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Daymond John, co-star of Shark Tank, will headline event equipping Detroit small businesses with tools for national expansion

Oct 14, 2022

BuyDetroit’s Passport to Procurement conference connects Detroit entrepreneurs with buyers from around the country

DETROITBuyDetroit, a small business initiative of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, is bringing in a famous investor and fashion mogul to headline an event connecting Detroit small businesses with high-profile buyers. Daymond John, founder of FUBU and co-star of ABC’s Shark Tank, will speak at the Passport to Procurement Conference on Wednesday, November 9 in Detroit.

John will sit down in a fireside chat with Detroit Pistons host Kevin Irwin to kick off the conference held in partnership with Pure Michigan Business Connect. John, who started his FUBU clothing brand in his mother’s basement and grew it into a global fashion brand with over $6 billion in product sales worldwide, understands the challenges and frustrations small business owners experience in their quest for expansion. It was the reason BuyDetroit was so passionate about inviting “The People’s Sharkto lend his expertise to the conference attendees.

“Small business owners at this event will leave with a great sense of awareness, knowledge and resources to succeed,” said DEGC President and CEO Kevin Johnson. BuyDetroit is committed to giving Detroit entrepreneurs opportunities that can help them grow beyond our city limits.”

The event, expected to draw more than 50 buyers – including DTE, Comerica Bank and Rock Central – and 200 Detroit-based small businesses, will provide a full day of learning and networking opportunities to help attendees grow and compete in the marketplace. The cultivation of relationships with outside providers, not just customers, is crucial to the success of small businesses. Show organizers are hoping business owners walk away with buyer relationships, leading to future capital opportunities.

This event will be game-changing for so many entrepreneurs who will be able to build knowledge and forge relationships with some of the best-known companies in the country,” said Keyra Cokley, associate director of BuyDetroit. “Buyers will also benefit tremendously and will have direct access to the high-quality services and products that are offered by Detroit’s small business community.”

Capacity building and resource workshops will be provided to help attendees strengthen the management and governance of their organization so they can achieve their full potential. Some business owners will be able to find their ideal business partner in a matchmaking event as well as participate in a pitch competition to showcase their “inner shark” and secure funding from buyers. Participants can also set up shop and sell their products to attendees.

To participate, small business owners must be based in Detroit, registered as a participant in BuyDetroit’s online portal and possess good standing with the State of Michigan. Logistical details including event location will be shared with participants upon registering at: This event continues its mission to educate and connect Detroit suppliers with opportunities to compete for contracts and provides access to additional resources and tools to support their business. 


Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC)

Detroit Economic Growth Corporation is a non-profit organization that serves as Detroit’s lead implementing agency for business retention, attraction and economic development. DEGC is led by a board comprised of business, civic and community leaders. Its staff provides services for key public authorities that facilitate incentives and other forms of financing for projects that bring new jobs and investment to the City. DEGC also manages important initiatives to support small businesses and grow neighborhood commercial corridors. DEGC is dedicated to inclusive development and access to economic opportunity.

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