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More than 90 percent of small businesses in Detroit rank ”access to capital” as one of their greatest challenges, and nearly as many lack resources for marketing and promotion— but a series of new programs from Michigan Central aims to change that for local small-business owners.

Michigan Central is committed to supporting small businesses that provide an essential source of neighborhood vitality and cultural vibrancy. Through partnerships with the New Economy Initiative, Design Core Detroit, BUILD Institute, and ProsperUs, Michigan Central will provide:

  • For startups: The BUILD Institute will provide capital education workshops for 50 entrepreneurs, and an externship program for 12 small-business owners.

  • For businesses having operated between 1 and 5 years: ProsperUs’ Innovative Capital Fund will provide 0% interest loans for up to 20 small businesses.

  • For businesses regardless of stage: New Economy Initiative’s Marketing Assistance Fund will financially support marketing services through Design Core Detroit’s professional service provider network.

 “Every small business has a unique set of challenges, so we work closely with owners to understand their needs and connect them with experts who provide tailored coaching and services,” said Paul Jones, CEO of ProsperUs.

The Southwest Detroit Business Association and Corktown Business Association will provide neighborhood outreach to raise awareness with local business owners. Michigan Central has committed that at least 51% of all selected businesses will be woman and/or BIPOC-owned.

“We’re committed to supporting the small-business community in our local neighborhoods,” said Michigan Central’s Alondra Carter-Alvizo, Associate Director of Community Engagement. “They enrich our culture, provide jobs, and keep our diverse communities vibrant.”

For businesses having operated at least five years, ProsperUs will provide business coaching for up to 15 entrepreneurs over a two-year period, including up to $4,000 in technical assistance funding.

“We’re grateful to have received technical, financial, and network support from ProsperUs to support our efforts in providing further goods and services from locally owned small businesses in neighborhoods surrounding Michigan Central Station,” said Rohani Foulkes owner of Folk, a James Beard nominated Corktown cafe and market.