Detroit’s New Economy Initiative Announces 30 Small Business Winners for the 2nd Annual NEIdeas $10k Challenge: Rewarding Ideas for Business Growth

  • NEI awards $300,000 in grants to 30 small businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park.
  • More than 1,100 small businesses applied to NEIdeas in the last two years, helping them gain access to resources, connections to other entrepreneurs and support for their business.

DETROIT (2 November 2015) – New Economy Initiative (NEI), a special project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM), officially announced today the 30 small businesses from across Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park that were selected to win the $10k challenge during the second annual return of NEIdeas: Rewarding Ideas for Business Growth. The 30 winning businesses will each receive $10,000 awards for a total of $300,000 at a private award celebration this evening.

NEI launched NEIdeas in May 2014 to celebrate existing businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park and reward those with the best ideas for business growth. This was the second year of the two-tiered challenge which has given over $1 million in cash rewards and was open to small businesses at least three years or older. The two types of awards included: $10,000 for 30 businesses grossing under $750,000 annually and $100,000 for two businesses that gross between $750,000 and $5 million annually. The $100k challenge winners will be announced in December.

“We saw many great success stories from the first NEIdeas in 2014, from the hiring of new employees, to building improvements and increased service offerings, which all provide a critical boost for these economic drivers in our community,” said David O. Egner, NEI Executive Director. “We were thrilled to see the diverse range of ideas and businesses that came from this year’s NEIdeas applicants and can’t wait to see their businesses grow and the ripple effect it will have on Detroit’s neighborhoods and economy.”

“Detroit’s turnaround won’t mean anything if longtime Detroiters aren’t a part of it,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “Thanks to the New Economy Initiative’s efforts to support small businesses in our city, we are seeing real growth in business expansion and job creation.”

NEIdeas was operated in partnership with the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC). DEGC participated in the jury process and led an outreach program that featured more than two dozen “Ambassador” organizations and institutions throughout all three cities, providing small businesses with information and guidance throughout the application process.

“Over the past two years, NEIdeas has given us the opportunity to connect with more than 1,100 small businesses in the city,” said Rodrick T. Miller, president & CEO, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. “NEIdeas, with its focus on existing businesses is a critical piece of Detroit’s small business support system. This system is essential in helping every Detroiter participate in our economic expansion.”

The 30 NEIdeas $10k challenge winners represent the innovation and ingenuity of Detroit’s small business market. NEIdeas narrowed down the applicant pool from more than 500 applicants to a select group of semifinalists. A jury comprised of empathetic entrepreneurs, small business leaders, non-profit partners and corporate partners recommended the final winners based on strict criteria including: growth opportunity, businesses’ history and mission, neighborhood impact and good financial standing.

2015 NEIdeas $10k Challenge Winners Include*:

Anew Life Prosthetics and OrthoticsCustom Prosthetics and Orthotics – Detroit

  • Idea: Purchase a new digital scanner to improve modeling, efficiency and effectiveness of artificial limb production.

Astro Coffee LLCCoffee Shop – Detroit

  • Idea: Building renovations including expansion of the outdoor seating area, new front awning and improved retail display.

Benkari LLCPlumbing Contractor – Detroit

  • Idea: Invest in new software to help automate bidding process and increase efficiency. 

Black Pride BeautyHair Weave and Extensions Manufacturer – Detroit

  • Idea: Purchase sewing machines and new equipment to expand and scale manufacturing of proprietary hair extensions in Detroit.

Blessed and Highly Favored Juice BarSpecialty Beverage Shop – Detroit

  • Idea: Upgrade equipment, operational inventory, and marketing materials to improve service and reach.

Brooklynn Brownies with LoveBakery – Detroit

  • Idea: Purchase new equipment, expand inventory and hire new staff to keep up with increased demand.

Building HuggerDesign-Build Contracting Firm – Detroit

  • Idea: Improve workshop and purchase equipment to secure industry expertise and expand their capacity and efficiency.

Cyberoptix Custom Silkscreened Clothing – Detroit

  • Idea: Purchase new printing equipment to expand customer offerings and build competitive market advantage.

DAC Marketing (DBA Crescent PreNeed Funeral Services)Muslim Funeral Services – Detroit

  • Idea: Purchase new vehicle and outfit staff with new uniforms to boost appearance and assist in expansion of the business.

Detroit Denim Co.,Men’s Clothing Manufacturer – Detroit

  • Idea: Purchase new equipment, train staff and hire marketing representative to expand denim repair service.

Detroit Farm and GardenLandscape Retail Facility – Detroit

  • Idea: Purchase a delivery vehicle and materials to expand storage and delivery capacity.

Detroit Vegan SoulRestaurant – Detroit

  • Idea: Expand catering service and increase brand visibility through the purchase of a commercial vehicle.

Fill Good Dental CenterDental Practice – Detroit

  • Idea: Add a new dental chair and X-ray sensor to expand services to youth and offer additional hours of operation.

Goodwells Natural Foods MarketOrganic Food Market – Detroit

  • Idea: Purchase new equipment, grow inventory and marketing services for new bulk herbal apothecary offerings.

Guerrilla FoodCatering and Pop-Up Food Business – Detroit

  • Idea: Build, operate and promote a geographically fixed pop-up food space to increase revenue and expand market.

JP’s Hand Car Wash and Detailing CenterAuto Wash and Detail Shop – Detroit

  • Idea: Purchase prep equipment to increase efficiency and capacity and improve building facade to boost business visibility and safety.

Livingston Family DentistryDental Practice – Highland Park

  • Idea: Renovate building exterior to improve the street front appearance and increase business awareness and visibility.

Motor City PopcornGourmet Popcorn – Detroit

  • Idea: Purchase new cooking and labeling equipment to boost production and bring down wholesale costs allowing for expansion to new markets.

Ocelot Print ShopCommunity Screen Print Shop – Detroit

  • Idea: Buy new computers, graphics software, driers, vacuum table and other equipment to expand offerings and services to new and existing members.

Pot & Box Floral Design & Décor – Hamtramck

  • Idea: Upgrade vehicles to expand delivery, retail and floral service catering to local markets.

Prop Art StudioIndustrial/Commercial Art Studio – Detroit

  • Idea: Purchase a 3D printer to allow low cost prototyping and increase capacity for detail-oriented work.

 Sha-Sha’s Kiddy KornerChild Care – Detroit

  • Idea: Build a brand new computer lab to better serve the current and potential children and families, providing knowledge and internet access to low-income families.

Singing Tree GardenUrban Farm and Tree Care – Detroit

  • Idea: Purchase and add production and storage equipment to expand commercial urban lumber program.

Tamaleria Nuevo LeonHandmade Tamales – Detroit

  • Idea: Purchase new equipment to expand market and offer Detroit made tamales nationally and internationally, as well as hire social media and advertising service to spread the message

Textures by NefertitiFull Service Salon – Detroit

  • Idea: Develop and market a new ethnic hair care product line, build new ecommerce site and market the product through trade shows and social media services.

The Hub of DetroitBike Repair Shop – Detroit

  • Idea: Make improvements to storefront space, including wheelchair accessibility as well as increase capacity and visibility.

The Kid Network Daycare, LLCChild Care and Development Facility – Detroit

  • Idea: Purchase and implement a new creatively focused curriculum and make external improvements to the facility, including updates to playground and planting a garden.

The Social Club Grooming Co. – Barbershop and Community Space – Detroit

  • Idea: Build and stock a retail product area, and add equipment and staff to increase capacity.

White One AutoAutomotive Service – Detroit

  • Idea: Purchase new state of the art wheel alignment system, expand service offerings and add new technicians to meet demand.

 *The 30th NEIdeas: $10k Challenge winner will be announced in the coming weeks.


New Economy Initiative

The New Economy Initiative (NEI) is a $135 million philanthropic effort to help make thousands of ideas the next economic engine by getting entrepreneurs and small businesses what they need, when the need it, in order to succeed and grow. This unprecedented initiative is supported by the following national, regional and local foundations: the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (Detroit), the William Davidson Foundation (Southfield), the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation (Southfield, Michigan), the Ford Foundation (New York), the Hudson-Webber Foundation (Detroit), the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (Battle Creek, Michigan), the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (Miami), The Kresge Foundation (Troy, Michigan), the McGregor Fund (Detroit), the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Flint, Michigan), Surnda Foundation (New York) and the Skillman Foundation (Detroit). The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, which initiated the collaborative, is serving as its administrative home. For more information, please visit


Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC)

DEGC is a non-profit organization that serves as the lead implementing agency for business retention, attraction and economic development initiatives in the city of Detroit. DEGC is led by a 60-member board comprised of business, civic, labor and community leaders. Its 40 professionals provide staff services for key public authorities that offer tax credits and other forms of financing for projects that bring new jobs or economic activity to the city. Among them: the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (DBRA), Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Neighborhood Development Corporation (NDC), Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA), and Tax Increment Finance Authority (TIFA). DEGC also provides planning, project management and other services under contract to the City of Detroit.




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