One of the challenges often talked about is capitol or investment for expansion for Detroit businesses.
To help meet that need, 134 businesses have been selected as finalists for this year’s NEIdeas challenge, a program described as “rewarding existing small businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park with cash for their ideas for growth.”
This fall, 30 of the finalists will be selected to win $10,000 each for their ideas to grow, and two others will be selected to win $100,000 each for their ideas to “grow big.”
More than 600 businesses submitted ideas by the challenge’s June 1 application deadline.
Over the last two years, NEIdeas has awarded a total of $1 million to 64 businesses and provided all applicants with opportunities to access small business support services. Since its launch in 2014, NEIdeas has engaged nearly 1,800 small businesses representing every ZIP code in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park.
“We are thrilled at both the number and quality of applications we received for this year’s NEIdeas challenge,” said Pamela Lewis, director of the New Economy Initiative in a statement. “The strength of these applications is a testament to the strength and resilience of small business owners throughout the cities of Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park.”
NEIdeas is a program of the New Economy Initiative (NEI), a special project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM), and is run in partnership with the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation(DEGC).
There are chocolatiers, car washes, restaurants, construction companies, marketing firms, manufacturers, boutiques, barber colleges and more in the finalist pool.
Applicants’ ideas for growth include purchasing software to promote their products and services, adding production equipment, building out new facilities, acquiring work vehicles, improving facades, and much more.
For a list of 2016 NEIdeas $10K challenge finalists, click here: http://neideasdetroit.org/home/2016-neideas-finalists/2016-10k-challenge-finalists/.
For a list of 2016 NEIdeas $100K challenge finalists, click here: http://neideasdetroit.org/home/2016-neideas-finalists/2016-100k-challenge-finalists/.
were asked to submit roughly 400 words describing an idea for growth and that idea’s potential to impact the community and create jobs. Businesses grossing less than $750,000 annually were eligible for the $10K challenge, and businesses grossing between $750,000 and $5 million annually were eligible for the $100K challenge.
As for the process, NEI says that before finalists were selected, every application was evaluated by NEI and DEGC staff members as well as an independent jury composed of community leaders, small business owners, and past NEIdeas winners. 2016 winners will be selected from the finalist pool through a similar process.
NEI says that nearly 40 percent of this year’s NEIdeas finalists had applied to the challenge in past years.
In 2015, nearly a third of NEIdeas winners were applicants in 2014. To date, 71 percent of NEIdeas-winning businesses are minority-owned, and 64 percent are woman-owned.
All NEIdeas participants are connected with opportunities to grow their businesses, ranging from workshops designed around different small business needs to 1-on-1 assessments from small business support organizations in NEI’s network of grantees.
An announcement of the winners of the $10,000 and $100,000 cash awards will be made later in the fall.