are hoping to replicate that success.

“Everybody from neighbors as close as Atlanta, Louisville to Jersey City, Long Beach, Seattle but also TelAviv,” said Innovate Memphis Director Justin Entzminger.

What do these cities have in common?

Entzminger says all of them hope to learn something from Memphis.

Programs like MEMFix and MEMShop show how a little bit of elbow grease can make a business community flourish.

“Then we also did an economic vitality program which included MEMshop MEMfix and MEMobile. That’s really been something other cities are looking to, and we’re excited to show off when they come to town,” said Entzminger.

Reps from cities like Seattle also hope to gain some insight on how Memphis leaders are working to keep guns out of the hands of young people.

“We were one of the first cities to take on youth gun violence with our Memphis Gun Down program. There are some cities coming to specifically learn about that,” explained Entzminger.

As for Steffen, he says civic innovation wheeled him to the next level.

“Memphis is doing some awesome things with innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Steffen.