Today, the New Economy Initiative (NEI) announced more than $2 million in grants to drive inclusive small businesses growth in southeast Michigan. The latest round of grants is designed to reach a broader, more diverse group of small businesses while supporting new efforts to increase access to capital and give a voice to small businesses. 

“Providing more dollars and more inclusive support to small businesses is essential to increasing our region’s economic resilience,” said Wafa Dinaro, executive director of NEI. “Our grantees are uniquely positioned to engage underserved communities and increase access to capital and the technical assistance that’s so critical to success, especially for the smallest businesses.” 

The funds are part of NEI’s Inclusive Small Business Support Network Fund to drive small business growth in Detroit, Hamtramck, Highland Park and other Wayne County communities. Grants support access to capital, practical assistance, information, and connections to business resources. Highlights include:  

Spring 2022 Grant Totals $2 Million to 18 Organizations 

This spring’s $2 million in grants provides grants to 18 nonprofit and business support organizations ranging from $72,400 to $180,000 each. 

Four New Grantees Added to Reach More Underserved Populations 

NEI selected four new grantees to reach more underserved populations and entrepreneurs in the region, including the Detroit Regional LGBT Chamber Fund, Grace in Action Collectives, Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center, and the Michigan Hispanic Fund. 

Right to Start to Launch Grassroots Push to Elevate Voice of Small Business in Region 

NEI also provided funding to national non-profit Right to Start to drive grassroots advocacy among small business owners to prompt policy change. Right to Start will partner with the recently formed Michigan Microbusiness Coalition to help raise awareness about long-term policies and systemic changes that are needed to sustain and expand the region’s small business support ecosystem. Right to Start is active in 21 states. 

“Right to Start is a proven, successful program that has helped businesses with ten or fewer employees across the country and now has a chance to have an impact on the Detroit Region,” said Dinaro, who co-chairs the coalition with Michigan Municipal League Foundation President Helen D. Johnson. “Working directly with the Michigan Microbusiness Coalition, Right to Start is going to help elevate the voices of small businesses so that lawmakers can better tailor policy to meet their needs.”  

Pilot Program to Improve Access to Capital Through Mission-Based Lenders 

Four grants will fund the Capital On Ramp Program (CORP), a new NEI pilot program that provides a different way for underserved small businesses to access capital paired with technical assistance. It is designed to improve the number of small businesses that are capital-ready and growth-ready. The four initial CORP grantees are Black Leaders Detroit, Detroit Development Fund, Michigan Women’s Forward, and ProsperUS Detroit Micro Lending. 

Other grantees include:

  • Black Leaders Detroit 
  • Detroit Economic Growth Corporation/BuyDetroit Program 
  • Metro-Detroit Black Business Alliance 
  • Eastside Community Network  
  • E. Warren Development Corporation 
  • Endeavor Detroit 
  • Fair Food Network 
  • Great Lakes Women’s Business Council 
  • Michigan Small Business Development Corporation 

With the latest announcement, NEI has awarded $11 million from the Inclusive Small Business Support Network Fund to date. The fund was launched with $19.5 million of support from funders, including the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Ford Foundation, Hudson-Webber Foundation, J P Morgan Chase, The Kresge Foundation, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, William Davidson Foundation, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

About the New Economy Initiative
The New Economy Initiative is a philanthropic collaboration and initiative of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan that is working to build a regional network of support for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Its mission is to grow an inclusive culture of entrepreneurship in southeast Michigan that benefits all residents and strengthens the regional economy. Learn more at 

About the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is a full-service philanthropic organization leading the way to positive change in our region. As a permanent community endowment built by gifts from thousands of individuals and organizations, the Foundation supports a wide variety of activities benefiting education, arts and culture, health, human services, community development, and civic affairs. Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $1.3 billion through more than 80,000 grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair, and Livingston counties. For more information, visit