Entrepreneur in Residence

1:1 mentorship, coaching, and support for aspiring, growing, and mature business owners to help navigate local and statewide resources and programs.


Velocity is the gateway for all things entrepreneurship in Macomb county–collaborating with partners across Michigan to foster growth and innovation.

About the program

Velocity’s Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program is designed to serve aspiring businesspeople–whether in the ideation phase, start-up phase, or have been operating for 20 years–with the right resources and programs that meet their business objectives.

Participants will attend three 45-minute sessions with our EIR, Rachele Downs, free of charge, and will leave with:

  • an understanding of where to develop or refine their strategic plan
  • various funding options available to them
  • access into Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem

To receive additional coaching, participants will apply to be part of Velocity’s Accelerator program.

Velocity office space

Program & Resource Navigation

  • Organizational Development
  • Strategic Planning
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Manufacturing and Technical Assistance
  • Technology: Infrastructure, Cybersecurity
  • Access to capital through grants, angel investors, and venture capital
  • Business Succession Planning
People having a meeting
Rachele Downs Headshot

Our Entrepreneur in Residence

Rachele Downs

Rachele Downs is the founder of Downs Diversity Initiatives, an economic and community development consultancy specializing in diversity, equity, and inclusion in real estate, entrepreneurship, and workforce development.

An innovative business owner and executive with over 20 years of representing institutional, corporate, government, and philanthropic entities, Downs previously led inGAGE™, the MEDC’s strategy to position Michigan as the Midwest hub for high-growth women entrepreneurs where she designed, developed, and directed this comprehensive entrepreneurial support platform to support women who have gone on to create 38 new companies, create more than 250 new jobs, and receive 29 new patents. During her tenure, inGAGE™ entrepreneurs raised over $36M in new capital.

Rachele is a veteran commercial real estate broker with Dominion Real Estate Advisors, a past president of CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Detroit, and was the founding Program Manager for Wayne State University’s Detroit Revitalization Fellows, where she designed, developed, and directed the innovative $3M pilot program to increase the capacity of economic and community development organizations at the forefront of Detroit’s revitalization.

Passionate about strengthening community access to resources in the community and economic development, Rachele utilizes her skills, experience, and sphere of influence to help others realize their full potential through professional and personal mentoring, coaching and connections. Downs holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration and Community Development, and a Master of Arts in Professional and School Counseling from Central Michigan University.

Interested in this program?