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DEGC Connects Detroit’s Youth with Internships at MCM Businesses

Jul 10, 2018

From Kyla Carlsen, Small Business, Senior Operations and Finance Manager

The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) is launching a pilot internship program in partnership with Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT) to expose Detroit’s youth to entrepreneurship opportunities. Through this program, the next generation of Detroiters will be able to learn what it takes to open and operate a business, ushering in the city’s future of entrepreneurship. Creating interest in small-business ownership at a young age is an important factor in developing thriving commercial corridors for Detroit residents.

The new program will pair 33 interns with 22 Motor City Match businesses for a six-week paid internship, with the option for businesses to extend the time period. Interns will earn on average $1,700 over the course of the summer.

The pilot program benefits young Detroiters by exposing them to an entrepreneurial career path and providing them with access to independent business owners who can act as strong role models. It also helps our small businesses gain much needed talent. In the future, we’d like to expand this pilot into a year-round internship program.

The MCM team is working with GDYT to integrate a capstone component into the internship that would require students to present improvement recommendations to business owners at the program’s conclusion. Also under consideration is extending the program year-round and providing future participants the opportunity to test their entrepreneurial ideas in a temporary “incubator” space, like a pop-up shop.

Interns were paired with their MCM business through career fairs hosted by GDYT. Students and businesses had an opportunity to interview each other so that a harmonious and fruitful match was made.

At yesterday’s media event with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and former Detroit Lions great Herman Moore, Trellis Mercer shared his enthusiasm for the program. Mercer is a MCM Round 6 winner and owner of Lovelifeswagger located at 277 Gratiot Ave., in Detroit. He told the crowd that he’s thrilled to get the opportunity to work with the next generation of Detroit’s business owners, and tap into a network of excited, talented Detroiters. After the event, half of Lovelifeswagger’s six interns expressed interest in opening their own businesses one day. They told DEGC they were excited to learn about the possibilities offered through MCM to support their entrepreneurial dreams.

The announcement took place at Rickman Enterprise Group, which will host the Herman Moore Tackle Life Foundation program, providing training in photography and image editing to 30 youth this summer. Moore and the Mayor were joined at the event by DEGC President and CEO Kevin Johnson, Small Business Services Vice President Mike Rafferty and several members of the Small Business team. More than 50 GDYT interns attended, as well as many of the partners that raised $11.5M to fund this year’s program.

“For many of the youth here today, and those who are already working, the next six weeks will change their lives,” said Mayor Duggan said. “Whether it gives them skills they know they need, or exposure to opportunities that may be new to them, it is about so much more than just getting a paycheck.”

Jason Lee, GDYT executive director, said, “Our engagement with Motor City Match really demonstrates how GDYT can add value to entrepreneurial organizations and Detroit’s growing number of small and medium-size businesses.”

The pilot program kicked-off July 6, 2018. City of Detroit residents age 14 to 24 are eligible to participate.

Participating Motor City Match Businesses

Astute Artistry (DSDT) – 1759 20th St.

Detroit Artist Test Lab – 14600 Mack Ave.

Detroit Mushroom Factory – 13832 Joseph Campau

Detroit Wedding Studio – 2921 East Jefferson

Fit4Life Health and Fitness – 19522 W. McNichols

Loose Massage Therapy – 19489 Livernois

Lovelifeswagger – 277 Gratiot

Mac Galleries – 18943 Livernois

Montgomery Psychological Services – 2835 Bagley

Narrow Way Café – 19331 Livernois

One Stop Property Management – 10331 Hamilton

Olive Seed – 3179 Franklin St.

Paralee Boyd Salon – 3939 Woodward Ave.

Pedicure and Shoes 2 Go – 2900 E. Jefferson Ave.#2

Pink Poodle – 10721 E. Jefferson #615

Pizzaplex – 4458 W. Vernor Hwy

Shears and Shaving – 19475 James Couzens

Skin Bar VII – 19471 W. 10 Mile Rd.

Soul To Go – 9900 Whittier

Spacelab Detroit – 607 Shelby St.

The Detroit Pepper Company – 17180 E. Warren

The Vernor Café / El Club – 4114 W. Vernor Hwy.

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