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Revitalizing Detroit One Garden At a Time


In this Super Soul Short, we're going green with social activist Riet Schumack and her husband, Mark. They're spearheading a grassroots youth gardening movement to help rebuild Brightmoor, a struggling neighborhood on Detroi's Northwest Side. Years ago, Brightmoor was ridden with crime and on the brink of abandonment. Today, they're proving that growth and transformation are possible one garden at a time.

Watch the video here.


A Letter from DG3's President: You Don't Know S*** About Shinola


If there is one thing I’ve learned in my lifetime, it’s that you can’t please everyone.
And based on the comments generated from online news stories, there are some people who will never be pleased.

Read more.


Detroit Ranks as Best by USA Today


Detroit goes by many names — the Motor City, Motown, Hockeytown, America’s great comeback city, just to name a few. USA Today’s 10Best recently crowned The D with several other flattering titles.

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Sneak Peek: Hair Cuts and Community in Detroit

Detroit innovator Sebastian Jackson of Social Club Grooming Company is one of the featured entrepreneurs on Growing America, a new series on HLN. With the help of MBAs Across America, Jackson explores how to grow a viable business that also contributes to his community.

Watch more here.


Pashon Murray Recognizes Past the Makers that have Paved the Way


Building a company from scratch is more than financing and business meetings. Erin Benzakein (Floret), Pashon Murray (Detroit Dirt), and Hilary Petrie (Egg Collective) speak at the Martha Stewart American Made Summit about the importance of being intimately involved with the creation process of their products, as well as having a social, economical, and environmental impact in their communities.

Watch it here.


Born in Brooklyn, Now Making a Motown Move


The Galapagos Art Space, a performance center and cultural staple in Brooklyn for nearly 20 years, will close this month, another casualty of rising rental prices that its founder says are making it difficult for independent arts organizations to survive in New York…Although the last night of programming is likely to be Dec. 18, the center will have a second life — more than 600 miles away, in Detroit.

Read more.


Why the Millennials Who Left Michigan During a Brain Drain Are Moving Back


Michigan is in the midst of a brain drain. Young people leave their home state for better career opportunities, more efficient and widespread public transportation, and an attractive urban routine. But there are some native Michiganders who have decided to make the move back home despite the state's stigma, bucking the decade-old trend.

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Slows Bar BQ to open location in Pontiac's former Strand Theatre


Slows Bar BQ has signed a lease to open a restaurant in the former Strand Theatre in downtown Pontiac, which is planning to undergo a $21 million renovation and reopen in the fourth quarter next year. 

Phil Cooley, co-owner of Detroit-based Slows, said he was drawn to Pontiac because he was "blown away" by economic development in the city and the restaurant is "ready for this kind of growth."

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Minority Business Access Fund aims to lend $100M to Detroit small biz

Minority business owners in Detroit are getting a new pool of money to dip into, and it's a big one.

The Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council is launching the Minority Business Access Fund, a $100 million loan vehicle offering liquidity assistance to small- and medium-sized businesses. That could mean everything from multi-million dollar automotive suppliers to family owned businesses.

"We hope this will be a great value to the businesses in the neighborhoods of Detroit," says Louis Green, president of the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council.

The Minority Business Access Fund will offer up to $100 million annually to local minority-owned firms. That could be ten $10 million loans or 1,000 $100,000 loans. Green expects to make 75 to 100 loans in the first year.

The Minority Business Access Fund is meant to address the cash-flow needs of minority-owned businesses. Small businesses often find themselves in a cash crunch to meet things like payroll because of hiccups in payments from customers. Minority-owned firms have traditionally been underserved by traditional lending institutions, and this fund is meant to help bridge that gap. Although the fund is sponsored by a council focused on helping minority-owned automotive suppliers, the fund will be open to all comers of color.

"It's open to folks in lots of industries," Green says. "We're talking to folks in healthcare and folks who are working on the M-1 Rail. We're talking to a lot of folks."

Source: Louis Green, president of the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Inventev scores win at Accelerate Michigan hybrid truck technology

Inventev scored a win at the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition earlier this month, adding $25,000 in seed capital to its current fundraising efforts.

"It will really help us with analytics so we can continue to match our product to customer needs," says Dave Stenson, founder & CEO of Inventev. "It will also help us with raising financing."

The TechTown-based startup is aiming to raise $5 million to bring its automotive hybrid technology to market. The company is looking to raise two tranches of money, and Stenson expects to close on the first $1.5 million in the first quarter of next year.
Inventev is developing a hybrid-electric system for commercial trucks. The technology is a new transmission architecture that allows electric machines to operate other aspects of the trucks, such as the hydraulic lift. That way the trucks' diesel engines don't need to idle while they dump their loads. The truck would also generate its own electricity so workers could use it as a generator.

"This isn't just a work truck," Stenson says. "This is a truck that is a job-site tool."

That technology won the Advanced Transportation category of the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, which comes with $25,000 in seed capital. Inventev’s team of five people used the event to sharpen the startup’s business plan and help move the company toward its fundraising goal.

"It's a top-shelf event that is becoming even more well-known and respected in and outside of the state," Stenson says.

Source: Dave Stenson, founder & CEO of Inventev
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Detroit Development Fund lands $10M for small business lending throughout the city

The Detroit Development Fund recently landed $10 million in new funding that will allow it to make loans to more small businesses throughout Detroit.

The downtown-based nonprofit makes loans to small businesses, developers, and entrepreneurs in Detroit and has invested in excess of $27 million to 214 recipients. Of those, 64 percent are minority-owned ventures and 49 percent are owned by women. The fund currently has $23 million under its management.

This summer, the Detroit Development Fund received $10 million in new funding -- $5 million from Goldman Sachs and $5 million from Huntington Bank. The Goldman Sachs money will be loaned to in increments of $100,000 to $250,000. The Huntington Bank money will be used to launch the Detroit Microloan Collaborative, which will make loans ranging from $5,000 to $100,000.

"We're trying to deploy as much as we can with a focus on minority-owned businesses in the city, not just downtown," says Ray Waters, president of the Detroit Development Fund.

The Detroit Development Fund launched in 2002 under a different name. It rebranded in 2010 and has grown its staff since then. The nonprofit currently employs seven people after hiring a loan administrator and a credit analyst over the last year. It is currently in the process of hiring a new lending officer.

Source: Ray Waters, president of the Detroit Development Fund
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Brightmoor residents to open food co-op and community kitchen

Despite the many urban farmers, gardeners, bakers, and makers living in Brightmoor, the northwest Detroit neighborhood lacks a community kitchen. State law requires that many food products be produced in commercial kitchens, thus prohibiting many would-be food entrepreneurs in Brightmoor from selling home-made products at market.

To address this, a group of Brightmoor residents has organized to open a commercial kitchen in their neighborhood, one that will pump up that area's food economy through a co-operative model. It's called the Brightmoor Artisan's Cooperative and Community Kitchen, and if all goes right, they'll have opened their doors by April 2015.

After a number of conversations, members of the community identified the need for access to a commercial kitchen and decided earlier this year to purchase a building. After a successful a crowdfunding campaign, the group purchased the building at 22739 Fenkell Street, a 7,000 sq. ft. building split into three storefronts, at a price of $18,000 in the recent Wayne County foreclosure auction.

The group says that the building's previous owner -- a man who owns the liquor store next door -- is contesting the auction, though the co-op is confident enough in the sale to move ahead with their plans.

"Brightmoor has seen some tough times, but things have been improving in the past half decade," says Nicky Marcot, chairperson of Brightmoor Artisan's Cooperative and Community Kitchen. "The kitchen might bring businesses back to the Fenkell corridor and help create a vibrant and stable commercial district. This could be a catalyst."

In addition to the commercial kitchen facilities, the group plans on utilizing storefront space for a cafe or restaurant and a store where local food makers can sell their products. Classes for adults and children are also planned.

Source: Nicky Marcot, chairperson of Brightmoor Artisan's Cooperative and Community Kitchen
Writer: MJ Galbraith

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

D:hive design director launches own firm, Good Done Daily

You could say Andy Kopietz is a victim of his own success.

Kopietz has been working as a designer in Detroit for the last several years, most recently as the design director for D:hive, an organization serving as a welcome and help center for all things Detroit. Earlier this fall, D:hive announced it was splitting into two different organizations, which meant neither one could afford its own design person.

"I'm kind of designing my way out of a job," Kopietz says. "I have been a designer for 10 years, and I felt it was a good time to make a change."

That change was founding his own design company, Good Done Daily. The boutique graphic design firm is working with a number of local organizations, including the New Economy Initiative, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Midtown Detroit Inc. (the branding work for Dlectricity), and the Hudson-Webber Foundation.

"It's been very challenging because I have a full-time design job (the D:hive split doesn't take place until January) and I have a full-time business," Kopietz says. "I have been trying to straddle that line the best way I can."

He wants to grow Good Done Daily into a business with an employee or two next year. He also wants to open a Good Done Daily studio.

"I have started to look at office space in the Jefferson-Chalmers area," Kopietz says.

Source: Andy Kopietz, principal of Good Done Daily
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

As startup scene grows, Detroit faces new challenges


Internet memes typically don’t reflect complex urban issues or hint at long-running race and socioeconomic issues. Yet, upon glancing at the White Detroit Entrepreneurial Guy meme, a viewer can tell. It’s a response to often misguided public giddiness over “revitalizing Detroit.”

Read more.




With an energy and vitality that are hard to resist, Detroit is America’s great comeback city. In recent years, billions have been invested into revitalizing downtown Detroit. A transformed riverfront, bustling nightlife, diverse dining, championship sports teams and a packed lineup of festivals and events make metro Detroit an exciting destination. The newly remodeled and renovated Cobo Center has been transformed into a world-class convention and meeting center. Throughout the $279 million renovation, Cobo has been operating at 100 percent capacity and is ready to host your convention. Be a part America's great comeback city.

Check out the video here.

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