Motor City Match is Bringing Business Growth to Detroit’s Neighborhoods

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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.

 

Michael Forsyth

Director of Small Business Programs

Link Detroit Receives American Public Works Association Award

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The Michigan Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) recently recognized Link Detroit as its Project of the Year in the category of quality of life, $5 million to $25 million. Link Detroit created and enhanced an accessible network of routes for cyclists and pedestrians between major destinations like Eastern Market, Hamtramck, Midtown, the Dequindre Cut and the Detroit Riverfront. The project now moves to the APWA National competition.

Link Detroit will host a grand opening celebration of the project for the community all day Saturday, April 30, on Wilkins Street Plaza on the Dequindre Cut Extension. The celebration will feature early morning yoga, an early morning boot camp workout, face painting and crafts for children, food trucks, performances on stage by community groups, and other entertainment.

Key components of Link Detroit are:

  • the extension of the Dequindre Cut from Gratiot to Mack Avenue;
  • additional bike lanes from the end of the Dequindre Cut to Hamtramck;
  • bridge improvements over the Dequindre Cut;
  • additional bike lanes and a Midtown Loop path connection from Eastern Market to Midtown; and
  • bike lanes and streetscape enhancements on Russell Street in Eastern Market.

The funding partners of Link Detroit included the City of Detroit, Eastern Market Corporation, Midtown Inc., and Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Kresge Foundation, the Michigan Department of Transportation, Michigan State Housing Development Authority and Federal Highway Administration. Detroit Economic Growth Corporation provided assistance for the project management for the City of Detroit Department of Public Works.

SmithGroupJJR was the project architect. Angelo Iafrate Construction Company constructed improvements on the project at the direction of the Detroit Department of Public Works and the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Adrienne Zeigler

Program Manager

D2D Buyer Ready Business: Detroit Training Center – Marcus Jones, Director

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The Detroit Training Center (DTC) mission is to provide adults with the knowledge, tools and skills they need to bring value to their communities, families and themselves. As a vocational training school in construction equipment, truck driving, lead abatement, and other similar

D2D Buyer Ready Business Detroit Training Center_MarcusJones_2careers, DTC works with contractors, for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations to connect graduates with job opportunities in metro Detroit. DTC Founder and Director Marcus Jones and fellow Founder Patrick Beal started the company in 2012. It has helped more than 1,500 Detroiters to date.

What is the history and background of Detroit Training Center?

Patrick and I noticed there was a gap in skilled workers in Detroit. For example, Patrick is a former demolition contractor in asbestos abatement and noticed there weren’t enough people to assist him on various job sites. Together we realized that with the proper training, unemployed people could become successful in various industries and earn good starting salaries.

What is Detroit Training Center’s culture?

Our team of ten work collaboratively and are focused on the same mission: rebuilding Detroit one Detroiter at a time. By helping local Detroiters get careers, learn highly competitive skills, understand soft skills and more, we are ultimately helping rebuild Detroit. In essence, our culture is to empower our students to be directly involved in the revitalization of the city.

Why did Detroit Training Center select Detroit as its headquarters?

I have a degree from the University of Michigan in Urban Planning, with a focus on Neighborhood Redevelopment and Environmental Planning. A city can’t reinvent itself if there aren’t workers to fill jobs. We selected Detroit as our headquarters to help it, and its citizens, grow.  

What companies have you collaborated with in Detroit?

We’ve worked with a number of different Detroit companies, including Reclaim Detroit, DMC Consultants, EKS Services and BG Aluminum to name a few, and all have hired some of our graduates. All three of those relationships came about from our involvement with D2D.

Another Detroit relationship we have is with Alta Construction Equipment Rentals. The organization supports our heavy equipment program and diesel mechanic program, and has provided space for our new facility.

What are the benefits of connecting with other Detroit businesses?

The support from our fellow Detroit businesses has been incredible; people really believe in our mission. We have received such a warm welcome from businesses that are open to having our students on various campuses, working along with the local community. There are endless benefits to connecting with other Detroit businesses.

 

Brian Watkins

D2D Program Manager

 

City of Detroit, DEGC Seek Developer for Food Accelerator Facility

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The City of Detroit Planning Department, in collaboration with DEGC, is currently accepting proposals from qualified teams to renovate and develop a city-owned site to provide an innovative, multi-tenant approach to food production and food processing in Detroit’s Eastern Market.

The Market is one of the largest historic public market districts in the United States, and it has become an epicenter for local farm-to-table and other innovative food-related projects.

The City and DEGC intend to retain an experienced and qualified developer or partnership to offer an exciting and feasible plan to develop a 104,000 square foot, vacant, concrete and brick structure on a 6.2-acre site adjacent to the Market. The property is generally bounded by Hale, Orleans, Erskine and Riopelle Streets.

The site will be developed as Detroit’s Regional Food Accelerator, attracting marketgoers with a curated, food-related tenant mix and transparent building design that will offer the public a new interactive experience with the food production process.

As part of the plan, 15,000 sq. ft. of the overall 104,000 sq. ft. building will be managed by Eastern Market Corporation to lease or condo sale, in order to accelerate the growth of small- to medium-sized emerging food businesses by providing ready-to-occupy spaces for companies that need to quickly expand their production capacity.

The complete Detroit Regional Food Accelerator RFP can be downloaded on the DEGC website. The submission deadline is April 29, 2016.

Questions about the project details should be addressed to Catherine L. Frazier, DEGC’s development manager at (313) 237- 4609 or cfrazier@degc.org.