FROM: Glen W. Long, Jr., Chief Financial Officer, Interim President & CEO
DEGC’s marquee programs for Detroit small businesses — Motor City Match and Motor City Re-Store — are grabbing some great headlines, but they are just part of the array of resources DEGC can draw on to help small businesses succeed in our city.
Recently, we were able to provide Red Dunn Kitchen with gap financing — in partnership with its senior lenders — from a small pool of funds we have available from a federal grant for loans to small businesses. We also helped the owners of The Inn at 97 Winder qualify for property tax exemptions under the Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (OPRA).
Currently, we’re working with a group of people to provide a small business loan and a tax abatement incentive that they can use with their equity to fund their start-up, and yes, we are working with the owner of Henry the Hatter as that business considers moving to a new location.
Small businesses in neighborhoods across the city are an important part of the fabric of their communities. We’re adding staff in order to keep up with demand. At DEGC, we work hard every day to find ways to support small businesses as they open and grow in Detroit.
FROM: Peter Chapman, Executive Vice President, Business Development
One of the strategies we use to help achieve our goal of attracting jobs and capital investment to Detroit is to engage with site selectors, the consultants who advise corporations where to locate or expand their operations. Recently DEGC Business Development hosted its inaugural “Detroit Immersion: A Site Selector Forum” for site selectors from cities around the country, including Dallas, New York, San Antonio, Omaha, Atlanta, and Tampa.
We wanted to start to change their perceptions about Detroit, and give them encouragement and comfort in referring their clients to us, so we decided to invite them to our city to hear from businesses that have made an investment here, like Shinola Detroit, Sakthi Automotive Group, Ilitch Holdings, Adient, and Quicken Loans. We also provided them with critical data about Detroit in this piece, “Detroit is on the Rise.”
Site selectors represent both domestic and international companies and can have critical influence in the world of corporate relocation. We plan to hold our next Detroit Immersion in the fall for a different group of site selectors.
Another strategy we’re implementing to help expand the local job base is helping local companies export goods and services more aggressively and strategically overseas. The recent Alibaba Gateway ’17 event at Cobo Center was designed to increase local awareness of the trade opportunities in China for small and medium-sized Detroit businesses. We were successful in encouraging local companies to participate in that forum, and we’ll continue to engage in conversations with Alibaba as we seek to build a strong export program for Detroiters.