Driving Managed Services Into Detroit

When people mention the city of Detroit to me, I think of struggling car companies and Thanksgiving football. But for Cbeyond, a managed service provider and Cisco Systems partner, Detroit represents a growing business opportunity. Cbeyond expects to employ roughly 100 people in the Detroit area by the end of this year as it seeks more small business customers for its IP telephony services. Equally important, Cbeyond has found creative ways to publicize its expertise. Here's a look.

Indeed, Cbeyond knows a thing or two about generating publicity. In order to raise its profile, Cbeyond is hosting a "launch event" this week in Detroit that will feature 100 small business and community leaders, including Michigan Economic Development CEO James Epolito, Farmington Hills Mayor Vicki Barnett, Cisco Senior VP Bob Gault and Oakland County Deputy Executive Dennis Toffolo.

Oakland County's participation is of particular note. MuniWireless.com has frequently covered the county's use of municipal broadband networks to enhance public safety. I'm curious to see if Cbeyond finds a way to integrate with the county's WiFi network while offering IP services to local businesses.

Cbeyond has about 31,000 small business customers across the US. And while many observers associate Detroit with the auto industry, the city has more than 51,000 small businesses, ranking it among the top 11 cities in terms of its small business population, according to Cbeyond.

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