NEI Story Quick Facts
Grants: ALT Energy Initiative, D2D Business-to-Business Procurement Program Year 2, Detroit Procurement Program, NEIdeas Competition
Grant Amount Total: $1,725,997
Grant Period: 11/13/2009 - 3/31/2015
- Create an environment that is attractive to companies.
- Grow local busines-to-business procurement opportunities.
Through the D2D program, we’re connecting businesses across the city of Detroit.
- Olga Stella, DEGC
Detroit Economic Growth Corporation – D2D
The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) saw a problem in Detroit: large corporations had entrenched purchasing practices, often importing goods and services from outside of Detroit and not looking locally for vendors. The DEGC knew that Detroit companies could provide some of those same goods and services at competitive prices while helping Detroit communities, so they partnered with NEI to form D2D.
D2D is working to change the culture of Detroit businesses to one of mutual cooperation and support by tearing down networking barriers, creating new points of referral, and by exposing Detroit based companies that are hiding in plain sight. D2D helps strengthen and diversify the economic base of Detroit, from the mom and pop shop to big business.
The D2D provides small businesses with essential services and exposure that will allow them to grow and play a larger role in their communities by landing purchase orders from large, Detroit based corporations- and it would not have been possible without NEI support. D2D began as a small pilot program in Midtown, but a partnership with NEI allowed the program to learn from its early experimentation and expand to a city-wide program. D2D is working with large corporations to partner with Detroit small businesses, not because it is charity, but because it makes good business sense. NEI is proud to partner with them.
Clarence Carpenter III
EKS Services Inc.
Clarence Carpenter III
In 2000, Clarence Carpenter left his job and created his own environmental consulting firm, EKS, in the Corktown neighborhood. He was driven by the desire to have employees who felt they were being treated fairly, equally, and were receiving the satisfaction for their hard work that he was not getting at his old job. Doing good work while taking care of his employees and adding to his community is important to Clarence, and is a large reason why he decided to become an entrepreneur.
When Clarence and EKS joined DEGC's D2D program, they almost immediately saw results. D2D provided networking and support that extended beyond just meet and greets. The D2D program took an active role in connecting small Detroit businesses with large corporations that were interested in their work. D2D provided additional support to help the small businesses grow and thrive so that they could meet the new demands from these corporations. Since he opened shop in Corktown, Clarence has seen a lot of drastic changes in his neighborhood, but his partnership with D2D has been almost as revolutionary for EKS. Clarence knows that Detroit will come back, and he is excited that he will be able to grow and play an important role in the City he loves over the coming years.
Good People Popcorn
In Detroit's Bricktown neighborhood, wedged between GM's world headquarters at the Renaissance Center and Greektown, is a small storefront which emanates the incredible smell of fresh popcorn. The store is called Good People Popcorn, run by a team of sisters, Crystal Scott and Sarida Scott-Montgomery, and their cousin, Kimberli Heard. These women, all successful in their own careers, decided to launch their operation because they wanted to share with Detroit their fond memories of making popcorn with their parents. Now DEGC and the D2D program are helping them share that love with corporate and institutional audiences by connecting them to buyers who want to supply events with Good People Popcorn.