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Detroit Economic Growth Corporation hires Sean Gray as leader of small business department

Sep 8, 2022

Gray to provide vision and leadership to grow DEGC’s impact on Detroit’s small business community

DETROIT – Today, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation announced the hiring of Sean Gray as vice president of Small Business Services. Gray, who brings more than 18 years of experience to the role, will work in partnership with DEGC leadership to elevate the organization’s impact on Detroit’s small business community. 

“Sean is known as a fierce and passionate advocate for Detroit’s small business community and will help us find new approaches to supporting entrepreneurs within the city,” said Kevin Johnson, president, and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. “We’re excited to welcome Sean to the DEGC, and our team will benefit from his expertise and breadth of relationships.” 

Gray’s role will entail setting leadership and strategy that drive solid results for programs within the department, including Motor City Match, Motor City Re-Store, and BuyDetroit. Additionally, Gray will partner with corporate partners, city officials, state legislators, and federal policymakers to eliminate barriers to funding, knowledge, and equity for small business owners. 

“The DEGC has a rich history of supporting Detroit’s small business community – a mission that’s been deeply personal and fulfilling throughout my professional career,” said Gray. “I am excited to continue on a journey of affecting positive change for Detroit’s entrepreneurs who consistently provide innovation and economic growth for our city.” 

Before joining the DEGC, Sean served as an economic development specialist at the U.S. Small Business Administration during the deployment of unprecedented small business relief programs spurred by COVID-19. During his tenure, Sean managed SBA-funded business resources and planned Michigan opportunity zone summits in partnership with the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council. 

As associate director of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program in southeast Michigan, Sean helped grow the program into a network leader in alumni job and revenue growth. His leadership efforts earned him recognition from Goldman Sachs and Babson College. 

A native Detroiter, Sean has the DNA of an entrepreneur. His mother and grandfather were entrepreneurs who owned a ceramics studio and plumbing business, respectively. 

Sean has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Eastern Michigan University. 

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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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