New Economy Initiative announces winners of fifth annual NEIdeas Challenge

For the fifth year in a row, the New Economy Initiative has provided grants of $10,000 to existing businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park as part of its NEIdeas Challenge. 

Of the 26 grant winners announced in this year's round, 77 percent are minority-owned businesses, and 65 percent are women-owned businesses. To date, NEIdeas has awarded a total of $2.16 million to 144 businesses. 

"Though they might lack capital and connections to resources, neighborhood small businesses have no shortage of great ideas for growth," said Pam Lewis, NEI's director, in a press release. "The NEIdeas challenge accomplished what we set out to do — connecting been-up businesses to a network of support that can help them realize their ambitions and thrive. We're thrilled to honor another group of neighborhood entrepreneurs and businesses who mean so much to their communities."

Here is the full list of 2018 NEIdeas winners and their ideas:

6301 Michigan Ave. LLC (Detroit, Southwest): Create a co-working space in Southwest Detroit

Accent Upholstery (Detroit, East Side): Renovate interior of upholstery business showroom

Baskin Tax Service & Insurance Group (Detroit, Southwest): Execute marketing campaign and purchase office equipment for better service to bilingual clientele

Coriander LLC (Detroit, Jefferson Chalmers): Expand catering business to sit-down farm-to-table restaurant

Denson Construction Services, LLC (Detroit, Islandview): Purchase a pick-up truck for faster delivery of construction materials to customers

Detroit Grease (Detroit, NW Goldberg): Expand cooking oil recycling business with purchase of 60 new waste collection containers

Detroit Martial Arts Institute (Detroit): Purchase a van, STEM programming, and other instructional materials to offer comprehensive programming for students

EnACT Your Future (Detroit, New Center): Create a video marketing campaign to raise awareness of ACT test prep courses

Flo Boutique (Detroit, Midtown): Redesign interior retail space to increase capacity for inventory and grow sales

Fred & Son Recycle (Highland Park): Purchase a used covered van to increase delivery capacity in inclement weather

Gaddis Gaming (Detroit, Bagley): Expand line of historical board game figurines to meet growing demand

Hall of Fame Driving School (Detroit, Krainz Woods): Purchase a second vehicle to pick-up students without reliable transportation

Hollingsworth Facility Maintenance, LLC (Detroit, Northwest): Purchase used truck and new commercial cleaning equipment to increase capacity and service more customers

Home Sweet Home Specialty Baked Goods (Detroit, Morningside): Purchase cooking equipment to meet demand for baked goods and scale business

La Cuscatleca Inc. (Detroit, Southwest): Revamp interior and expand current offerings to turn Latin-American grocery store into a community hub

Mutual Adoration (Detroit, East Side): Buildout camper into a mobile shop

The Mushroom Factory (Detroit, Campau/Banglatown): Purchase humidification and fruiting chamber to increase production capacity

Nail-Rite Construction Company Inc. (Detroit, Osborn): Bring on and train an estimator to utilize new bidding software and purchase a used vehicle for mobile trade school

Natural Red (Detroit, Downtown): Purchase commercial filling and labeling machines to increase productivity

Riverfront Building Supply and Hardware LLC (Detroit, Jefferson Chalmers): Invest in showroom renovation and office space buildout

Soapstone Soaps LLC (Detroit, Brightmoor): Purchase ingredients and equipment to increase production and scale up to wholesale customers

Source Booksellers (Detroit, Midtown): Revamp interior and launch marketing campaign to reinvigorate store for 30th anniversary

Swint Logistics Group, Inc. (Detroit, Downtown): Development of dump truck operation training program

Town Center Coin Laundry (Hamtramck): Purchase additional washing machines to serve more customers

Umi's Comfort (Detroit, Russell Woods): Purchase design software and heavy-duty sewing equipment for growth of quilt sales

William & Bonnie (Detroit, New Center): Invest in industrial sewing machines and apprenticeship training
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Aaron Mondry is a Detroit-based freelance writer. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter @AaronMondry.