Motor City Match Grant Program Distributes $500,000 to First Round of Applicants

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On Tuesday, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced the first round of winners who will share a $500,000 grant to help start or grow their businesses in Detroit.

The Motor City Match Program connects connects new and expanding businesses with Detroit’s quality real estate opportunities, and provides them with the funding and technical assistance to help them open or grow.

Funding for winning businesses ranged from $10,000 to $100,000 and is intended to fill gaps in capital needed for the build out or equipment purchases they need to grow. Each grant winner must remain in Detroit for at least two years.

“The companies we’re announcing today are on the leading edge of Detroit’s growth,” said Duggan. “These are companies that will be renovating neighborhood buildings for their businesses, creating jobs and serving the community.”

One of the two $100,000 grant winners was the Detroit Training Center – a vocational education organization that has provided construction training and licensing to more than 750 students since 2012. The company plans to open a second location near Loraine and Warren Avenue, where they plan to launch a utility worker training program and a heavy equipment diesel mechanics program.

Other grant winners include Artesian Farms, a vertical hydroponic farming business located in the Brightmoor neighborhood; Mama Rita Foods, a restaurant and wholesale distributor of foods from owners Araceli Rodriguez’ native San Luis Potosi in Mexico; and HI DEF GRAPHFXS, which provides design, print and marketing services from its new location at Meyers and Puritan Rd.

More than 150 buildings, representing 1.7 million square feet of space, and 350 businesses applied to the first Motor City Match application round.

“We have been extremely encouraged by the diversity of applicants,” said Duggan in a statement. “We have Motor City Match properties all across the city, and business applications have come from Detroit, Southeast Michigan and across the country. In addition, nearly 70 percent of the businesses that applied are minority-owned, and more than half of applications are for women-owned businesses.”

In addition to the 10 grant winners, 87 businesses will receive business planning assistance, expert guidance on the renovation of their space, match-making with Detroit’s top available properties and other assistance to help their business get off the ground.

“Motor City Match is designed to help take businesses from idea to open,” said Detroit Economic Growth Corporation CEO Rodrick Miller. “We have winners with a great business idea who will receive help developing a business plan, others will get help finding the right property for their business, while those that have a location picked out will receive technical support to plan and budget for their needed renovations.”

In the Make a Plan category, seven business winners, ranging from restaurants and retail to printing and food production, will receive expert assistance to help get their location ready to open.

One such winner is Gina Martocci, who plans to move from Los Angeles to open Sweet G’s, a coffee shop and bakery on Brush St. near New Center. Motor City Match will provide technical assistance to plan for the renovation of her building.

In yet another category called Make a Match, the program helps 37 businesses who all have a plan for their business, but are looking for a location in Detroit. Each business will be connected with top available real estate and financial planning assistance.

The 37 winning businesses in the Make a Match category all have a plan for their business, but are looking for a location in Detroit. Each business will receive match-making with top available real estate and financial planning assistance. Some of the winners in this category are Detroit Denim Co., and Amina Daniels who has plans to open LiveCycle Delight, a contemporary cycling studio.

Funding for technical support services for the program comes from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). CDBG funds have been allocated by the City of Detroit to the Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC), which is administering the program on behalf of the City. Detroit Economic Growth Corporation provides staff to the EDC.

Motor City Match is also supported by several philanthropic partners including John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Erb Family Foundation, Kresge Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, the New Economy Initiative of Southeastern Michigan, Ford Foundation, Bank of America, and Fifth Third Bank.

If you have a great business idea, you can apply to the next round of Motor City Match which starts on December 1, 2015 and closes January 1, 2016. Qualification requirements, program guidelines and other application details are available at www.MotorCityMatch.com.

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