Application Period About to Open for D2D Matchmaking Opportunity Event


The D2D Matchmaking Opportunity Event last February attracted 280 Detroit-based companies eager to do business with nine major buying organizations offering 200 potential bidding opportunities. With that kind of success, it’s no surprise that D2 has scheduled a second event for February 11, 2016. Up to 200 may qualify for short, one-on-one interviews with buyers who purchase $925 million per year from other Detroit businesses.

Right now, those organizations are identifying what bidding opportunities they will bring to the event. Starting December 21 through January 11, 2016, any Detroit-based business can apply for a one-on-one interview with a buyer. Once the application period opens, find the link to apply at

The City of Detroit and the Detroit Water and Sewer Department will be among those expected to bring opportunities to the event. Other purchasers are members of the D2D Buyers Council, which consists of 17 organizations: Bedrock Real Estate Services, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Comerica Inc., Compuware, DMC, DTE Energy, Ernst & Young, Ford Field, Greektown Casino Hotel, Henry Ford Health Systems, Lowe Campbell Ewald, Quicken Loans,             Skidmore Studio, Strategic Staffing Solutions, University of Detroit Mercy, Urban Science, and Wayne State University.

D2D and the buyers will select who they will interview during the three-hour session February 11. Business owners who qualify for a one-on-one interview will be notified around February 1.

All Detroit-based businesses are welcome to attend the free event, which will also feature a short program and chances to network and find assistance from a network of small business service providers.

Brian Watkins
D2D Program Manager

Sakthi Automotive holds groundbreaking, hosts D2D PRO session for bid opportunities


India-based automotive supplier Sakthi Automotive broke ground for its new 180,000-square-foot casting and machining facility in October. Located at 6701 Fort Street in Detroit, it is part of a larger campus which includes the rehabilitation of the former Southwestern High School and the razing of American Mailers Building. Fairway Engineering LLC designed and engineered the facility,

The manufacturing plant is expected to open in March 2016 and employ 350 workers. Sakthi currently employees more than 225 employees at its facility next door. Sakthi Automotive produces Tier 1 parts for automakers such as General Motors. The Michigan Strategic Fund approved $3.5 million in incentives for the facility earlier this year.

The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s D2D program held a PRO session on October 16, connecting Detroit-based construction companies with bidding opportunities for the facility.

About 31 people from construction and development companies attended the session to get an overview of Sakthi’s construction plans and learn more about bidding opportunities. PRO sessions are necessary for construction companies as they provide the chance to identify opportunities early and get a better understanding of the bidding/procurement process.

Bid opportunities include interior and exterior concrete work, overhead and dock doors, plumbing, HVAC, electrical and lighting. Bidders must meet specific requirements and comply with the City of Detroit requirements to utilize a certain percentage of Detroit businesses and residents in their work.

To inquire about Sakthi Automotive’s construction project, contact Construction Manager Kamal Tolia at

Brian Watkins
D2D Program Manager

D2D Buyer Ready Business: SAGA MKTG – Marcus Burrell, Sr. Partner

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Marcus Burrell and Eric Thomas, Principals, SAGA MKTG

SAGA MKTG is a full service marketing agency based in downtown Detroit that specializes in brand development, digital strategy and outreach campaigns. Marcus Burrell, senior partner, began the SAGA vision seven years ago with fellow senior partner Eric Thomas.

What inspired you to found SAGA MKTG?
We were really inspired to help local businesses tell their stories. Our clientele is varied from small- to medium-sized businesses that traditionally spread information by word of mouth. SAGA helps them get to the next level and grow. We especially value the storytelling process for nonprofits – some of our clients include Cornerstone Schools, Black United Fund of Michigan, Greater Detroit Area Health Council, St Frances Cabrini Clinic, Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, UAW-Ford and the Opportunity Finance Network Conference.

Why did you select Detroit as your headquarters?
We chose Detroit as our headquarters because the city offers opportunities that no other city can offer. Detroit brings a unique spin on the work that we do and impacts people in a very unique way.

How do you want your company to impact Detroit in the long term?
Our agency at its core is a storytelling agency and everyone likes a good comeback story. We’d like to impact Detroit in a positive way and show that there is opportunity here; and if you seize it your business will do well. Detroiters can truly make it here.

What is the SAGA MKTG culture all about?
We have a very fun environment. For example, every Friday is steak Friday – we all get together and broil steaks and make great food. We also own a co-working space, In The Black Suites, so we have the opportunity to work among other entrepreneurs, which harvests a lot of creativity. We have a lot of pride in offering an environment that is conducive for individuals and businesses that are starting out.

What companies have you collaborated with in Detroit as customers or suppliers?
We’re called on to collaborate with a lot of other Detroit firms, like DMC Strategies and Butterfly Effect Detroit. A lot of our contractors and photographers also are locally based.

When you can connect with other Detroit businesses, what benefits does that bring?
Working with other Detroit businesses allows for synergy; you can work together for a common purpose and benefit the city.

Brian Watkins
D2D Program Manager

D2D creates PRO-business climate for construction companies


Cranes and scaffolds are going up in places all over Detroit and DEGC’s D2D program is connecting developers with Detroit-based construction companies on multi-million dollar projects. About 40 construction-related companies recently attended one of DEGC’s PRO sessions where two companies described their expansion or renovation projects at manufacturing and research facilities around Holbrook and I-75.

The meetings are good for both buyers and suppliers. Developers or general contractors find more options for getting the work done that they need. “They have to be qualified and experienced, because we have quality standards we have to meet,” said Chris Son, director of marketing communications for American Axle Manufacturing. “And I’m sure we have plenty of contractors in Detroit who can meet them.”

For suppliers – the sessions provide direct access to potential customers. “We can work with D2D to find out what we can supply the general contractors they bring to us,” said Steve Anderson, director of interior solutions at Rickman Enterprise Group. “We are a Detroit-based business and we can perform a lot of the work that general contractors need.”

PRO sessions have been very effective in highlighting opportunities for Detroit-based businesses. In just over a dozen sessions more than 150 contracting companies heard presentations from at least 30 development projects that represent close to $240 million in investments.

Brian Watkins
D2D Program Manager

D2D Makes an Impact in 2014


D2D connects Detroit companies as buyers and suppliers. Read the success stories of six companies who participated in its inaugural Capacity Building Series, and check out the services and events it’s planning for 2015 in the new “D2D Business Impact Report.” Copies are also available at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, 500 Griswold, Detroit.

Brian Watkins
D2D Program Manager