PARTNER CONTENT: Take the small business survey that captures, and elevates, voices of entreprenuers

What’s happening: It was earlier this June when the New Economy Initiative (NEI) made headlines for granting more than $2 million to local business support organizations, a move intended to improve underserved small business owners' access to capital, practical assistance, resources, and more.

And now that the calendar brings us to the second half of 2023, NEI glances to the future with the release of its “Elevate Your Voice” small business survey, an opportunity for the small businesses of southeast Michigan to share their experiences with NEI – and an opportunity for NEI to respond accordingly.

How it works: Entrepreneurs and small business owners are encouraged to fill out a 15-minute online survey that will, in turn, help inform NEI in its future resource-sharing decisions, be it identifying the types of support that business owners feel need improving, the support that is needed yet lacking, and otherwise. Business owners are asked to share their stories, successes, and challenges and, as an added incentive, NEI will randomly select a participating business owner for a $1,000 cash prize.

Why it’s important: According to their 2022 Annual Report, NEI has granted $137 million to business support organizations since the initiative was first launched in 2007. Those grantees have assisted nearly 25,000 companies in that time, translating to $2.6 billion in total impact in the Detroit region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. That entrepreneurial ecosystem benefits from a well-informed organization like NEI and its partners in the business support community.

Case study: One recent example of NEI responding to an ever-changing entrepreneurial ecosystem can be found in their identifying and adding four new grantees in this latest round of aforementioned grants. NEI added the Detroit Regional LGBT Chamber Fund, Grace in Action Collectives, Industrial Sewing, and Innovation Center, and the Michigan Hispanic Fund to its latest cohort of grantees in an effort to reach even more underserved communities and entrepreneurs.

“Providing more dollars and more inclusive support to small businesses is essential to increasing our region’s economic resilience,” Wafa Dinaro, executive director of NEI, said when the grants were first announced. “Our grantees are uniquely positioned to engage underserved communities and increase access to capital and the technical assistance that’s so critical to success, especially for the smallest businesses.” 
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