Winners of fourth annual NEIdeas Challenge announced

Another year, another round of grants have been disbursed through the NEIdeas Challenge

Now in its fourth year, the challenge annually awards 22 businesses in Detroit, Highland Park, and Hamtramck with grants of $10,000 and $100,000. 

"Neighborhood businesses matter," says Pam Lewis, director of the New Economy Initiative (NEI), in a press release. "In pursuing our mission of building an inclusive support network for entrepreneurs and small businesses in southeast Michigan, we wanted to do something that not only acknowledged neighborhood businesses for their contributions to their communities, but rewarded them for thinking courageously about growing."

[Read Pam Lewis's op-ed for Model D on the importance of looking to city residents to help solve Detroit's problems]

Some of this year's winners include chocolate goods producer Bon Bon Bon, two Southwest Detroit restaurants (El Asador Steakhouse and Taqueria El Nacimiento), Highland Park gathering space Nandi's Knowledge Cafe, hair care and beauty company Naturalicious, and more. 

The two winners of the $100,000 grants were Bel Air Luxury Cinema, Detroit's only first-run movie theater, and Vaughan Industries, a manufacturer of equipment for the car wash industry.

Over those four years, NEI has awarded a total of $1.9 million to 118 businesses.

Also noteworthy is that 80 percent of NEIdeas winners are minority-owned businesses, and more than half are women-owned businesses.

NEI is hosting a gala to celebrate and officially award the winning businesses on Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. in Eastern Market. Food and drinks will be provided by past NEIdeas winners. For more information, click here
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