Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, D2D Program Increases $200 million in Detroit-based Spend by Key Purchasers


What does $200 million buy? Plenty. And that’s why it is significant that in an annual survey by DEGC’s D2D Business program, a key set of purchasing organizations reported they purchased $200 million more this year than last from other Detroit-based companies. The increase represents a 31 percent increase, demonstrating D2D’s success in connecting buyers and suppliers in the city of Detroit.

The scale of the increase shows how deeply committed major Detroit purchasers are to look for quality suppliers here in Detroit. It also demonstrates that Detroit-based suppliers have a lot to offer — not just to other Detroit companies, but customers everywhere.

David O. Egner, Executive Director of the New Economy Initiative said, “One of the best tools we have for growing the economy is the purchasing power we have right here in Detroit. We’re thrilled to support D2D as they not only help employ that purchasing power, but ready the small businesses community to better take advantage of it.”

The D2D program provides services and opportunities to grow the relationships among Detroit-based businesses, including a business-to-business database, supplier workshops and other programs. When buyers and suppliers located in Detroit work together it’s a win for everyone including the city itself. Here are a few examples:

Buyer & Supplier: Detroit Lions/Ford Field & Motor City Propane

Bob Gardner, senior director of facility management, Ford Field said, “Motor City Propane is a company that is ‘homegrown’ in the city of Detroit and they always come through for us. We can always depend on them, particularly when we have large concerts and events. Our philosophy is to give back to the city of Detroit and use resources that are community/city-based. Motor City Propane inquired what we were doing with the community, and we referred them to D2D so that they can use Detroit resources and be a resource to other businesses in the city as well.”

Otis Starghill, CEO and president, Motor City Propane said, “We have been servicing Ford Field since they built the facility. We were involved with their construction phase, supplying their temporary heat and cement drying. Currently we supply gas for their lifting trucks and their vehicles that run on propane for their concerts and shows. We’ve had a great ongoing relationship and we’re thankful that they referred us to the D2D program. D2D has really come to the table with a strategy to help grow small businesses in Detroit.”

Buyer & Supplier: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan & Hanna-Neumann/Smith

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) has had a relationship with the architectural firm Neumann/Smith Architecture for a number of years. In 2013, Neumann/Smith Architecture entered into a partnership with Hannah & Associates Inc., an architectural firm that is a minority and female-owned business operated by Beverly Hannah Jones, AIA. The new partnership is called Hannah-Neumann/Smith, and has offices in downtown Detroit.

BCBSM hired Hannah-Neumann/Smith to perform architectural services on a building located on its downtown Detroit campus. “Hiring Hannah-Neumann/Smith supports our core belief in supporting minority and female-owned businesses,” said Tricia Keith, BCBSM senior vice president, corporate secretary and services. “Hannah-Neumann/Smith has become a valued business partner and resource in developing our space requirements with a sense of urgency as well as innovation.”

Brian Watkins

Business Development Manager

Belle Isle Park is the new place for business


Belle Isle Park is generating a lot of interest these days and most recently, more than 225 people representing 100 companies – including 66 headquartered in the city of Detroit – turned out to learn how to become a Belle Isle Park contractor.

The free half-day seminar, “Selling to the State Parks and the State of Michigan,” was held February 21 at the Belle Isle Casino and sponsored by The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in partnership with the Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) and the D2D program of DEGC.

Speakers from the state organizations explained how businesses bid on construction and capital outlay contracts; the ins and outs of Request for Proposal (RFP) documents; and how contracts are written to authorize private business operations on state land.

“The seminar was very effective in giving business owners an in-depth look at the opportunities to do business with the new management of Belle Isle, and the new processes they’ll need to follow,” said Richard King, region director, Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC). He plans to share the seminar information with SBDC clients.

“The good thing is, everything that is required for Belle Isle is required for all state parks, so Detroit business owners will have prospects well beyond just Belle Isle,” King added.

Attendees were able to network and meet the new Belle Isle staff, as well as learn what new projects are forthcoming to improve the infrastructure and overall visitor experience on the island.

On March 18th and 25th, D2D will host its two-day “Supplier Capacity Building Series” of interactive trainings for Detroit-based construction firms looking to grow their business. Participants will learn the concepts and skills they’ll need to meet increased procurement demands and win contracts. For more information, visit

Brian Watkins
Business Development Manager