As the executive director of the New Economy Initiative (NEI), she has led the way in promoting inclusive entrepreneurship and small business development in the Southeast Michigan region. In this article, we will take a closer look at her impressive career and the impact she has made on the community.
Wafa Dinaro’s career in economic development began when she worked as the deputy director of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). There, she played a key role in developing and implementing economic development initiatives across the state of Michigan.
After leaving the MEDC, Wafa served as the director of economic development for Wayne County, Michigan. In this role, she oversaw the county’s economic development initiatives, including business attraction, retention and expansion programs, and support for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
At the NEI, Wafa leads the organization’s program and grantmaking activities, promoting inclusive entrepreneurship and supporting small business development. She is also responsible for cultivating public support for entrepreneurship-based initiatives in the Southeast Michigan region.
Throughout her career, Wafa has held a variety of positions in both the private and public sectors. Her professional background includes project management, community development, strategic planning, and communication. She has also worked in diplomatic roles, leading operations for the Department of Defense while assigned to Defense Attache Offices in U.S Embassies around the world.
Wafa is known for her ability to develop partnerships between businesses and governments, a skill that has been invaluable in her work promoting economic development and entrepreneurship in Michigan.
The New Economy Initiative is a project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, aimed at promoting inclusive entrepreneurship and supporting small business development in the region. Since its inception in 2007, the NEI has invested over $100 million in grants and support services for entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Under Wafa’s leadership, the NEI has continued to prioritize inclusive entrepreneurship and support for underrepresented communities, including women, people of color, and immigrants. The organization’s programs and initiatives are designed to provide access to resources, training, and funding for entrepreneurs who may face barriers to starting and growing their businesses.
One of the NEI’s flagship programs is the NEIdeas Challenge, a business plan competition that awards grants to entrepreneurs in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park. The program has awarded over $2.5 million in grants to over 180 businesses since its inception in 2014.
Under Wafa’s leadership, the NEI has made a significant impact on the Southeast Michigan region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The organization’s focus on inclusive entrepreneurship and support for underrepresented communities has helped to create a more diverse and equitable business landscape in the region.
Looking to the future, the NEI is poised to continue its work promoting entrepreneurship and small business development in Southeast Michigan.
All rights reserved.