13 Detroit small businesses win grants

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A new round of small businesses have received Motor City Match cash grants and the 13 winners expressed their gratitude for the program on Wednesday.

The 18th cycle of the program offers a total of 63 business and building owners assistance with financing, design, development or planning. And a total pool of $500,000 will be distributed to businesses that receive cash grants.

“What comes out of this round is that we have a lot of people ready to go,” Motor City Match program director Drew Lucco said. “It’s been two years since we last toured, and people are moving during the pandemic. People haven’t slowed down.” Lucco said inflation was impacting construction costs and some businesses needed a financial boost to overcome the hurdle.

The 13 companies that received grants of $25,000 to $60,000 include Joyola Mei Hair, Fork in Nigeria, Mature, Detroit Dance Center, Supreme Café, RAMP Detroit, The Sandwich Lobby, Dulce Café and Bakery, Welcome Home Yoga & Wellness, Hooked on Books Child Care, Lily’s & Elise, Breadless Corporation, and Detroit Soul.

“Motor City Match continues to give business owners the access and tools they need to break down the barriers between their success and the things in front of them,” said Kevin Johnson, President and CEO. of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. “We are seeing more investment in neighborhood businesses providing services with the goods and services they need, more black and women-owned businesses, more local jobs, and more money to reinvest. in the community we desperately need.”

The City of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, the Economic Development Corporation, and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development are behind the program.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan chats with some of the Motor City Match winners before the start of the ceremony at Detroit Public Safety Headquarters in Detroit on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. Motor City Match awarded $8.6 million dollars in cash grants.  Eighty-one percent of the winners are minority-owned businesses and 71% are owned by women.

“We wanted to create a program for people in Detroit to open their business and succeed in Detroit,” Mayor Mike Duggan said. He said there are plans to continue developing Motor City Match to “higher levels”.

In a press release, Duggan said there are plans to submit a proposal to the city council that would seek approval to use American Rescue Plan Act funds to increase the Motor City Match grant fund.

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“No program in the country has Motor City Match’s impact on creating a new generation of entrepreneurs, and the demand is only growing,” Duggan said. “In the nearly 70 community meetings we’ve had about how to spend our share of ARPA funds, supporting small businesses in Detroit has been something we’ve heard from a lot of people, and so we included it in our plan.”

The program has not announced new winners since January 2020, after a year-and-a-half hiatus, but workshops and other services have continued throughout the pandemic. Applications for the 18th round opened on September 16 and Motor City Match received 377 applications for the four categories, including 87 applications for cash grants, Lucco said.

Joyell Lewis, owner of Joyola Mei Hair fist bumps with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan as he presents her award during the Motor City Match at Detroit Public Safety Headquarters in Detroit on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. Lewis received a $25,000 grant for her salon that will focus on eco-luxury.  Motor City Match awarded $8.6 million in cash grants.  Eighty-one percent of the winners are minority-owned businesses and 71% are owned by women.

Here are some details about some of the grant recipients:

Joyola Mei Hair is owned by Joyell Lewis, who is due to open her hair salon in February at 1432 Michigan Ave. in Corktown. Her goal is to provide a holistic and eco-friendly hair salon experience, where she upcycles hair care waste and recycles refillable products.

Lewis received a cash grant of $25,000, which she plans to use to expand her staff. In the meantime, she will be the only stylist to exploit the space.

“This money helps me with my inventory so I can maintain the business for the year while I build and find staff,” Lewis said. “This money will allow me to have the capital to run the business while being able to hire up to six stylists.”

LaNesha Matthews, owner of Dulce Cafe and Bakery, accepts her award from Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan as Detroit City Council Speaker Mary Sheffield looks on at the Detroit Public Safety Headquarters in Detroit on Wednesday, January 26, 2022 Motor City Match received $8.6 million in cash grants.  Eighty-one percent of the winners are minority-owned businesses and 71% are owned by women.

Mature, owned by brothers Darryl and Dekoven Humes, sells casual and upscale menswear. Mature, which started in 2017, has a philanthropic side, where it showcases and educates young people about style and excellence, and also hosts giveaways. Mature received a cash grant of $30,000.

Darryl Humes said, “This program does a great job of educating you about what’s out there and the opportunities, but it’s also a great opportunity for you to be able to take on funds that can further your vision.”

The Humes brothers plan to expand their business, with future projects coming to Twelve Oaks Mall and a new space in Detroit’s Fisher Building at 3011 West Grand Blvd., where they are currently located.

Detroit Dance Center belongs to Linda Hendricks, Jasmine Woods and Dominique Hamlett. The center is slated to open in the spring of 2022 at 831 Selden St. in Midtown. The owners are dancers themselves and will teach students 18 months and older competitive dance and performing arts.

Detroit City Council Speaker Mary Sheffield talks with Motor City Match winners at Detroit Public Safety Headquarters in Detroit on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. Motor City Match awarded $8.6 million in grants cash.  Eighty-one percent of the winners are minority-owned businesses and 71% are owned by women.

“The vision that we didn’t think would happen — or people weren’t going to participate because of the pandemic — is actually happening,” Hendricks said. “And our dream studio is going to come to fruition, so we’re really excited about that and have this opportunity to be able to open something that the city desperately needs.”

City Council President Mary Sheffield praised each of the entrepreneurs who she says are boosting the economy by hiring locally and giving back. She said the city council feels it’s important to use city funding to support small businesses.

“The first thing that comes to mind is how difficult it is to be an entrepreneur,” Sheffield said. “And often I hear about the obstacles, the access to capital that our businesses struggle with. So I salute the courage, the resilience, the perseverance that it takes for all of you to be successful. I think that embodies in be the spirit of Detroit.”

Motor City Match was launched in 2015 to help entrepreneurs move from a business idea to an official launch. More than 80% of these businesses are minority-owned, 71% are owned by women, and 64% are owned by Detroit residents. The program has distributed $8.6 million in grants since its inception, 37 Motor City Match businesses have opened in the past two years, and 47 businesses are currently under construction. This led to a reinvestment and total investment of $47 million, which Johnson said stayed in the community.

Prej Iroegbu, owner of Fork in Nigeria, speaks about securing the $30,000 grant for his restaurant during the Motor City Match at Detroit Public Safety Headquarters in Detroit on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. Motor City Match awarded 8, $6 million in cash grants.  Eighty-one percent of the winners are minority-owned businesses and 71% are owned by women.

“We have been so blessed here in the city to have the kind of support from our Mayor, from our City Council, but most of all, from you and your spirit. The No. 1 killer of a good idea is lack of capital,” Johnson said. “So what it does is fight against that and allow the city to thrive because of your investment in us and your belief in your city.”

Contact editor Chanel Stitt on Twitter: @ByChanelStitt. Become a subscriber or offer a subscription.

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