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From Lily Hamburger, Director of Small Business Attraction & Retention

The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) is the leading non-profit economic development driver in the city of Detroit. Part of our organization’s success is due to our team’s holistic approach to investment in the city—both from large, global corporations to local, neighborhood small businesses.

Successful small businesses are job creators. Business owners employ city residents, and serve as role models for tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. Our Small Business Team has spearheaded transformative programs like Motor City Match and Motor City Re-Store that are changing the city’s small business landscape, and now, our newest initiative – District Business Liaisons (DBLs) – will take this a step further.

What are DBLs? These seven district representatives serve a sole purpose – to create an optimal environment for doing business in Detroit. DBLs are advocates for business owners in each city council district within the city of Detroit. They do so by:

  • Helping business owners navigate city resources including but not limited to permitting, licensing, plan review, zoning variances, and inspections
  • Connecting business owners with the resources they need to grow and thrive such as capital, talent, business support services, and programs like Motor City Match and Motor City Re-Store
  • Collecting data over time that shows trends in where challenges lie for businesses so that they may inform process, policy, and programmatic improvements that benefit the small business community

DBLs are employees of the DEGC, but work in close partnership with the Mayor’s Office, City Council, and every organization and initiative that supports small businesses in the city. Unlike District Managers who focus on residential issues, DBLs focus solely on neighborhood business owners’ needs and work directly with the community’s entrepreneurs.

In addition to the DBLs, Small Business Attraction Manager, Bobby Boone has joined the team with the explicit goal of bringing new businesses to Detroit based on a neighborhood’s consumer demand. The Small Business Attraction Manager’s job is directly informed by the DEGC’s Neighborhood Retail Opportunity Study, which outlined the gaps in goods and services available to neighborhood residents, as well as demand in commercial corridors throughout the city. Using the Retail Study as a playbook, the DEGC, through its DBLs and Small Business Attraction Manager, can begin to fill those gaps in services and ensure that Detroiters have access to the goods and services they need within a reasonable distance of their home. In the end, this is about building density in key commercial corridors throughout the city and ensuring that Detroiters’ hard earned money is invested here at home.

That opportunity should first and foremost be directed towards local businesses. The DBLs are our next step in small business retention, ensuring that Detroit business owners have what they need to grow and thrive because they have been here serving our neighborhoods.

Find your DBL:

DISTRICT 1 – TENECIA JOHNSON
Work phone: (313) 460-0775 Email: tjohnson@degc.org

DISTRICT 2 – AMMIE WOODRUFF
Work phone: (313) 510-8261 Email: awoodruff@degc.org

DISTRICT 3 – MD-ABDUL MUHIT
Work Phone (313) 452-7704 Email: mmuhit@degc.org

DISTRICT 4 – MARTEL BIVINGS
Work Phone (313) 510-5288 Email: mbivings@degc.org

DISTRICT 5 –  DENNIS PERKINS
Work Phone: (313) 452-1926 Email: dperkins@degc.org

DISTRICT 6 – LUZ MEZA
Work Phone: (313) 510-2488 Email: lmeza@degc.org

DISTRICT 7 – BRIANNA WALKER
Work Phone: (313) 515-6979   Email: bwalker@degc.org