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Detroit organizations awarded $3.4 million to establish entrepreneurial hubs supporting small businesses

Nov 13, 2023

DETROIT (November 13, 2023) – The Detroit Economic Growth Association (DEGA) and six partner organizations have been awarded a $3.4 million grant to support small businesses and empower entrepreneurs in Detroit. The grant comes from the Small Business Support Hubs program, an initiative of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to foster inclusive economic growth across the state.

The DEGA, which undertakes charitable work led by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), will lead a collaborative effort with local organizations Build Institute, ProsperUs, Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance, Highland Park Community Kitchen, Milestone Growth Capital and Black Leaders Detroit to establish up to 25 entrepreneurial hubs in Detroit neighborhoods. At these hubs, aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners can access coaching, training, networking opportunities and other resources to help them start and grow successful companies. Currently, 1% of residents know all the services available through the city’s robust small business ecosystem.

“This grant will allow us to take our support of Detroit entrepreneurs to the next level,” said Dr. Marlo Rencher, president of Detroit Means Business, a small business initiative within the DEGC. “By partnering with these outstanding organizations rooted in Detroit’s neighborhoods, we’ll be able to reach more entrepreneurs, especially people of color, and provide them with the tools and knowledge they need to turn their dreams into thriving businesses.”

The partner organizations involved in the collaborative effort are spearheaded by African American leaders who graduated from Detroit Public Schools. Their backgrounds and deep community ties give them critical insight into the needs of local business owners and residents when it comes to small business services. The group plans to share more details about the entrepreneurial hubs in early 2024.

This DEGA-led initiative is one of 27 entrepreneurial hub projects receiving MEDC grants, announced by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on November 9. Over $75 million in grants were awarded to organizations across the state. At least 50% of the businesses that the hubs will serve will be minority-owned businesses, exceeding the 20% state requirement. They will provide coaching, training, networking, access to capital, and other support to help small businesses launch, grow, and thrive.

“Equipping entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to succeed is critical for economic growth in Detroit and across Michigan,” said Kevin Johnson, President and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. “We’re thrilled to collaborate with our partners on this transformative project that will create opportunity in neighborhoods across our city.”

About 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.

About Detroit Means Business (DMB):

Detroit Means Business is a coalition of business support organizations and government agencies that was established to help small businesses in Detroit, Michigan. The coalition’s primary objective is to provide small business owners with the resources and support they need to survive and thrive in Detroit’s economy. This includes access to financing, training, technical assistance and other resources.

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