News & Events

10 Businesses Share $500,000 in Motor City Match Grants to Start, Expand in Detroit

October 13, 2015

DETROIT – Mayor Mike Duggan announced today the first 10 businesses that will receive a combined $500,000 in grant funding through Motor City Match to help them start or expand in Detroit.

“The companies we’re announcing today are on the leading edge of Detroit’s growth,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “These are companies that will be renovating neighborhood buildings for their businesses, creating jobs and serving the community.”

Launched by Mayor Duggan earlier this year, Motor City Match connects new and expanding businesses with Detroit’s quality real estate opportunities and provides them with the funding and technical assistance to help them open.

Funding for the ten grant-winning businesses ranged from $10,000 to $100,000 to help fill gaps in capital needed for the build out or equipment purchase at their locations. Two companies received $100,000 grants, the maximum allowed through Motor City Match. Each Match Your Cash grant winner must remain in Detroit for at least two years.

“There is not another program like Motor City Match anywhere in the country,” said Linda Forte, chair of the Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit board of directors. “This $500,000 investment from Motor City Match will help these 10 companies leverage a combined $2.8 million that will be invested to grow in Detroit.”

Detroit Training Center is a vocational education organization that has provided construction training and licensing to more than 750 students since 2012. The company plans to open a second location near Loraine and Warren Ave. Programs at the new location will include a utility worker training program and a heavy equipment diesel mechanics program.

J & G Pallets, which manufactures new and recycled pallets, is a family-run business that began with one pallet in the backyard of owner Les Lance’s home. The funding will support improvements to the company’s new facility at 6500 Mack Ave.

Other grant winners include Artesian Farms, a vertical hydroponic farming business located in the Brightmoor neighborhood; Mama Rita Foods, a restaurant and wholesale distributor of foods from owners Araceli Rodriguez’ native San Luis Potosi in Mexico; and HI DEF GRAPHFXS, which provides design, print and marketing services from its new location at Meyers and Puritan Rd.

More than 150 buildings, representing 1.7 million square feet of space, and 350 businesses applied to the first Motor City Match application round.

“We have been extremely encouraged by the diversity of applicants,” said Duggan. “We have Motor City Match properties all across the city, and business applications have come from Detroit, Southeast Michigan and across the country. In addition, nearly 70 percent of the businesses that applied are minority-owned, and more than half of applications are for women-owned businesses.”

In addition to the 10 grant winners, 87 businesses will receive business planning assistance, expert guidance on the renovation of their space, match-making with Detroit’s top available properties and other assistance to help their business get off the ground.

“Motor City Match is designed to help take businesses from idea to open,” said Detroit Economic Growth Corporation CEO Rodrick Miller. “We have winners with a great business idea who will receive help developing a business plan, others will get help finding the right property for their business, while those that have a location picked out will receive technical support to plan and budget for their needed renovations.”

Seven business winners in the Make a Plan award category will receive expert assistance to help get their location ready to open. The Make a Plan business winners range from restaurants and retail to printing and food production.

Make a Plan winner Gina Martocci plans to move from Los Angeles to open Sweet G’s, a coffee shop and bakery on Brush St. near New Center. Motor City Match will provide technical assistance to plan for the renovation of her building.

“There are a lot of properties across the city that have great potential, but business owners need help determining what needs to be fixed before they can move in. Motor City Match is providing the technical support to guide businesses through that process,” said Miller.

The 37 winning businesses in the Make a Match category all have a plan for their business, but are looking for a location in Detroit. Each business will receive match-making with top available real estate and financial planning assistance.

Make a Match companies include growing Detroit-based businesses like Detroit Denim Co., which is looking to move out of its incubator space at Ponyride, as well as entrepreneurs like Amina Daniels who has plans to open LiveCycle Delight, a contemporary cycling studio.

There are 49 individuals who applied to Motor City Match with strong business ideas but need help creating a plan before they can move forward. These individuals received Get Ready awards, which provide business planning courses. Several of these winners have already started their first classes through the Build Institute and ProsperUs Detroit.

How to Apply

The next applications window for businesses looking to apply to Motor City Match open on Dec. 1 and closes Jan. 1. Qualification requirements, program guidelines and other application details are available at

Motor City Match Funding Partners

Funding for technical support services comes from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). CDBG funds have been allocated by the City of Detroit to the Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC), which is administering the program on behalf of the City. Detroit Economic Growth Corporation provides staff to the EDC.

Motor City Match is also supported by several philanthropic partners including John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Erb Family Foundation, Kresge Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, the New Economy Initiative of Southeastern Michigan, Bank of America, and Fifth Third Bank.