Detroit’s Osborn Business Alliance propels neighborhood business growth

Detroit’s Osborn Business Alliance propels neighborhood business growth

Osborn is a neighborhood on the rise.

The community, which lies on the northeast side of Detroit, has seen its fair share of challenges but knows how to get down to the business at hand:  improving the neighborhoods for businesses and residents alike.

This past Tuesday night, an organization at the heart of that neighborhood, Osborn Business Alliance  received the Community Strategy of the Year Award at the 2017 Detroit Community Development Awards. for its Osborn Business Cohort Program.

“I want to create entrepreneurs who are ready to be successful.” -Paul A. Garrison, Business Initiative Manager, Osborn Business Association

The awards ceremony took place at Cobo Hall, and was presented by the Masco Corporation Foundation, Detroit Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Michigan Community Resources (MCR), and Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD). Leaders from the nonprofit and business sectors flooded the Riverview Ballroom for the annual presentation that salutes both community leaders and residents making real change in and around Detroit.

Members of the community, activists, and leaders attend a meeting of the Osborn Business Cohort Program focused on economic empowerment and improving the area for businesses and residents alike. Photo courtesy of OBA

“I want to be part of the process of rebuilding the neighborhoods,” says Paul A. Garrison, Business Initiative Manager for the Osborn Business Association, who took the helm two years ago. “There are 27,000 residents here and about 9,000 of them youth. I want to create entrepreneurs who are ready to be successful.”

An economist, Garrison says he wants to restore his neighborhood to resemble the one he grew up in , one with recreation centers and Little league baseball teams sponsored by small businesses.  “A lot was abandoned, for 20 to 30 years. During the recession, a lot went away,” he says.

The Osborn Business Cohort Program he heads is funded through the New Economy Initiative and run under the Osborn Business Association, or OBA, which is a division of Neighborhood Business Alliance, started under director Quincy Jones in 2008. The Osborn Business Association started in 2012.

The Osborn Business Alliance designed  its cohort program to work with entrepreneurs to grow and sustain their businesses, thus increasing economic opportunities and quality of life in the area bounded by Eight Mile Road, McNichols, Gratiot, and Van Dyke.

To date, the Cohort Program’s 10 business sessions have produced 154 graduates and $578,500 in capital funding for small business owners.

The six-week program takes place on Tuesday evenings from 6:30-8 p.m. Each session is facilitated by one of four core partners—-the Accounting Aid Society, Miller Canfield Law Firm (also an award recipient Tuesday evening), the Small Business Development Center, and Food Lab Detroit—each offering their area of expertise to educate participants. Other partners, like Lifeline Network Consulting, go over the significance of a business plan. In the sixth week, participants graduate.

“No one else has an entrepreneurial planning program like ours,” says Garrison. “Ours is comprehensive and covers all the areas needed for someone to open up shop.”

The Craft Cafe is one of the many successful businesses that operate in Osborn’s growing business corridor.

Some of those shops have include the “sip and paint” party venue Craft Café, owned by Candace Meeks, and Pharmacy for Less, owned by Mr. Belief Emadamerho, both of whom are awardees from the City of Detroit’s Motor City Match, who OBA works through as well.

The association is proud to have helped establish both minority- and majority-owned businesses.

A total of nine awards are given out at the ceremony, such as Distinguished Pro Bono Service Provider, Youth Spirit of Community Award, and Community Development Organization of the Year, recognizing the hard work of residents and activists in each of the city’s neighborhoods.

For more information on the 2017 Detroit Community Development Awards, visit their facebook page at

To find out more about Osborn Business Cohort Program, visit their facebook page

See more of TheHUB’s coverage on the 2017 Community Development Awards:

Neighborhood redevelopment leader Jefferson East, Inc. honored

Detroit Blight Busters’ recognized for neighborhood turnaround efforts

Detroit Impact Inc./Brothers on Patrol program honored at 2017 Community Development Awards






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