News & Events

Mayor Mike Duggan and Motor City Match announce latest round of small business awards and $500,000 in grants to 13 city entrepreneurs

April 25, 2017

  • Mayor Duggan handed out awards at a child care center that more than doubled in size with help from a previous cash grant from Motor City Match
  • Ten of the 13 matching cash awardees are woman-owned

DETROIT, April 25, 2017 – A Creole restaurant with entertainment, a fitness center, a technology service provider serving Detroit Public Schools and 10 other entrepreneurs were approved today for Motor City Match cash awards totaling $500,000. Ten of those businesses are also woman-owned. The Economic Development Corporation for the City of Detroit approved the awards, and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan recognized those business owners and 80 other owners of current or future Detroit-based small businesses who will receive non-cash assistance from Motor City Match Round 7.

The recognition ceremony took place at Lil Brilliant Mindz, a child care center that used Motor City Match funds from a previous round to more than double its space, and the number of children it could serve. Since the program was launched nearly two years ago, Motor City Match has distributed $3.4 million in grant funds to 74 local businesses while providing assistance for such items as locating a site, securing funding, marketing, and business plan development to more than 500 entrepreneurs. To date, 17 businesses have opened after receiving Motor City Match assistance and 23 more are under construction.

Mayor Mike Duggan said he is thrilled to see so many types of businesses and neighborhoods represented in this round of Motor City Match, including a co-working space in Islandview, a fitness center in Grandmont Rosedale, a soul food restaurant in Morningside and a skin care salon on the Avenue of Fashion.

“We are seeing more and more businesses open up along our neighborhood commercial strips, which is exactly we created Motor City Match to do,” said Mayor Duggan. “We are creating a new culture of entrepreneurism where Detroiter are realizing their dream of opening their own businesses to provide residents access to more goods and services, as well as job opportunities in the neighborhoods.”

Duggan pointed out that Lil Brilliant Mindz is a great example of the effectiveness of the program since it started almost two years ago. Owner Angela Hayes completed the buildout for her expansion in one month.

“Not only did Motor City Match support a growing business, it is helping parents by providing quality care for their children while they are at work,” the Mayor said.

The largest matching grant awarded was $65,000 to support the opening of Gabriel Hall, a New Orleans-style restaurant featuring Creole cuisine and live entertainment at 8002 Kercheval in West Village, next to three previous Motor City Match awardees. Co-owners Dameon Gabriel and Ederique Gouda earned design assistance in an earlier round of Motor City Match. They will use the Match funds as part of the $470,000 total financing for the project.

Among the woman-owned businesses that earned matching cash was Fit4Life Health, a “whole person” fitness consultancy and gym that will offer training, exercise, nutrition guidance, motivation and health workshops. Owner Felicia Maxwell launched the business out of her home in 2013 and has grown her membership base enough to expand to a brick and mortar location. Fit4Life is a past Motor City Match Space awardee, and was awarded $45,000 as a matching grant to help open in the Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood at 19522 West McNichols. The gym will also feature a juice bar, providing space for another entrepreneur to start and grow their business.

In all, the program’s seventh round grants ranged from $20,000 to $65,000. Other businesses earning awards were:

  • SpaceLab Detroit. Co-working space for real estate development-related professions. 607 Shelby Street. $55,000
  • IC Data Communications. Technology service provider. 7404 Dexter. $50,000
  • Coyote Hawk Design Center. Co-working space for professionals in the creative sector. 3106 Bellevue St. $45,000
  • Skin Bar VII. Skin care spa. Kimberly Jones. 18951 Livernois. $45,000
  • Soul 2 Go. Take-out restaurant. 9900 Whittier. $35,000
  • MI Frozen Food. Food processor and distributor. 1820 Mack Ave. $35,000
  • Naturally Glamourous Salon. Hair and nail salon. 19151 Grand River. $30,000
  • Paralee Boyd Salon. Blow-dry hair salon. 3939 Woodward Ave. $30,000
  • Boulevard Kitchen. Restaurant. 2641 W. Grand Blvd. $25,000
  • Sfumato Fragrances. Fragrance maker and boutique. 3980 Second Ave. $20,000
  • Detroit Blows. Blow-dry hair salon. 1234 Library St. $20,000

Every three months, Motor City Match connects new and expanding businesses with Detroit real estate opportunities and other information needed by start-ups.

Along with the 13 matching cash grants, Motor City Match provides assistance to entrepreneurs who need help writing a business plan, finding a space or planning a renovation. Other Round 7 award levels included the following:

  • 45 Business Plan Awardees
  • 28 Space Awardees
  • 7 Design Awardees

Through the first seven rounds of Motor City Match the winning MCM businesses so far:

  • 78% are minority-owned
  • 69% are women-owned
  • 55% are minority-women-owned
  • 61% are owned by native Detroiters

The small business team at Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) manages the Motor City Match Program. DEGC Vice President for Small Business, Michael S. R. Rafferty said, “It is very gratifying to see businesses literally going from idea to open through Motor City Match. Entrepreneurs are coming into the program to get business plan assistance, and after one or more other rounds have earned cash matching grants.”

Motor City Match is funded with more than $7 million in federal community block grant funds distributed to Detroit, as well as with city funds approved by Detroit City Council and support from local foundations. The program has helped to create a strong pipeline of businesses in the city.

Applications are available on the first day of each financial quarter. The next application window for building and business owners to apply to Motor City Match will be open from June 1, 2017 to July 1, 2017. Application details are available at

About Motor City Match
Motor City Match is a unique partnership between the City of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), the Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Competitive financial assistance is supported by a broad partnership of Southeast Michigan community development financial institutions, foundations and corporations.