It’s no secret Detroit’s neighborhoods need more businesses if they are going to reach their full potential and contribute fully to the city’s ongoing revitalization.
With that in mind, the City of Detroit will create seven new deputy district managers for business, one in each City Council District. Their goal will be to build and improve the relationship between neighborhood-based businesses and the city. With the approval of City Council, the seven positions will join the Department of Neighborhoods and are expected to be filled by the end of January.
The addition of the deputy district managers should be a great help to the current small shops such as Social Sushi TheHUB profiled recently as well as attract new business to the neighborhoods..
The deputies will act as liaisons with city. They will help neighborhood businesses navigate sometimes-confusing city services like permitting, licensing, zoning and others, connect them to funding sources and find new opportunities for entrepreneurs to attract or start new businesses or expand existing ones.
They will also will keep track of prime locations for new businesses, connect new businesses to established businesses in the community and work to create a stronger business community across their districts.
“Hiring deputy managers for business was a suggestion that initially came out of a community meeting, where small business owners said they wanted a point person to help them work through the city’s programs and services,” says Mayor Mike Duggan. “These deputy managers are going to help business owners in our neighborhoods work through any red tape and get connected to programs that will help them grow.”
The deputy managers will also help businesses apply for city programs like the Motor City Match grants program and Motor City Restore façade improvement program. In addition, they will direct them to relevant city requests for proposals and help identify other resources to improve business operations.
Collaboration and sharing information are also be essential so the deputy managers will compile and share data and stories of success to document results and promote their district’s businesses.
To build strong relationships with the businesses and the neighborhoods, the deputy managers will make between 350 and 400 visits to local businesses in their districts each year.
“Milton Manufacturing has been in business at the intersection of 7 mile and I-75 for 70 years. In that time, we’ve seen our neighborhood go through dramatic change,” says Milton Manufacturing CEO Shelly Green. “Feeling like the needs of businesses in our neighborhood are on the radar of the Mayor’s Office, and having a way to communicate and work with the Mayor’s Office, is something of considerable value to businesses like ours.”