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.
Two Detroit businesses, Detroit Training Center, a workforce training center, and Louisiana Creole Gumbo, a restaurant and caterer, were the big winners of $100,000 each in the NEIdeas challenge announced last month.
Thirty other businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park received $10,000 each as part of the NEIdeas competition. All the more than 640 businesses that applied will receive technical assistance to help grow their businesses. A complete list of winners can be found on the NEIdeas website.
Detroit Training Center will use its funds to expand its commercial driver license certification program by purchasing new tractor-trailers for student test-driving and increase marketing of the program. Louisiana Creole Gumbo will buy mobile food trucks with built-in hot and cold facilities to serve customers across Detroit.
Of this year’s winners, 75 percent are minority owned and nearly 60 percent are women owned. The winning businesses range in age from three to 94 years old and operate in fields as varied as construction, education, farming, food, manufacturing, retail, service, technology and transportation.
NEIdeas operates in partnership with DEGC, which participated in the jury process and led an outreach program providing small businesses with information and guidance in the application process.
“Over the past three years, NEIdeas has given us the opportunity to connect with more than 1,700 small businesses in the city,” said Rodrick T. Miller, president and CEO, DEGC. “NEIdeas, with its focus on existing businesses, is a critical piece of Detroit’s small business support system. This system is essential in helping every Detroiter participate in our economic expansion.”
The New Economy Initiative (NEI) is a special project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM). NEI is one of the largest economic development initiatives of its kind working to build a network of support for entrepreneurs and small businesses. The mission of NEI is to create an inclusive, innovative, and regional culture by reawakening and leveraging Detroit’s creative entrepreneurial drive. NEI receives funds from 12 foundations, including the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
Vice President of Small Business Services