D2D Celebrates a Year of Program Growth


DEGC’s D2D program connects Detroit companies as buyers and suppliers — across all sizes of companies and industries. The program kicked off in 2013 and has made great strides in the last year — D2D’s buyer council institutions have increased their collective local spend by approximately 47%. That is over $810 million spent with other Detroit companies. D2D has also increased their supplier network to over 1,500 Detroit-based businesses. The D2D team actively engages these suppliers and helps direct them to available opportunities. They are also assisting these suppliers in becoming “buyer ready” through targeted capacity building workshops and informational sessions.

With all that success, celebrations were in order. In late October D2D held its second annual celebratory event at the Greektown Casino and Hotel. Attendees enjoyed drinks, appetizers and a live jazz band while networking with other companies in the program.

After networking buyers and suppliers heard from speakers, including DEGC Vice President of Business Development Olga Stella, DEGC Business Development Manager Brian Watkins and New Economy Initiative (NEI) Senior Program Officer, Donald Jones. NEI is a large funder for the D2D program. Each of the speakers highlighted the astounding accomplishments of the D2D program since the last celebration.

The program also included testimonials from a D2D supplier, President and CEO of Walker-Miller Energy, Carla Walker-Miller, and D2D Buyer Council member, Assistant Vice-President Procurement and Strategic Sourcing of Wayne State University, Kenneth Doherty. They each shared how the program has benefited their respective companies.

To better assist construction firms, one of our primary targets over the last year, the D2D team began hosting Pre-Rehabilitation Opportunity Sessions (PROS). These sessions connected developers to Detroit-based contractors interested in renovation, rehabilitation and redevelopment projects in the city. To date D2D has conducted five PROS events, presenting 12 development projects with an expected investment in the city of $65 million.

D2D is modeled after the Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) program. PMBC promotes all Michigan businesses to collaborate, and D2D concentrates that idea by promoting Detroit businesses to work with one another.

If you’re interested in getting involved in the D2D program please visit www.d2dbusiness.org.

Tiffini D. Smith
Director of Corporate Communications

Commerce Department Grant Funds Strategy to Revitalize Mt. Elliott District


The City of Detroit and the Detroit Economic Growth Association (DEGA) have set their sites on proving there is no such thing as a “post-industrial Detroit,” because industry has not left Detroit and won’t be going away any time soon. Perhaps old ways of building things are gone, but the City and DEGC have earned a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) to develop a comprehensive strategy to revitalize the Mt. Elliott Employment District – the largest single industrial corridor in the city – as the center for a rejuvenated manufacturing cluster for Detroit.

“Revitalizing Mt. Elliott will help us achieve two elements critical to Detroit’s success: new jobs, particularly in areas that are accessible by the existing workforce, and a stronger tax base as a result of new business,” said DEGC CEO Rod Miller.

The EDA grant will be used to develop a detailed, multi-faceted plan, following the Detroit Future City Strategic Framework’s place-based strategy for economic growth that aligns public, private and philanthropic investments in employment districts.

The plan will cover infrastructure improvements; land assembly and site development; transportation and workforce amenities; marketing for business attraction; sustainability; and public engagement.

The project will kick off early next year and will run through the first quarter of 2016. Once consultants are identified through an RFP process, the project will consist of four phases: gathering data; analyzing, developing and presenting key findings and opportunities; visioning and strategy development; and strategy refinement and finalization.

“Upgrading Mt. Elliott into an attractive industrial area will reinforce our region’s role as a global hub for manufacturing,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. We agree.

Malik R. Goodwin
Vice President, Project Management

Activate 1417 Winner Paramita Sound Opens


As they say, what’s old is what’s new again — so perhaps it should not be a surprise that a store selling vinyl records is the latest retail addition to the Detroit’s historic West Village. Paramita Sound, winner of REVOLVE Detroit’s West Village Activate 1417 pop-up contest, opened on October 25, at 1417 Van Dyke. The owner is local entrepreneur and West Village resident Andrey Douthard.

Unlike other record stores Paramita Sound offers records that feature current artists.

The pop-up sells these newer and classic vinyl records in addition to music-related books, turntables, headphones and vinyl accessories ranging from record sleeves to needles. In the spring of 2015 Paramita Sound hopes to add a beer and wine bar to the store for customers to enjoy.

Andrey is a great example of a Detroiter who is taking advantage of all the resources offered to entrepreneurs. In working with D:hive, TechTown, Practice Space, The Villages Community Development Corporation, and REVOLVE among others, Andrey is achieving his goals.

Andrey’s achievement also received important support from MGM Grand Detroit’s Touching Communities, Touching Lives™ program, which provided a grant to open Paramita Sound. The $10,000 grant helped fund building improvements, store fixtures, sound equipment and marketing.

The West Village is an exciting area that is quickly developing with great permanent and pop-up entrepreneurial businesses. It shows the power of collaboration among committed business and building owners and the growing network of organizations that are helping them.

Michael Forsyth

Program Manager, REVOLVE Detroit

Biz Grid Live Connects Entrepreneurs, Business Resources


Detroit entrepreneurs had the opportunity last month at the second-annual “BizGrid Live!” to connect with more than 30 organizations that provide business assistance. The BizGrid is an infographic which helps Detroit entrepreneurs navigate the organizations that provide resources, including business planning and strategy, real estate assistance, funding, co-working spaces and more. BizGrid Live! was a chance for everyone to meet in person.

The event featured four interactive breakout sessions: Designing and Developing Your Idea; Growing Your Neighborhood Business; Building Your Team; and Designing and Making Your Product. These panel discussions included staff from BizGrid organizations as well as small business owners. A resource fair and a networking hour also were included, and Jacques Panis, President of Shinola, was the keynote speaker. More than 300 people attended the free event at McGregor Memorial Conference Center at Wayne State University.

There are a wealth of resources available to small businesses in Detroit. Events like BizGrid Live! are designed to make it as easy as possible for business owners to connect with those resources.

Spencer Olinek
Business Development Manager

NEIdeas rewards 30 “been-up” businesses with $10,000 grants


A clothing design studio will buy an industrial sewing machine, an urban farm will buy land for Detroit’s first vineyard, a barber shop will buy equipment to start sharpening and repairing hair clippers, and so it goes for 27 other small Detroit businesses whose business plans earned them $10,000 grants from the New Economy Initiative.

A total of 600 Detroit companies based in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park, all in business for at least three years, applied for the first NEIdeas grants. The two-tiered challenge offered a total of $500,000 in cash rewards: $10,000 for 30 businesses grossing under $1 million annually and $100,000 for two businesses that gross between $1 and $5 million annually. The $100k challenge winners will be announced later this month.

“Small businesses and entrepreneurs have been crucial to our city for many decades – from paying taxes, to hiring local employees and being anchors for their neighborhoods,” said David O. Egner, NEI Executive Director.

“Growing small businesses in Detroit is central to our administration’s strategy for building our economic base and creating employment opportunities for Detroiters,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “We appreciate the New Economy Initiative for being such a great partner in Detroit’s revitalization.”

NEIdeas was operated in partnership with DEGC. We conducted an outreach program that featured more than two dozen “Ambassador” organizations and institutions throughout all three cities that provided small businesses with information and guidance throughout the application process. We also managed the juried selection process.

“This landmark challenge provided a nice boost to our work with small businesses throughout the city,” added Rodrick T. Miller, president and CEO, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. “NEIdeas gave us the opportunity to connect more companies to all the forms of assistance we can provide, and in that respect it made every applicant a winner.

A full listing of the winners can be found online at: http://neideasdetroit.org/10k-winners/

Spencer Olinek
Business Development Manager