In 2021, NEI launched a three-year $22 million fund to strengthen an inclusive small business support network of nonprofit business support organizations (BSOs) in Detroit, Hamtramck, Highland Park and other Wayne County communities. This network provides small businesses with inclusive access to capital, practical assistance, information, and trusted connections to business resources. The new fund builds on NEI’s focus on existing and new small businesses under 50 employees that are navigating the challenges of COVID’s impact and looking ahead for growth opportunities.
NEI accepts grant proposals from organizations on an invitation-only basis.
The events of 2020 called for a drastically different grant-making program. As a result, NEI facilitated nearly $5 million of pandemic support. The ways funds were granted needed to change with the threat of COVID-19 and the inequities it made clear that had always existed. This, coupled with the global resurgence in the movement for Black lives, necessitated a new approach.
Past Grants (2007-2019)
Beginning in 2007 with a $100 million commitment, NEI has invested more than $120 million in more than 14,000 companies, representing more than 35,000 employees. Its grantmaking has been unusual; NEI did not make grants to what already existed but funded the creation of what has become a nationally-modeled inclusive small business support network. See all previous grantees in our Annual Reports, and browse the history of NEI at NEInsights, a learning platform for other communities wanting to activate equitable strategies for small business growth.