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DEGC Small Business team helps Detroit entrepreneurs close funding gap

May 16, 2018

Through its wide variety of programming, the DEGC is transforming Detroit’s economic climate for large and small businesses. The DEGC’s Small Business team is constantly developing new tools to help local entrepreneurs find success. When local retail thrives, it sets off a chain reaction throughout Detroit neighborhoods; residents can shop nearby for the goods and services they need, and job seekers can find employment opportunities close to home.

Enabling full access and creating opportunities for everyone to participate in Detroit’s economic prosperity is a high priority for the DEGC. To that end, the Small Business team hosted a first-of-its-kind Financial Summit to demystify business financing and offer Detroit entrepreneurs a platform to directly connect with Detroit’s small business lending community in one centralized place. Motor City Match and Motor City Re-Store winners were invited to participate in the workshop, but our goal is to eventually roll this out to all businesses in the city of Detroit.

The summit, held at the Ford Resource and Engagement Center (FREC), consisted of three core financial services: lending, business banking products, and one-on-one financial consulting. Business owners could visit with one of more than 20 participating lenders for various banking services. This included the opportunity to open a business checking account, establish business credit and complete loan applications with a lending officer. If businesses were not ready to complete an application based on real-time feedback from a lender, they had the opportunity to receive one-on-one assistance onsite that day with a financial coach to address the steps needed to become capital ready.

Prior to the summit, 65 previous awardees participated in a series of pre-event workshops to prepare them for meeting with potential lenders. Many of the lending workshops currently happening in the ecosystem are informational; we wanted to provide a hands-on experience with tangible outcomes that can also help participants improve their business acumen.

“When I first applied to Motor City Match, all I had was an idea.” said Jamie Williams, owner of Hustlers Wife, a women’s retail clothing boutique located on the East Side of Detroit. “I continued building out my business by taking advantage of the resources available through MCM, eventually winning the design award, and finally the cash award. Now, I’m in the final phase of getting my doors open, and this summit is helping me consider what other needs I’ll have long after my grand opening.”

Many of Motor City Match and Motor City Re-Store’s core lending partners and traditional banks participated in the event, including Level One Bank, the event sponsor.

Thanks to the support of our funders including Bank of America, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, Fifth Third Bank, Ford Foundation, Hudson Webber Foundation, Invest Detroit, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the DEGC’s Small Business programs can continue to develop a stronger economic core for Detroit.

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