Initiative for

William Davidson Foundation Initiative for Entrepreneurship

The Henry Ford has been passionate about the entrepreneurial spirit throughout our 90 years, and today we’re leveraging the assets of the Archive of American Innovation to inspire future and current entrepreneurs at every stage.

With support from the William Davidson Foundation, we foster creativity, community, perseverance, disruption and the myriad habits and actions that build entrepreneurial success. Join us as we introduce entrepreneurs-in-residence, guest speakers, workshops and youth programming that intersect with our collections to create a deep and engaging understanding of entrepreneurship.


Join us for a deep-dive into the journey of a dreamer and doer. Learn with us as our resident entrepreneur grows through challenges, creates new models and balances success and ideals.

Melvin Parson

Melvin Parson, We the People Growers Association (WTPGA)

Residency Themes: Social Transformation and Agriculture and the Environment

Timeframe: January-July 2019

Farmer Parson is the founder of We the People Growers Association (WTPGA) in Ypsilanti, Michigan. WTPGA is a sustainable farming initiative dedicated to workforce development by creating dignified employment and training for men and women returning from incarceration. It also engages in agriculture education with Ypsilanti youth.

Richard Sheridan 

Richard Sheridan, Menlo Innovations

Residency Themes: Information and Communications, Design and Making

Timeframe: July-January 2019

Richard Sheridan is the co-founder and CEO of Menlo Innovations in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is an entrepreneur, author, and software engineer and designer. Sheridan co-founded Menlo Innovations in 2001 to develop world-class software and combat the chaotic nature of the technology industry through an innovative approach to cultivating an enjoyable work environment.


Jessica Robinson, Detroit Mobility Lab, Michigan Mobility Institute, Assembly Ventures

Residency Themes: Power & Energy, Mobility

Timeframe: February-August 2020

Jessica Robinson is the co-founder of the Detroit Mobility Lab, Michigan Mobility Institute, and Assembly Ventures in Detroit, Michigan. With dramatic new transportation technologies on the horizon, Robinson encourages technological education and understanding for the benefit of our increasingly mobile society. Through Assembly Ventures, Robinson invests in entrepreneurs who are shaping the future of mobility.

Speaker Series

Take an exclusive look inside the expertise of startups, social enterprises, small businesses and big visions. With our mandate to drive future and current disruptors and innovators, we’ve slated powerful speakers to share their habits and actions and, most importantly, their stories.

Yancey Strickler 

Yancey Strickler - Writer, World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and the co-founder and former CEO of Kickstarter

On November 21, 2019 dive into the bold vision of co-founder and former Kickstarter CEO Yancey Strickler to examine how recalibrating our definition of value allows us to build a society that’s ready for the future.


Ready to build your own entrepreneurial skills? With learning-by-doing exercises and insight, our invitation-only workshops catalyze The Henry Ford’s world-renowned resources in American innovation. Explore the process of our extraordinary residents and find practical guidance honed from our century-long acquaintance with the American entrepreneur. * 

*These workshops have limited seating and are invite-only, so please contact the Coordinator of the Initiative for Entrepreneurship if interested in attending.   

Youth Programming

Innovators aren’t born. They are nurtured, challenged and championed. The William Davidson Foundation Initiative for Entrepreneurship is purpose-built to do all of this. We have defined a pillar to keep our youngest entrepreneurs at front of mind. Jump Start Scholarships will get as many young hands and minds as possible into the Michigan Invention Convention and Invention Convention Worldwide.