MDI’s history is rooted in a white paper developed by the Global Capital Group, LLC (an entrepreneurship and economic development consulting firm serving the greater Milwaukee area) in 2013 entitled “Manufacturing Diversity Institute White Paper.” The paper served as a follow-up initiative to a pilot project funded in 2011-2013 by the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

The initiative was led by Dr. Keenan D. Grenell, one of GCG’s partners and it focused on engaging large African-American faith based entities into economic development corporation strategic planning and planning for new light manufacturing businesses. The pilot produced the formation of the Destiny Electronics Center (DEC), a minority owned electronic circuit board manufacturing company located in Milwaukee. It also generated a business plan for an innovation commercial kitchen to develop compliant recipes and manufacture pilot-scale volumes for start-up food enterprises.
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