News & Events

Mayor’s Motor City Match program at 2 years: Nearly $4M in grants to support 87 new & expanding small businesses

August 14, 2017

  • Eight rounds of grant awards leverage $24 million in total new neighborhood business investments.
  • 78% of winning businesses are minority owned
  • 3 Round 8 awardees include representation from all seven of Detroit’s council districts

DETROIT, August 14, 2017 – Mayor Mike Duggan and Motor City Match celebrated two years of help for new or expanding Detroit neighborhood businesses by announcing 13 more matching grant awards totaling $500,000.


Today’s awards ceremony was part of a day-long series of events commemorating the two-year anniversary of the Mayor’s signature small business program, including the Round 8 cash award presentation, tours of past winning businesses, and a reception that will showcase participating Motor City Match businesses and other partners. The Round 8 winners are located in a wide variety of neighborhoods across the City of Detroit, including: Rosedale Park, Islandview, Bagley, Southwest, We Care Community, Boston Edison and Jefferson.


Every three months, Motor City Match connects new and expanding businesses with Detroit real estate opportunities and other resources needed by entrepreneurs.  Since the Mayor launched the program in early 2015, more than $3.9 million in grant awards to 87 winners has leveraged a total of $24 million in Detroit’s neighborhood commercial corridors.


“In two years, Motor City Match has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs along the path to realizing their dream of opening their own business in Detroit,” said Mayor Duggan.  “This program is bringing new life to vacant commercial strips across the city and new opportunity to our neighborhoods.”


The impact of the Motor City Match program after two years has been significant.  In all, 763 entrepreneurs have received some form of assistance.  Of the winning businesses through 8 rounds of Motor City Match, 78% are minority owned.  Twenty-five new businesses have opened and another 48 under construction or soon to be under construction.


The 87 grant-winning businesses so far are projected to create a combined total of nearly 700 new jobs. Among the Round 8 winners is Ken Brown, owner of Simply Breakfast on West McNichols, who plans to create 50 jobs, 30 percent of which will be reserved for returning citizens. Part of his goal is to provide returning citizens with the time, tools, and training to make a successful transition back into the community.


“All these men want is access to an opportunity,” said Brown, who has worked with returning citizens as part of a job readiness program held in conjunction with statewide corrections facilities. “Motor City Match is a wonderful program to help provide resources to entrepreneurs and our restaurant wants to provide resources to all of our employees, which includes a livable wage and benefits.”


Round 8 Winners:
Food is a theme of many of the cash awardees in Round 8, including six specialty cafés or restaurants, a mushroom farm and two microbreweries.

  • Batch Brewing Company, 2841 E. Grand Blvd., $65,000
  • Simply Breakfast Restaurant, 7526 W. McNichols St., $50,000
  • Vernor MC, 7649 W Vernor, $45,000
  • Bar Botánica, 14522 E. Jefferson Ave., $40,000
  • Big Mama’s Southern Kitchen, 19644 Grand River Ave., $40,000
  • Detroit Mushroom Factory, 13832 Joseph Campau St., $40,000
  • Rosedale Beer & Bistro, 18910 Grand River Ave., $40,000
  • The Congregation, 9321 Rosa Parks Blvd., $40,000
  • O’Neal Contracting Group, 17160 Wyoming St., $35,000
  • The Vernor Café, 4110 W. Vernor Hwy., $35,000
  • Lacquered, 18685 Livernois Ave., $25,000
  • PizzaPlex, 4458 W. Vernor Hwy., $25,000
  • Tot Town Child Development Center, 8932 Greenfield Rd., $20,000


“It’s great to have more places to mix, mingle and eat in Detroit,” said Michael S. Rafferty, Vice President, Small Business at Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC). “Restaurants and cafés generate foot traffic and can be the seeds for walkable neighborhood development around them, so we are happy to support these businesses.”


Along with the 13 Cash grants, Motor City Match is providing assistance to entrepreneurs who need help writing a business plan, finding a space or planning a renovation.  Other Round 8 award levels included the following:

  • 50 Business Plan Awardees
  • 27 Space Awardees
  •  8 Design Awardees


Past winners return for celebration
Many of the 25 open MCM businesses were represented at the milestone awards ceremony.
Mutual Adoration, the site of the award presentation, is an artisan manufacturing company that moved into a former U.S. Post Office at 14500 Kercheval Ave., just east of Chalmers. Owners Clare Fox and Wayne Maki reclaim wood from Detroit reconstruction projects and turn it into furniture and household accessories. The new production operation and a soon-to-open retail store were made possible in part by an earlier Motor City Match grant of $35,000.


Clare Fox, co-owner of Mutual Adoration, believes now is a perfect time to own a business in Detroit because of the support that she and Maki have received. “Detroit is our hometown and we love the people here. We are continually inspired by the talent, warmth, and drive our community has,” Fox said. “There’s such a strong support system in Detroit right now for the maker/business community.  This is something that doesn’t exist everywhere. Detroit has such an immense history of design, innovation, manufacturing, and business. Recognizing what has come before really pushes us to continue pursuing our goals and making the best work possible. ”


Amina Daniels, an entrepreneur and awardee in Round 4 also spoke to the crowd about her experience opening her innovative cycle spinning and fitness center in West Village. Daniels said Motor City Match offers much more than the cash she received. Just as important was the business know-how to get her fitness community off the ground in Detroit. She said that the DEGC’s Small Business team has also remained a critical resource for her as the business grows.


“You are so focused with building your business and seeing the progress every day that where they have really helped is with some of the strategic assistance,” Daniels said. “It’s an incredible program.”


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. For more information about the program and how to apply, please visit The Economic Development Corporation for the City of Detroit approves the awards, and the small business team at DEGC manages the Motor City Match Program. It 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 September 1, 2017 to October 1, 2017. Application details are available at


[EDITORS NOTE: High resolution portraits of each of the Round 8 Cash Match awardees can be downloaded from this DropBox folder: ]

For a list and map of all 25 Motor City Match businesses that are now open, use this link.