When Detroit Economic Growth Corporation CEO Rodrick Miller took the pulpit at the old St. Columba Church on Monday morning, it wasn't to preach the "good news" you'd typically hear on a Sunday. Instead, he was preaching the gospel of small business in Detroit.
"Ain't no party like a Detroit party 'cause a Detroit party don't stop," he called to an energized audience packed into the pews of the historic church in the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood on the city's east side. "It's a great time to be in Detroit!"
The crowd was gathered to celebrate the latest winners of Motor City Match
, a grant program that connects Detroit-based entrepreneurs and commercial property owners with financial and technical resources, all with the goal of growing businesses in the city's neighborhood commercial corridors. Now in its second quarter of grant making, Motor City Match is run in partnership between the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and the mayor's office, with funding from a variety of foundations and banks, including John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Erb Family Foundation, Kresge Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, the New Economy Initiative, Bank of America, and Fifth Third Bank.
Mayor Mike Duggan took the stage after Miller, adding a few thoughts on the important role neighborhood small businesses have to play in the Detroit comeback story.
"In my mind, the real test of Detroit's recovery is whether it was going to include everybody," said the mayor. "Because not everybody can have an office in one of those big buildings downtown. In fact, most of the economic recovery coming in this country is being generated by small businesses, and in Detroit, we have a huge amount of entrepreneurial talent."
That was reflected when over 300 small business and commercial property owners submitted applications for the inaugural round of Motor City Match, which granted 10 local businesses a total of $500,000 in October. Those awards ranged from $10,000 to $100,000 per business. Eighty-seven other applicants received awards in the form of technical assistance through Motor City Match's network of business services providers, which includes organizations like Build Institute, TechTown, and ProsperUS.
Monday marked the second round of Motor City Match awards, which were granted to businesses located across the city, from the Avenue of Fashion in northwest Detroit to Jefferson Chalmers on Detroit's east side.
This year's cash prize winners include:
- Beautiful Bridal LLC, a bridal gown boutique co-owned by Vallery Hyduk and reality TV star Keasha Rigsby of “Say Yes to the Dress” opening on E. Jefferson. Award amount: $50,000.
- Astute Artistry, a licensed trade school for fashion, film and makeup opening in southwest Detroit. Award amount: $50,000.
- Pharmacy 4 Less, an independent retail pharmacy that is expanding to offer patient consultation, prescription and non-prescription products on Gratiot Avenue. Award amount: $75,000.
- Ali-Wali Child Care Center, a one of a kind Islamic childcare center that models Montessori education opening in the Banglatown neighborhood. Award amount: $10,000.
- Woodbridge Bikes and Coffee, a lifestyle retail boutique that will specialize in the commuting cyclist. Award amount: $20,000.
- R&L Color Graphics, a graphics, printing and publishing company that documents family legacies in the form of obituaries and photo biographies. Award amount: $20,000.
- Detroit Sip, a community gathering space selling Detroit-produced coffee, tea, doughnuts, pastries and other hometown products. Award amount: $35,000.
- I'm Here LLC, a leading edge property and business development company redeveloping the historic Hunter's Supper Club on Livernois into a mixed-use facility that will house several businesses. Award amount: $100,000.
- Slyde, a gourmet slider restaurant that will occupy one of the spaces in the mixed-use redevelopment of the historic Hunter's Supper Club on Livernois. Award amount: $45,000.
An additional 89 winners will receive technical support from Motor City Match's business support network.
According to a statement from Motor City Match, the program has leveraged its initial $1 million in grants to attract an additional $5 million in investments in small businesses and commercial properties located throughout the city.
Model D will continue to follow the progress of Motor City Match grantees as they put their awards to work.
Matthew Lewis is Model D's managing editor. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjlew.