Eastern Market Growing Communities offers micro-grants to help small businesses flourish

Eastern Market Growing Communities offers micro-grants to help small businesses flourish

Growing Detroit’s small businesses is essential to revitalizing the city and its neighborhoods. Oftentimes, those small businesses need a leg up to get them to the next successful rung.

Eastern Market Growing Communities (EMGC) knows that. Over the past five years, it has invested $520,000 in micro-grants to spur neighborhood revitalization and small business development. The grants are available for businesses within the Eastern Market Corporation and the Detroit Community Markets network.

Dan Carmody, president, Eastern Market Corporation, talks with grantees.

This year 16 small companies were awarded $58,319 in micro-grants for equipment, land, district business signage, canopies or lighting. The businesses either have a connection to Eastern Market or the Detroit Community Markets network of urban growers in Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck.

Applications are now open for the 2018 micro-grants, which can be used to enhance businesses including cash to purchase signage, display stands, other equipment, or land and in-kind support to improve marketing, strengthen accounting, or address legal issues.

Online application submission began March 20 and ends Friday, April 6. The applications will be reviewed from April 9 – April 13.

Here are the eligibility requirements:

  • Businesses that sell in the sheds at Eastern Market. Business must be current in rent and other obligations and have completed one complete season at Eastern Market.
  • Eastern Market District businesses (bricks and mortar retail, wholesale or production facilities). Business must own or lease a facility in the district bound by Canfield St., Service St., I-75 and Chene St.
  • Detroit Community Markets businesses that have completed one complete season at a neighborhood market
  • Detroit Kitchen Connect participants – business must be current in rent and other obligations
  • Urban Growers, which operates on land owned outright or secured by a permit or lease in Detroit, Hamtramck or Highland Park

Click here to apply.

Eastern Market Growing Communities is funded with donations from Citizens Bank, the Robert & Toni Bader Charitable Foundation, Skidmore Studio and Eastern Market Corporation (EMC) in collaboration with crowd-funder IOBY.org.  EMGC and IOBY.org are teaming up again this year to give grantees to get an increased amount of funding to support their business organizations through a crowd funding page on the IOBY.org platform. For each dollar raised, EMGC will match it up to a maximum of $3000 per grantee.

Christine Quane, regional food hub director, Eastern Market Corp., talks about the grants for small businesses.

Crowd funding training runs from April 16 – April 27. The soft launch of the fundraising campaign will run from April 28 – May 13. The official start of 2018 EMGC fundraising campaign begins May 14 and ends June 22.

The final crowd funding amounts with matching awards will be announced June 30.

In addition, Skidmore Studio offered $50,000 of pro bono work for rebranding, merchandising, display and media strategy services for no more than four food and/or beverage companies.

New for 2018, EMGC is teaming up with two organizations to provide additional services to awarded grantees. Momentum Bookkeeping will offer pro bono Quickbooks/chart of accounts setup and training for up to five awardees. Miller Canfield PLC will provide pro bono legal assistance for five awardees.

The maximum matching grant available for any building is 50 percent of the cost of eligible improvements and architectural fees up to $25,000. The typical match is $10,000. Your 50/50 matching grant will be awarded when the work is approved by EMC staff and, in some cases, a city inspector.

2017 Eastern Market Growing Communities grantees.

Here’s the list of the 2017 EMGC grant recipients and their funding projects: 

  • Beaverland Farms – refrigeration and equipment to expand mushroom business
  • Detroit City Distillery – strategic branding and tradeshow deliverables from Skidmore Studio
  • Detroit Food Academy – a 6-quart Hobart mixer
  • Detroit Peppers – equipment to prevent pest pressure and damage on his farm.
  • Eastern Market Brewing Co. – façade signage, lighting and overarching brand story connection and growler and can design from Skidmore Studio
  • Food Geek Foods/High 5 Salts – industrial spice grinder
  • Fresh Cut Detroit Flower Farm – a tractor
  • Ile Oko Farm – equipment to start mushroom operation on farm
  • Lady Jane Gourmet Seed Co. – point of purchase display units for retail grocery outlets
  • Love, Earth, Herbal Farm – a lawn mower, a pack shed, a 3 line cultivator, and wheel hoe
  • Lush Yummies Pie Co. – an industrial juicer and a new brand identity, which includes a new logo, font suite application of new brand on sample pieces and new packaging design from Skidmore Studio
  • Michigan Frozen Foods – façade mural and new brand and branding strategy from Skidmore Studio
  • Real Food By Bianca – a new parcel of land for farming
  • Russell Street Deli – a piston filler and other equipment for their wholesale soup production.
  • TheMushroom Factory – reach-in refrigeration, metal racking and a water filtration system to expand mushroom production
  • Young Sprouts – raised $390 for their farming organization




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