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DEGC, Challenge Detroit Expanding Small-Business Opportunities

Oct 30, 2017

Demonstrates DEGC’s commitment to inclusion, entrepreneurship and economic development


DETROIT–The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, a leader in economic development in Detroit, is working with non-profit Challenge Detroit on innovative ways to expand equitable small-business growth and entrepreneurship in the city.


Over a six-week period, DEGC and Challenge Detroit are interviewing local entrepreneurs, professional service providers and community development organizations to better understand obstacles that may impact small-business success in Detroit.


“We are focusing on how equitable access impacts Detroit entrepreneurs’ ability to open and run a successful business in the city, and how small businesses can keep their products and services accessible to city residents,” said Kyla Carlsen, DEGC Small Business Financial Manager.


“After our fact finding, we will be able to recommend improvements, not only to DEGC’s small business programs, but that can improve the entire landscape for small-business development in our city.”


Challenge Detroit is a leadership and professional development program that invites approximately 30 of tomorrow’s leaders to live, work, play, give and lead in and around the greater Detroit area for one year. Approximately 30 fellows, which include native Detroiters and others from around the country, will consult weekly with DEGC, providing pro-bono consulting estimated at $25,000 in value to the nonprofit partner organization.


“We are thrilled to partner with a program like Challenge Detroit that is committed to attracting and retaining young professionals to the city of Detroit,” said Vice President of DEGC Small Business, Michael S. R. Rafferty. “Much like the small businesses we serve, the DEGC team exhibits an entrepreneurial culture, and is committed to innovation and continuously striving to improve our programs. We’re excited to see what recommendations come out of the project.”


Motor City Match, a highly successful DEGC program that supports small-business development in every district, offers a variety of financial, training, design and location assistance to budding entrepreneurs in Detroit. To date, the Motor City Match program awardees are:

  • 78 percent minority-owned businesses
  • 68 percent women-owned businesses
  • 61 percent owned by Detroit residents


“Inclusion has been our priority since the program launched two years ago,” said Motor City Match Program Manager Anthony Askew. “It’s important that awardees reflect the city of Detroit. We need to reach the many entrepreneurs across the city that aren’t yet aware of all the resources available to help start and grow Detroit businesses.”


The 30 Detroit Challenge fellows will make a final presentation on November 17, 2017, to DEGC leadership, program partners, small business owners and other stakeholders. The fellows will review key findings and recommendations for expanding small business access and inclusion. These results will help shape and inform DEGC programming and services with the long-term goal of improving the climate for small businesses city-wide.


“We are honored and excited to contribute innovative ideas and intellectual capital to DEGC,” said Challenge Detroit Program Director Shelley Danner. “We are proud to partner with such a collaborative, community-focused lens to strengthen an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports neighborhood small business owners in our city.”


About Motor City Match
Motor City Match is a unique partnership between the City of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), the Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Competitive financial assistance is supported by a broad partnership of Southeast Michigan community development financial institutions, foundations and corporations. For more information about the program and how to apply, please visit The Economic Development Corporation for the City of Detroit approves the awards, and the Small Business team at DEGC manages the Motor City Match Program. It is funded with more than $7 million in federal community block grant funds distributed to Detroit, as well as with city funds approved by Detroit City Council and support from local foundations and businesses.  The program has helped to create a strong pipeline of businesses in the city.


Applications are available on the first day of each financial quarter.  The next application window for building and business owners to apply to Motor City Match will be open from December 1, 2017 to January 1, 2018. Application details are available at


About Challenge Detroit

Our mission is to challenge leaders to learn by doing through a year of meaningful employment and intellectual work with area nonprofits designed to positively impact our diverse, culturally vibrant city. Participating individuals join us from our own backyard and across the country to spend one-year living in the community, working for a top regional company, playing culturally and socially, and giving and leading through partnerships with nonprofits to address issues and opportunities facing our community. In six years, Challenge Detroit has supported the creation of nearly 200 jobs generating more than $8 million in economic value to the local economy. Learn more at

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