Much will be written about 2020 and its historic impact on every part of our society. While it’s far too soon to fully appreciate the weight of this past year, I am certain it will leave us all with a lasting heartbreak and awakening.
It is important to remember that 2020 began with celebration: DEGC achieved a three-year stretch goal created to bring about economic transformation for the City of Detroit. Through activating small businesses in our neighborhood commercial corridors, and retaining and attracting new businesses like FCA, we’ve helped create more than 25,000 new jobs since 2017. By keeping our promise to the people of Detroit, DEGC is working to reduce poverty, increase economic injustice and create new opportunities for residents to build wealth.
We are grateful that when the pandemic hit, Detroit was enjoying the momentum of economic growth. It allowed DEGC to respond to the crisis with a series of programs to help businesses weather the financial crisis. To date, DEGC has administered grants totaling $11 million to more than 1,700 small businesses in the City. This is in addition to assistance with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), reopening guidelines, among other support. We continue to make Detroit’s small businesses a priority with the creation of Detroit Means Business, a coalition of more than 60 organizations committed to sustaining and elevating the local small business ecosystem.
In addition to the COVID crisis, Detroit was center to a national conversation about racial injustice. This crisis put a spotlight on equity and has empowered DEGC to double down on inclusive development and extended support of our Black-owned businesses. DEGC is committed to make equity and economic justice a continued priority with strategies that drive economic access, inclusion and shared prosperity.
How we conducted business in 2020 may have changed, but our ability to create lasting impact has not. DEGC has demonstrated flexibility and resiliency in the face of hardship, as we continue to open small businesses through our Motor City Match program and announce new business openings such as an Amazon facility at the Michigan State Fairgrounds. Thanks to our team’s endless energy, I’m very proud of our ability to get things done.
The uncertainty we continue to face does not change our focus on jobs, neighborhoods, retention, investment, and inclusive development. We will expand our partnerships and use the often-painful lessons of the past year to create a business environment that can survive and thrive in whatever climate we may face.
We look forward to the New Year with a renewed sense of gratitude, optimism and passion for making Detroit a great place to call home. As always, we invite all of you to support DEGC in our mission to create jobs and opportunities for all Detroit residents.