The People Pick


Ellis Island Tea and Motor City Java & Tea House each have won a $10,000 cash grant in the first ever NEIdeas People’s Choice Awards. Above and Beyond Orthopedics and Dexter Quality Cleaners each earned runner-up prizes of $2,000. The competition was an offshoot of the very successful NEIdeas small business competition, in which 30 Detroit firms each won $10,000 cash to invest in their businesses. Two additional prizes of $100,000 will be announced shortly as well. For the People’s Choice Awards, the New Economy Initiative (NEI), a special project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM) partnered with DEGC to nominate those four firms for a second round of consideration.

Over a four-week period [VERIFY OR REVISE TIME] people had a chance to vote via text message their preference for granting additional awards. The competition culminated at a special Detroit SOUP event in which the owners of the four small businesses pitched their ideas for business growth to a live audience, who then cast their vote for their favorite idea. Those votes were combined with the results of the text message campaign to decide the allocation of funds overall. As a bonus, Above and Beyond Orthopedics earned the SOUP door prize of an additional $700 based solely on voting of those who attended.

David Egner, president and CEO of the Hudson-Webber Foundation and executive director of the New Economy Initiative said, “As we award the NEIdea People’s Choice awards, I ask you to join me in spreading the message that all Detroit businesses matter and that resources are and must continue to be available to all businesses. I ask you to spread the word that we are one Detroit, joined by our passion to make our City great.”

Learn more about the NEIdeas competition and other initiatives of the New Economy Initiative at and

Spencer Olinek

DEGC NEIdeas Program Manager

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