Photo: Freep

Vice President Joe Biden joined Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan today at ceremonies where 15 Detroit entrepreneurs earned Motor City Match grants to open or expand their business in the city.

Since the program was launched nearly two years ago, Motor City Match has distributed nearly $3 million in grant funds to more than 60 local businesses and assisted more than 570 entrepreneurs.  This sixth round of grant awards, totaling $600,000, is the largest amount ever offered in a single round since the program’s inception.

Every three months, Motor City Match connects new and expanding businesses with Detroit real estate opportunities and provides them with the funding and technical support needed to help them succeed.

 “Vice President Biden and the Obama administration have been tremendous friends and supporters of the city of Detroit, so it’s great to have the Vice President in our city one more time to participate in this great event,” said Mayor Mike Duggan.  “The Motor City Match program is just one example of how federal support is helping Detroit to grow its economy by supporting its entrepreneurs.”

Motor City Match is funded with more than $7 million in federal community block grant funds distributed to Detroit, as well as with city funds approved by Detroit City Council and support from local foundations.  

The program has helped to create a strong pipeline of businesses in various stages of development.  More than 570 entrepreneurs have received assistance through Motor City Match, including more than 60 that have received grant funds.  So far, 15 MCM businesses have opened or expanded and 17 more are under construction with openings expected in 2017.

Among the winning MCM businesses so far:
·        76% are minority owned
·        54% are minority-women owned
·        68% are women owned
·        62% of are owned by native Detroiters

In the program’s sixth round, grants ranged from $10,000 to $75,000 and winning businesses include:
·        Youth empowerment center
·        Artist’s incubator
·        Several restaurants and cafes
·        Custom furniture and housewares manufacturer
·        Metalsmithing and jewelry making studio
·        Bookstore
·        Massage therapy center

Among the Round 6 recipients is Karissma Pringle, a young designer and creator of precious and semi-precious metal jewelry, who will be opening a design and manufacturing studio in a Quonset hut in the True North art-centered development on Grand River Avenue. Pringle is a Detroit native who has grown an international reputation for her skills. She returned to Detroit to expand her business, which will include casting services for other jewelry designers and a retail space.  Her $35,000 grant will help with purchasing equipment and other startup costs.

As Motor City Match progresses into its second year, businesses are opening or expanding into neighborhoods that have seen very few new businesses open for a long time, said Mayor Mike Duggan. “Detroiters always have had an entrepreneurial spirit and Motor City Match is helping more of them to live out their dream to become their own boss and play a larger role in Detroit’s comeback.”

Along with grants, Motor City Match provides assistance to entrepreneurs who need help writing a business plan, finding a space or planning a renovation.  Other Round 6 award levels included the following:

·        50 Business Plan Awardees

·        26 Space Awardees

·        8 Design Awardees

Today’s awards presentation was held inside a Motor City Match winning business, which re-activated a vacant Detroit Police Department precinct headquarters into a training center and business hub. The Detroit School for Digital Technology (DSDT) is located in the old Detroit Police Department Third Precinct building. DSDT is a post-secondary school focused on 21st century media technologies, including video, graphic design, 3D printing and coding. Jamie Kothe, school director and CEO, was a Motor City Match Round 1 Space awardee and a Round 2 Cash awardee. Funds from the Cash award supported the renovation of the DSDT space.

“Motor City Match has exceeded our expectations and is quickly becoming a national model for how to revitalize neighborhoods through small business and support for diverse urban entrepreneurs.” said Detroit Economic Growth Corporation President and CEO, Rodrick Miller.

Applications are available on the first day of each financial quarter.  The next application window for building and business owners to apply to Motor City Match will be open from March 1, 2017 to April 1, 2017. Application details are available at


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