Ford's Michigan Central launches small business fund
Ford launched a bootcamp offering training, grants and loans to small businesses near its Michigan Central Station in Corktown.
What's happening: Applications are now open until June 30 for the $500,000 Advancing Community Businesses program, according to a press release provided to Axios.
Why it matters: Small businesses still hurting from the pandemic don't need money alone. They need it paired with individualized mentorship, like one-on-one coaching the nonprofit ProsperUs is providing, executive director Chanell Scott Contreras tells Axios.
- Plus, even more people are turning to entrepreneurship during the pandemic.
- ProsperUs and another business education nonprofit, Build Institute, are managing the new program. It joins a landscape of support that's available to Detroit businesses but can be tough to navigate.
How it works: About 25 entrepreneurs near the train station will participate in classes and mentorship on e-commerce, digital marketing, financial planning, growth opportunities and more.
- At the end of training, businesses can get $5,000-$20,000 each, the release says.
What they're saying: "One of the reasons we chose (these nonprofits) is that they are really leading class in supporting Black and Brown, locally based businesses, and so we know they have a methodology that does that well," Clarinda Barnett-Harrison, community impact lead for Ford's Michigan Central operation, tells Axios.
Context: Dearborn-based Ford is spending approximately $950 million building an electric and autonomous vehicle campus in Corktown.
- This business academy is part of $10 million in investments Ford agreed to commit to the community that its large-scale development will irrevocably change.
- The automaker is funding small business support, affordable housing development, skilled trades and more in a deal with the city under the Community Benefits Ordinance.
Reality check: While Ford has fulfilled or is on track to meet many of its community benefits obligations, it remains to be seen just how much of a ripple effect the Michigan Central campus will have on housing prices. Concerns have been voiced about longtime residents getting priced out.
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