Growing Detroit businesses from idea to open.

$18.1 million

in Grants


Open Businesses


Businesses Served

$99 million

Committed Investment
Motor City Match is designed to assist Detroit entrepreneurs at critical stages of their business development - from idea to open.
Motor City Match connects new and expanding businesses with services and space to grow, providing them with the funding and tools to fuel the city’s entrepreneurial revolution.


Guides new and informal businesses through creating a business plan, registering as the appropriate legal entity, and becoming transactional.


Helps transactional mobile, digital, or home-based businesses refine their current operations to determine the appropriate permanent space for their business to develop.


Matches new business owners that have a location in Detroit with a professional Design team to create the appropriate design, plans, and drawings to begin the build out of their space.


Assists entrepreneurs in the idea or early stage of their business to develop a functional business plan document and the appropriate financial statements.


Access grant funding and related business services for your existing brick and mortar Detroit business.
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About Our Program

After 23 Rounds, the Motor City Match team has served 1,846 businesses with $14.3 million in grant funds.

Of Businesses Owned By Detroiters

Are Minority-owned Businesses

Are Women-owned Business

Program Goals


Create economic mobility for Detroiters through entrepreneurship – increase incomes and grow wealth

Distribute program resources equitably – focus on low to moderate income Detroiters and underserved entrepreneurs

Create jobs for low to moderate income Detroiters and underserved communities

Increase access to capital for minority and women owned businesses

Eliminate blight by re-activating currently vacant space

How we do it:


Get business formalized and transactional earlier

Help businesses find the space appropriate to their model

Communicate clearly with awardees and partners

Provide need-based technical assistance

Provide subject-specific workshops

Facilitate loans from community lenders by focusing on capital readiness

Provide gap funding through grants of up to $100,000

Make connections to other business service organizations
Connecting entrepreneurs with vacant real estate properties.

Program Objectives

Motor City Match was founded in 2015 to help start new, permanent businesses and expand existing businesses in Detroit’s commercial corridors by providing tailored assistance throughout the launch and growth process.

Winning entrepreneurs looking to start or expand their business in Detroit must locate within the City of Detroit for at least three (3) years, provide verification of new jobs created or existing jobs retained, and demonstrate a benefit to the community.

Serving Detroit’s Small Business Community

Building Owner Support

  • Building owners with commercial space available for lease can apply to be listed on the Make-a-Match Map
  • To be listed, a properties must be up to date on city and state taxes, current on water bills, and have no outstanding blight tickets
  • Buildings listed on the Make-a-Match Map will be connected with the Motor City Match businesses looking for space – buildings that Match with a tenant will be eligible to apply for Motor City Match Design or Cash Awards

Two Types of Awards for Business Owners

Awards are funded with contributions from philanthropic partners and allocations from federal, state, and city sources. Awards are subject applicable compliance regulations and guidelines.

1. Technical Assistance Awards

  • The Plan, Develop, & Design Track Awards offer business services, architectural design services, one-on-one consulting, and group classes & seminars.
  • Technical Assistance Awards do not include any direct cash assistance to awardees – instead, the program reimburses qualified technical assistance providers directly for services provided to awardees.

2. Financial Assistance Awards

  • The Cash Track Award offers gap-funding grants of up to $100,000
  • Financial Assistance Awardees businesses must contribute a minimum of 10% of the total project costs in equity investment
  • Financial Assistance Award Grants will not exceed 50% of total project costs

Application Process:

  1. Quarterly Applications

2. 90-day application period

3. 30-days open application

4. 60-day evaluation period

5. Finalists notified within 30 days of application close

Application Open and Close

Award Selection

Applicants Notified By

Sept 1 – Oct 2nd, 2023
Oct 2nd – Dec 1, 2023
Dec 23, 2023
Dec 1 – Jan 15, 2024
Jan 16 – April 1, 2024
April 23, 2024
March 1 – April 30, 2024
May 1 – July 1, 2024
July 25, 2024

Who Can Apply for Motor City Match

For-profit business owners at any stage of development that are connected to Detroit by residency or location.
  • Connected by residency
    • Businesses applying to the Plan or Develop Track that do not have a location in Detroit must be residents of the city of Detroit to be eligible
  • Connected by location
    • Businesses applying to the Plan or Develop Track that are not owned by a Detroit resident must regularly operate from a location in Detroit – example, a vendor at Eastern Market
    • Businesses applying to the Design or Cash Track must have a location secured in the city of Detroit with a letter of intent, lease, deed, land contract, or other legal claim

Which track to apply for?

Who should apply to the Plan Track?  New businesses and informal businesses

Who should apply to the Develop Track?  Transactional mobile, digital, or home-based businesses looking to find a permanent location in Detroit

Who should apply to the Design Track? New businesses with a location needing design and pre-construction services

Who should apply to the Cash track? New businesses that need additional funding to complete construction or existing businesses opening an additional location that need additional funding to complete construction

How are Applications Scored?

  • Initial applications are scored based on 5 criteria – up to 20 points can be awarded for each criteria. Maximum application score is 100 points
    1. Vision and plan for the business based on the soundness, completeness and creativity of the concept.
    2. Experience and capacity of the business owners and key members of the business team.
    3. Market opportunity to meet economic demand and advance business district revitalization.
    4. Community support for new business including benefit to low to moderate income communities.
    5. Leverage of business owner investment and other community investment initiatives in the area.
  • Top scores in the Design and Cash Tracks will be selected as finalists and be required to complete a supplemental application, site visit, and finalist workshop. The finalist application aims to determine the feasibility, readiness, and financial need of each project.
  • Up to 15 Plan Track Awardees, 25 Develop Track Awardees, 10 Design Awardees, and 15 Cash Awardees will be selected each round. Awardees are selected on a quarterly basis.
  • Applications are available in January, April, July, and October. The open application period is 30 days and the evaluation period is 60 days.

Our Program tackles the city’s entrepreneurship challenges by matching Detroit businesses with the necessary support services, funding options, and available real estate.

What Our Program Provides

Classes and Seminars

Develop the skills and know-how in the development of your idea and company. Be prepared for difficult and strategic decisions.

Architectural Support

Our Design track provides business owners with architectural and construction consultation from licensed professionals, helping them to strategize their build out.

Technical Assistance

MCM connects awardees to business services provided by qualified professionals including legal services, accounting & financial planning, marketing, branding, web/digital services, and more.

Gap Funding Grants

Our Cash track connects awardees with appropriate lenders and available capital, then offers grant funding to fill the remaining financial gap.