Startup Program for International Founders Launched at CCS

October 18, 2022
various people sitting at desks while working and talking at a community event

First CCS Global Entrepreneurs in Residence team offers a new realm of information for corporate HR.

The College for Creative Studies (CCS) recently became the third Michigan university to partner with Global Detroit to help immigrant and international entrepreneurs launch high-growth startups in Southeast Michigan. Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence (Global EIR) places foreign-born startup founders at universities to teach and mentor. The founders, in turn, become eligible for an H-1B visa, enabling them to launch and grow their company in metro Detroit. 

“The College for Creative Studies has a longstanding reputation of partnering with companies across many industries, from consumer products, health care, tech, manufacturing, to real estate development and more.” noted Olga Stella, Vice President of Strategy and Communication at CCS. “The Global EIR program is another opportunity to support entrepreneurs and connect them to the creative talent at CCS.”

CCS’ Office of Partnerships is working with Miho Shoji and Alfredo Jaldin from Japan and Bolivia, leveraging their business experience to conduct industry research that can help expand CCS’ base of industry partners. Shoji and Jaldin, both with extensive business and startup experience in Bolivia, Chile and New York City, will advise on outreach strategies to reach new industry partners and will assist in developing content to conduct classroom presentations on relevant industry or entrepreneurial topics that connect to their area of expertise.

Shoji and Jaldin are co-founders of Moodbit, a startup which uses real-time Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to build morale and increase productivity in the workplace through employee engagement. Founded in 2018, Moodbit serves more than 200 small and medium-sized businesses and Fortune 500 companies. Moodbit has raised over $500,000 in venture capital.

“Global EIR is a critical component of a forward-thinking, sustainable economic development strategy for Michigan,” said Ernestine Lyons, Global EIR program manager at Global Detroit. Over the last 25 years, immigrants have helped launch one-quarter of all the high-tech startups in the U.S. and approximately half of the startups in Silicon Valley. Of the 582 startups in the U.S. that had grown to valuations over $1 billion by 2019, more than half (55 percent) were launched by immigrants, including 143 startups by founders who originally came to the U.S. as international students (25 percent of the total). However, obtaining a visa is a major challenge facing international entrepreneurs who want to start a business in the United States.

Global EIR solves this problem by placing foreign-born startup founders in part-time university positions, drawing upon their unique skills and talents to support university centers of innovation, to teach and/or mentor. These university positions are eligible for an uncapped H-1B visa, enabling them to launch and grow their company in the U.S. 

“We are so excited to join the startup ecosystem in Detroit and across Southeast Michigan,” states Shoji, a serial entrepreneur with more than a decade of experience in people analytics, corporate communications and human resources technological development. “CCS and Detroit’s design industry’s depth are hidden gems that we’ve been so excited to explore and build new relationships. Without the Global EIR program, Global Detroit and CCS, we would never have these opportunities.”

In addition to the extensive industry relationships within CCS’s Office of Partnerships, Moodbit is also benefiting from Design Core Detroit’s extensive experience in Detroit’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Part of CCS, Design Core works to support the growth of design-based business and other entrepreneurs seeking design solutions.

The first Global EIR programs were launched in Massachusetts in 2014, with programs at Babson College and the University of Massachusetts-Boston. Global Detroit launched its Global EIR program in 2018 in partnership with the University of Michigan’s Economic Growth Institute, with substantial funding from the William Davidson Foundation. A June 2022 outside evaluation of Global Detroit’s Global EIR program by Growth Capital Networks found that the program had supported seven founders from six companies. To date, the program’s participants have raised $15.6 million in venture capital and created 49 part-time and full-time jobs. Four of these founders have completed their Global EIR programs and all have received longer-term visas and are working full-time in their companies.

For more information, visit


About The College for Creative Studies

Located in the heart of Detroit, the College for Creative Studies (CCS) is a world-class institution that educates artists and designers to be leaders in the creative professions. A private, fully accredited college, CCS enrolls more than 1,400 students pursuing Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in 13 major areas as well as Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degrees in seven unique fields of study.

CCS also supports students, community, corporate and non-profit partners through the Office of Partnerships, which brings together external partners and the CCS community through meaningful projects and initiatives in order to prepare all students for successful and sustainable creative practice and support CCS strategic initiatives.

Design Core Detroit, a department within CCS, champions design-driven businesses and their role in strengthening Detroit’s economy. It offers services to strengthen, grow and attract design businesses, increases market demand for design services, and tells Detroit’s design story locally and globally. In addition, Design Core stewards Detroit’s UNESCO City of Design designation.

Global Detroit is a regional economic development organization that develops and implements immigrant-inclusive policies, practices and programs to drive the revitalization of Detroit and the sustained prosperity of Southeast Michigan. 

Orange Global Detroit Logo
Black Design Core Detroit Logo