DETROIT -- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council are partnering with a Silicon Valley-based tech accelerator to open an innovation hub in downtown Detroit.
The automaker and nonprofit are working with Plug and Play tech center to open the hub by June, according to a Thursday statement. It will be called Plug and Play Detroit powered by AmplifyD, which stands for "Amplify: Diversity."
The hub will welcome "all technology startups, with an emphasis on those owned by women and minorities," the release said.
The location and size of the hub has not been decided, FCA spokesman Kevin Frazier said. FCA is a "founding partner" in the hub, which represents a "significant investment" for the company, he said. Financials were not disclosed.
In addition to FCA, other auto companies and corporate partners are expected to join the hub, the release said.
"The automotive industry is at the crossroads of digital transformation, where automated driving, connectivity, electrification, and shared mobility are reshaping the future of mobility," FCA's North American COO Mark Stewart said in the release. "The participation with Plug and Play Detroit powered by AmplifyD accelerates FCA's approach to research and development, providing immediate streamlined access to an ecosystem of hundreds of technology startups all with an emphasis on diversity, and with greater diversity, comes greater innovation."
FCA is investing about $2.5 billion at the Mack Avenue Engine Plant on Detroit's east side, which is expected to spur 4,950 new jobs in the city. The automaker announced in December a $1.8 million home repair program for residents near the plant, as part of its $35.2 million Community Benefits Agreement with Detroit.
The planned innovation hub is not part of the Community Benefits Agreement, Frazier said.
Plug and Play was founded in 2006 and operates 25 locations around the world. It has boosted more than 2,000 startups with help from 220 corporate partners and 300 venture capital partners, according to its website.
Founded in 1997, the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council aims to boost minority-owned businesses in Michigan and encourage multicultural business practices.
"Through this partnership, entrepreneurs will gain access to resources, mentoring, financing as well as physical space to research and develop future mobility technology," Michelle Robinson, CEO of the nonprofit, said in the release. "Such resources, in many cases, are not readily available for entrepreneurs, particularly women and minorities."