As Detroit continues to rebound, more efforts continue to be focused on bringing new businesses into the city’s neighborhoods. With that simple goal in mind, Motor City Match launched just over a year ago. The program aims to revitalize the city’s neighborhood commercial corridors by matching vacant commercial real estate with entrepreneurs who want to start or expand their business in Detroit.
Motor City Match helps businesses at every stage of the startup process – from idea to open. Someone with a strong business idea who lacks experience starting a business can receive free business planning classes. Qualified building owners searching for tenants will be listed on the Motor City Match website and receive free property assessments. Once a business finds the ideal location for their business, they are eligible to receive technical assistance to plan their buildout. And $500,000 in grant funding is available each quarter to help provide gap financing to help business owners finalize their space and open their doors.
The response to the program so far has been beyond expectations. Out of a total of more than 2,000 applicants, nearly 300 businesses and more than 180 properties spanning all corners of the city have received support through Motor City Match. Businesses range from coffee shops and bakeries to workforce training centers and manufacturing facilities. Two-thirds of Motor City Match winners hail from Detroit and nearly 70 percent of winning businesses are minority owned.
Award breakdowns for Round I, II and III applicants include:
- 149 won Business Plan awards for a free business planning course;
- 93 received Space awards, which help match businesses with vacant Detroit real estate and provide financial planning assistance;
- 20 received Design awards for architectural services and permitting assistance to get their location ready to open; and
- 29 won Cash grants between $10,000 and $100,000 to match their own investments and help cover funding gaps.
The program has awarded $1.5 million to winning applicants during the first three rounds of awards. That investment in turn has helped leverage some $10.5 million for investment into growing local neighborhood businesses. With nearly 100 businesses receiving some form of assistance each quarter, this number will continue to growth as Business Plan award winners move through the program and bring their ideas to reality in Detroit.
Director of Small Business Programs