Supporting Small Business in Detroit

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.

Business Development Hosts Site Selectors Forum

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.

DEGC Prepares To Go Green

FROM: Moddie Turay, Executive Vice President, Real Estate and Financial Services

The best way to prepare for the future is to properly plan for it. This is exactly what Detroit is doing when it comes to environmental progressive changes.

In November 2016, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Foundation approved a grant of $700,000 for the Detroit Economic Growth Association that will be used for a contractor training program to help property owners construct green infrastructure to manage storm water runoff and qualify for a credit towards their Detroit Water & Sewage Department drainage fee.

“These programs and initiatives are extremely important for attracting millennials to our city because of the growing need for environmental progression,” said Detroit Training Center President Marcus Jones.

The first training program ran between January and April this year with a total of 40 graduates.

The participants received 50 hours of training in subjects like construction techniques, elements of green infrastructure, maintenance training and field experience. All were Detroit-based contractors, ranging from landscape to plumbing to construction. Having undergone the green infrastructure training on how to properly install improvements, they will have a chance to bid on projects as opportunities arise.

“Implementing these programs will allow the city to spend less money for more sustainable and safe properties for Detroit homeowners,” said Patrick Beal, CEO, Detroit Training Center.

Not only will these programs create an opportunity for Detroit’s green initiatives, it will help create new employment opportunities as well as support businesses. By working with other Detroit organizations, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation will be able to help move the entire city forward.

DEGC Talks With Brookings Institution China Council About Detroit

Peter H. Chapman, executive vice president for business development

FROM: Peter Chapman, Executive Vice President, Business Development

Detroit’s international vision and investment opportunities were the topic of conversation when members of the DEGC Business Development team met with the Brookings China Council during their visit to the Motor City recently.

The Brookings China Council, as part of the Brookings Institution, conducts independent and original policy research on a wide range of contemporary policy issues regarding bilateral relations between China and the United States. Members of the Brookings China Council include distinguished international scholars and leading multinational technology executives.

We spoke to the Council about recent investments by Flex-N-Gate, Sakthi, and Microsoft, as well as the overall international investment context. We also discussed the impact of broad international issues on local trade and investment opportunities. The meeting was part of Business Development’s ongoing international engagement efforts to share and promote Detroit’s story of resurgence to a broader community of stakeholders.

New Motor City Re-Store to Boost Established Businesses

FROM: Glen W. Long, Jr., Chief Financial Officer, Interim President & CEO

I was so excited last week to see the Motor City Re-Store program announced in the neighborhood I grew up in, Old Redford. Re-Store is the newest element in the strong network of support that DEGC, along with Mayor Duggan’s office and other private, philanthropic, and non-profit organizations, is building for every kind of small business in every phase of growth. The aim of Motor City Re-Store is to strengthen Detroit’s neighborhood commercial corridors and the existing businesses that have helped define them.

We recognize successful small businesses are significant job creators and strong contributors to the quality of life in our neighborhoods. In Old Redford, we’re lucky to have long-time businesses such as Paul the Barber and the Old Redford Theatre joined by newer stores like Sweet Potato Sensations, Motor City Java, and Tea House.

Motor City Re-Store will give existing business owners like these and their landlords a chance to improve the appearance of their building and make the business more attractive to new customers. Re-Store will award up to $50,000 every three months in matching grants for exterior improvements such as facade work, landscaping, and parking lot upgrades, as well as technical assistance to support improvements such as architecture and design.

It’s a companion program to Motor City Match, which awards $500,000 every quarter to startups and businesses expanding to new locations. I’m pleased to tell you Motor City Match will celebrate two years of success next month, having supported more than 750 businesses around Detroit.

The small business team at the DEGC will manage Motor City Re-Store. I can’t thank them enough for their time, talent, and dedication. The feedback we’ve received from small business owners about this team over the last couple of years has been phenomenal. Led by Mike Rafferty, they’ve worked with well over a thousand small businesses through a variety of programs, and they’re proud to make this brand-new program available to existing businesses.

Motor City Re-Store will be taking applications for Round 1 from June 15 through August 1, and the first awards will be announced in the fall. Re-Store will host two Info Sessions for all business owners interested in applying for grants on June 22 and June 29. More information is available at MotorCityRe-store.com.