NEI Worktable

The NEI Worktable is a convening of business serving organizations (BSOs) who provide resources to entrepreneurs in Southeast Michigan. As a longstanding community convened by the NEI, it is a space for creating solutions to problems, collaborating, and learning for local professionals who support entrepreneurs. 

Shared Calendar

Why the NEI Worktable started

The NEI Worktable was created over eight years ago by NEI in an effort to create efficiencies and inspire collaboration amongst NEI grantees and other business support partners.  
Today, the convening occurs in-person every quarter with additional biweekly meetings on a virtual platform. The gathering represents over 80 business serving organizations who assist over 6,000 small businesses and entrepreneurs in Southeast Michigan. 

What we do

Discussions at the Worktable can include the emerging challenges in the small business support ecosystem, along with the creation of new resources to improve the way business serving organizations collectively support small businesses. The Worktable allows NEI’s grantees and other business support partners to better understand the work that is being done in different organizations and makes space for collaborations to form. 

To further advance our shared mission of supporting entrepreneurship and small business growth, Worktable attendees participate in Action Groups focused on specific topics. Our current active groups are as follows: 
  • Commercial Space Readiness: Working to improve business owners’ ability to find the right commercial space for their business and sustain in that space.
  • Digital Access: Working to improve digital marketing and operations for small businesses, including education and access to digital tools.
  • Financial Health and Capital Access: Working to create healthy financial management for small businesses and innovate aligned approaches for more patient and flexible capital.
  • Language Justice and Accessibility: Finding and implementing best practices for inclusive language to reach intended audiences, both in English and other languages.
  • Operations: Working on a checklist about best practices for scaling a business.
  • Procurement Learning and Action: Working to increase B2B revenues for our small businesses.

“[Through Action Groups] we’ve been able to collaborate and pilot new business support programming to address systemic challenges affecting the ecosystem, such as the digital divide.” — BSO Interviewee

The NEI Worktable also features interactive workshops that help inform the action groups of the needs of business owners.

“[NEI] has introduced us to more TA providers; allowing us to expand the impact of the wraparound services through referrals.” — BSO Interviewee 

What ecosystem partners gain

“I believe that the voices of the entrepreneurs are amplified, and their concerns become addressed in a comprehensive way…everyone works together collaboratively to help elevate the voice of the small business owner.” — BSO Interviewee 

“The partnerships we have made through NEI has allowed us to be more competitive for other funding and grant opportunities.” — BSO Interviewee 

Outcomes of the Worktable

Worktable participants have created several resources for business serving organizations, small businesses, and entrepreneurs.  
Here are some of the resources and guides that have come from Worktable collaborations: 

How you can join the NBI Worktable 

The Worktable is facilitated by the Business Support Network Office at Invest Detroit. If you are a business support professional interested in collaborating with others, please contact for more information about joining the Worktable.