ProsperUs Detroit, a community development financial institution, recently celebrated the graduation of 21 under-represented entrepreneurs in Inkster. These entrepreneurs represent a diverse range of businesses, including restaurants, food trucks, fitness programs, special event spaces, and even an African-Caribbean grocery store. The graduation was made possible by a $1 million Congressional Community Project Funding award, supported by Representative Rashida Tlaib, which will be used to expand ProsperUs Detroit’s programming and support small business development in Detroit and Inkster.
A Decade of Supporting Entrepreneurs of Color
For the past 10 years, ProsperUs Detroit has been committed to making business ownership accessible and equitable for entrepreneurs of color. The organization provides training, capital, and connections to help launch, grow, and sustain businesses. To date, over 1,400 entrepreneurs have completed one or more of ProsperUs Detroit’s training programs, launching hundreds of successful small businesses across Detroit, Highland Park, and Hamtramck.
Building Generational Wealth and Vibrant Neighborhoods
“ProsperUs Detroit supports aspiring entrepreneurs to realize their dreams of owning a business and breaking cycles of inequity,” said Chanell Scott Contreras, Executive Director of ProsperUs Detroit. “We saw our expansion to Inkster as a natural evolution of our work to support local entrepreneurs who are creating jobs, generational wealth, and more vibrant neighborhoods.”
A Partnership for Success
In collaboration with the Global African Business Association and the Leanna Hicks Public Library, the cohort met remotely for 12 weeks before celebrating their graduation with an in-person ceremony on June 6. Inkster Mayor Patrick Wimberly expressed his excitement about the growth and success of these graduates as members of the local business community.
A Bright Future for Black-Owned Businesses
Since its inception, ProsperUs Detroit has approved nearly $4 million in loans to fuel the visions of neighborhood entrepreneurs. The expansion to Inkster is part of a larger effort to understand and meet the needs of under-resourced entrepreneurs across the state. ProsperUs, along with other key partners, is proposing a flexible, responsive “hub and spoke” framework of technical assistance and capital that empowers existing “trusted connectors” to support entrepreneurs in under-resourced communities, helping them navigate access to local financial and operational resources.