The reality TV show, Shark Tank, has reinvigorated entrepreneurship in America. That’s the same thing DTE Energy wants to do in Detroit and its neighborhoods.
Its business pitch competition, Bright Ideas for Neighborhoods, aims to help small business owners with bright ideas grow in Detroit’s North End. The North End is the home of DTE’s Caniff Service Center where the company is investing in outreach programs like Bright Ideas for Neighborhoods to inspire local investment in businesses.
In the second year in a row, DTE selected the North End to hold the business pitch competition. The event, which was held at Greater New Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church on Owen Street, had seven contestants who represented a variety of businesses that included tax accountants to concierge services to a fishery.
More than 150 people witnessed four business owners win a total of $7,000 in cash awards.
The first place winner was Tamika Reeves, owner of Transition Family Services, who received $3,000. Transition Family Services is a private practice counseling facility in Southfield. The judges connected with her vision of opening an office in the North End to serve the community. She works with clients dealing with mental health issues suicide prevention, marriage and couple counseling, motivational interviewing, autism and developmental disabilities, and mental health counseling with specialization in anxiety and ADHD.
“I am so excited to have won the competition and I thank DTE for putting this on,” says Reeves. “I look forward to taking my business to the next level of growth. This has been great experience for all of us who participated.”
The second place winner was Allante Taylor, owner of A Taylor Media, who received $2,000. The company is a Detroit-based multimedia conglomerate that specializes in crafting customized content for clients in a variety of industries. Taylor wants to introduce the trade to local residents and create internships and entry-level positions for North End residents.
Two business owners tied for third place. Each received $1,000.
- Eugena “Gena” Johnson, owner of Candle Bliss Creations, which produces scented candles.
- Kimberley Wilson, owner of Liveworks – CDC, a mobile service that collects bodily specimens that would be made available for the North End.
The judges included:
- Trevor Lauer, president and CEO, DTE Electric
- Lynette Dowler, president, DTE Foundation
- Meagan Dunn, director community outreach & partnerships, Henry Ford Health Systems
- Dr. Ken L. Harris, president and CEO, National Business League
- Bryan Kieler, senior vice president, market manager Community Development Bank, PNC Bank
- Kamilia Landrum, executive director, NAACP
- Tom Lewand, CEO, Shinola
Editor’s Note: This small business feature is sponsored by Bank of America.
To learn more about Bank of America’s many programs and resources visit: https://www.bankofamerica.com/smallbusiness/business-financing.go.