Shorebank Enterprise becomes Enterprise, keeps focus on funding neighborhood revitalization

ShoreBank Enterprise Detroit remains busy and productive from its Mack Avenue offices despite the fact that its namesake company in Chicago was shut down by state and federal regulators in August. The biggest change is that the nonprofit development fund is now operating under a new name, Enterprise Detroit. "But our programs, nothing has changed," assures president Ray Waters.

Enterprise Detroit leverages funds raised from foundations to invest in Detroit properties and businesses. Since 2002, $11.8 million has been loaned to 115 Detroit small businesses -- 102 of which have been minority owned. Since 2008, $7 million has been loaned into the market and Waters says there is $13.5 million currently on the books. The small business loans are intended to grow businesses that might not be eligible for traditional bank financing.

One of Enterprise's busiest programs works with rehabbers to focus on repairing vacant homes to livable and energy efficient standards -- ideally, in targeted neighborhoods such as East English Village. In past years, investors would improve homes then flip them to willing homebuyers. Now, the market dictates that homes be rented at affordable rates; Waters estimates most homes that have gone through their rehabbers program are rented for $400 to $800 a month.

Through this rehab fund, Enterprise has gotten behind Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation's effort to rehabilitate vacant homes in the neighborhood. $650,000 has been loaned to the organization for a pilot, and Waters says he can envision 200 homes benefiting over the next three to four years. "This is the kind of project that has legs and wings and really helps a lot of people," he says.

Other programs include lines of credit for contractors, a job training grant fund and a small targeted pot of money for new retail in Midtown and Corktown. "The creative corridor needs some help -- this is high-risk lending, most start-up retail doesn't tend to make it," says Waters. "But it's not big box (that will revitalize Detroit) and we want to try it." Waters says there is a possibility that Enterprise will relocate into this area itself.

Enterprise views other funders, including banks and start-up funds such as the Detroit Micro Enterprise Fund as collaborators rather than competitors. "We do similar things, but are enough different so that everyone's in demand," Waters says. "We just can't do every deal."

Contact Enterprise Detroit at 313-886-2091.

Source: Ray Waters, Enterprise Detroit
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

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