Application Technical Assistance:
Advancing Community Businesses
Introducing the Advancing Community Businesses program, presented by Michigan Central in partnership with Build Institute and ProsperUs.
This program is designed to assist small business owners with customized training in digital skills and web development, capital education, and direct access to new grants and business loans. Participants will also receive one-on-one coaching with proven business mentors to identify and accelerate your top business priorities.
In the spirit of collaboration, Michigan Central is working in partnership with Build Institute and ProsperUs to bring the Advancing Community Businesses program to business owners in the neighborhoods around Michigan Central. Build and ProsperUs bring extensive experience in assisting Detroit entrepreneurs and small business owners with education, mentorship, technical assistance, and capital resources.
To ensure a customizable program experience, the Advancing Community Businesses program offers a variety of educational training courses, mentorship options, and access to loans and grants.
The program design allows for participants to select which offerings they would like to participate in based on their availability and interests. While we encourage businesses to take all the courses that are offered, we recognize that some may be more applicable to your particular business needs. As such, the menu-style program design will allow selected participants to choose what works best for their needs.
Digital + Web Training
Build Institute and GoDaddy are offering ‘Empower by GoDaddy,’ a national program for business owners to grow their online business presence and knowledge of e-commerce platforms. Topics include branding your domain name, business evaluation, search engine optimization, content creation, e-commerce, best-customer marketing, customer service and sales, cyber-security, and social media.
Build Institute’s Capital Education Workshop is designed to help business owners with obtaining additional insight of capital loans & grant processes. Participants will increase their understanding of capital lending products, capital terminology, stages of business, steps to capital readiness & access, and solutions for helping their businesses develop, sustain, and grow.
Business Mentorship & Coaching
ProsperUs Detroit’s business mentorship program offers business owners individualized coaching sessions and the co-creation of individualized technical assistance action plans to meet your priority business goals. Business owners will work with a mentor to assess business operations, management, finance, digital practices and their physical space (if applicable) – as a basis for implementing an action plan.
Capital Grants & Loans
Build Institute and ProsperUs will co-manage all grants and loans through the Advancing Community Businesses program. Each partner organization offers specific training courses that enable participating business owners to be eligible – please see Program Guidelines for details. Eligible participants may access capital in the range of $5,000 – $20,000 in the form of grants and loans. Final capital award amounts will depend upon the number of program participants and their level of participation. In addition, Build Institute and ProsperUs will evaluate and allocate exact Grant and Loan award amounts for their respective program participants.
Neighborhood Focus Area
If your business is located within the Michigan Central neighborhood focus area (see map), you may be eligible to participate in our new Advancing Community Businesses program. Please refer to our Program Guidelines for eligibility requirements.
- You will be leaving the Michigan Central Website and entering a third-party platform for the Application submission.
- No personal data will be stored by Ford or Michigan Central.
Q. My business is operating with established sales. Does it also need to be registered with the State of Michigan?
A. Yes, all businesses who will be considered for this program must be registered with the State of Michigan.
Q. My business has been registered with the State of Michigan for 3 months, am I eligible to apply?
A. No, businesses must be registered for at least one year and up to 10 years to be eligible.
Q. My business is registered with the State of Michigan. Do I need to have 1 or more employees to be eligible to apply?
A. Yes, businesses must have at least one full-time employee to be eligible.
Q. My start-up business concept would benefit from the program in order to launch – am I eligible to apply?
A. No, the program requires businesses to be registered for at least one year with the State of Michigan and have an established track record of sales to be eligible.
Q. My business meets all the criteria, but it’s located outside the program focus area. Am I eligible to apply?
A. If your business is located in close proximity to the focus area and provides goods and services to residents within the focus area, then yes you should apply. The selection committee will give preference to qualified businesses within the focus area and may select businesses outside the focus area if spaces are available.
Q. My nonprofit organization would benefit from the offerings of this program. Am I eligible to apply?
A. No, the program is designed to serve independent, private sector businesses.
Q. I need assistance with my application, how do I get my questions answered?
A. Please contact a member of our program team for assistance.
For additional information on the Accelerate Small Business program, please see the program guidelines for details.
Application Technical Assistance:
Program Eligibility & Details:
Jennifer Gomez, Michigan Central
Digital / Web Training & Capital Education:
Lisa Grace, Build Institute
Business Mentorship & Financial Literacy:
Christina Foster, ProsperUs