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Motor City Match celebrates 3 year mark with businesses in 29 Detroit neighborhoods

Aug 1, 2018

Media Contact:
Charlotte Fisher / M: 313-303-8869 / O: 313-237-4603 /
Amanda Abukhader / M: 734-934-7868 / O: 313-324-7854 /

Motor City Match celebrates three-year mark with businesses in 29 Detroit neighborhoods
• 36 Motor City Match businesses open and operating; 51 currently completing construction projects
• Program has leveraged $33 million investment in Detroit’s small business community and commercial corridors

JULY 31, 2018 (DETROIT) – The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s (DEGC) Motor City Match (MCM) program continues to fuel the city’s entrepreneurial resurgence by giving new and growing businesses access to an increasing suite of resources. After three years, the program has touched more than 1,000 businesses with services ranging from technical assistance to lending workshops. As a result, MCM is helping repopulate Detroit’s commercial corridors with businesses offering neighborhood residents the goods and services they want.

“Motor City Match is having a tangible impact the city’s recovery by strengthening Detroit’s small business landscape,” said Mike Rafferty, DEGC Small Business Services vice president. “Small businesses are the heart of Detroit’s neighborhoods and provide jobs to local residents. Without these stores, Detroiters are forced to shop in the suburbs, taking with them billions of dollars in spending.”
Since the program’s inception in 2015, MCM has helped provide more than 1,000 entrepreneurs access to a variety of resources including business plan development, construction, and space matching assistance. Providing access is the core of MCM:
• 62 percent of MCM businesses are owned by Detroiters
• 80 percent are minority-owned businesses
• 69 percent are women-owned businesses
• MCM businesses are in 29 Detroit neighborhoods
• 1,295 jobs created through MCM
• $33 million capital investment leveraged
• $5.5 million in cash grants awarded

“In just three years, MCM has proven the tremendous impact community investment has on the city’s neighborhoods and residents,” said Mariangela Pledl, Small Business Services director. “In communities where goods, services, and employment opportunities are not easily accessible, we’ve empowered local entrepreneurs through our pipeline of available resources, to fulfill those demands in the communities they love and serve. We look forward to continuing to make an impact.”
The program has helped bring renewed life into the city’s commercial corridors by meeting residents’ demand for goods and services. MCM businesses include shops and boutiques, restaurants, a pharmacy, laundromat, collaborative workspaces, childcare centers, and grocers. To-date, 36 MCM businesses have completed the program and opened their doors, with another 51 currently completing construction projects.

The Future of Small Business in Detroit
The DEGC’s Small Business team is spearheading initiatives such as MCM and Motor City Re-Store (MCR-S), and District Business Liaisons (DBL), designed to assist entrepreneurs in navigating city resources. These programs offer business education programs that help connect MCM businesses with funders, and internships with Detroit’s youth to provide summer jobs for aspiring entrepreneurs. Through efforts like these, the DEGC is effectively closing the funding and education gap, making successful small business ownership a viable option for city residents.

SpaceLab Detroit, a MCM Round 7 awardee, is among the businesses to have utilized several program resources and is now celebrating its one-year anniversary. It has plans to expand operations to an additional floor in its building. Owner Karen Burton is a cash grant awardee and received $55,000 in funding to open her business in Downtown Detroit. SpaceLab Detroit is also employing an intern through the city’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent program for six weeks.

“Motor City Match was a pivotal resource in helping get my business up and running,” said Burton. “Thanks to the support I received through my participation in the MCM program, I was able to find a prime location for my business to thrive. MCM gave me the tools I needed to ensure my business is sustainable.”

All of these initiatives are guided by the organization’s Neighborhood Retail Study, which identified areas of demand in the city, and informed the Small Business team how to fill vacancies and create prosperous neighborhoods.

MCM Awardee Updates
Several MCM awardees have seen recent success since taking advantage of the network and resources MCM provides. The following are examples of the recent successes MCM awardees have experienced:

• Detroit Artist’s Test Lab, an incubator for artists and creative entrepreneurs, recently celebrated its grand opening ceremony. Owners Kira Kessler and Glenn Urquhart are MCM Round 6 awardees and received $65,000 to open their facility on Mack Avenue. Detroit Artist’s Test Lab has created four new jobs.
• Pharmacy 4 Less, a MCM Round 2 awardee, is in the final stages of construction and preparing to open its doors to the public. The Pharmacy will create eight new jobs after owner Belief Emadamerho received $75,000 in grant support.
• Guadalajara 2, Inc., the butcher shop known for its famous chorizo, opened its first location in Southwest Detroit. Owner and MCM Round 4 awardee Salvador Enriquez received a $50,000 cash grant award to open his shop with his daughter. The business has created 22 new jobs for the neighborhood.
• Lush Yummies Pie Co., MCM Round 9 space awardee, located in Eastern Market won a total of $125,000 as a Detroit Demo Day winner and received a $10,000 cash prize at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit. Owner Jennifer Lyle is currently exploring options for additional space to increase her production.
• MI Farm to Freezer, Round 7 cash awardee, received $300,000 as a winner of Detroit Demo Day. Owner Brandon Seng utilized his MCM cash grant to open his space in Eastern Market earlier this year. MI Farm to Freezer flash freezes and ships Michigan-grown produce at their peak, enabling farmers to extend their sales throughout the year.
• Plum Health Direct Primary Care, a MCM Round 5 space awardee, received $50,000 as a Detroit Demo Day winner. Owner Paul Thomas is pursuing a permanent location in New Center. Plum Health focuses on prevention and wellness by providing patients around-the-clock direct access to their physician at a low cost.
• Rocco’s Italian Deli, a MCM Round 6 awardee, recently celebrated their grand opening this past June in Cass Corridor. Owner Gabe Guido was awarded a $50,000 cash grant to help fund his Midtown location and created job opportunities for four employees.
• The Commons, a combination laundry mat and coffee shop on Detroit’s Eastside, opened its doors this past May after hearing of the need for a laundromat from members of the community. Ezekiel Harris is a Round 3 MCM awardee and received $80,000 to help fund the project. The business has also created six jobs for members of the community.
• The Lip Bar, a vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics brand, and Round 3 MCM winner has expanded into one of America’s biggest stores, Target.
On the heels of three years of success, MCM is gearing up to announce its latest round of program winners for its 12th round of funding. MCM awards are presented four times a year in four categories: matching cash grants, business planning assistance, design services or space selection. The next session for Round 14 applicants to apply is from September 1 to October 1, 2018.

About the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC)
Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) is a non-profit organization that serves as the lead implementing agency for business retention, attraction and economic development initiatives in Detroit. DEGC is led by a board comprised of business, civic, labor and community leaders. Its staff provides services for key public authorities that offer tax credits and other forms of financing for projects that bring new jobs or economic activity to the city. DEGC also manages important initiatives to support small businesses, such as Motor City Match and Motor City Re-Store, and offers programs for existing businesses to enter the global market, like Built in Detroit.

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, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, other foundations, and corporations. Motor City Match applications are available quarterly. The next window for building and business owners to apply will be September 1, to October 1, 2018. Application details are available at

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