Motor City Match winners focus on developing Detroit’s neighborhoods

By Jay Davis from Crain’s Detroit Business | October 30, 2023

Paula Anderanin, owner of Creative Outlook LLC, took home the $100,000 cash grant award in Round 24 of Motor City Match on Monday.

The common theme of the latest round of Motor City Match winners is a willingness to help boost Detroit’s neighborhoods.

Round 24 Motor City Match cash grant winners, announced Monday, represent business owners in a variety of arenas who are looking to set up shop in nearly 20 areas of the city.

A total of $1.4 million was distributed Monday to planned and existing Detroit businesses — about $1.1 million to 19 business owners working to establish brick-and-mortar locations and another roughly $300,000 distributed to 14 current business owners as part of the Motor City Match “Restore” track to help them make physical improvements to their spaces.

The program also handed out awards to 53 entrepreneurs in its Business Plan, Develop and Design tracks. Those awards offer support for aspiring Detroit business owners including business services, design and architectural support, training and one-on-one advising.

Paula Anderanin — the owner of Creative Outlook LLC, a southwest Detroit-based event, production and graphics company — was the winner of the top $100,000 award. Creative Outlook will operate out of the more than 50-year-old Lithuanian Hall at 3564 W. Vernor Highway to offer rental packages for weddings, quinceañeras, graduations and other private events.

“Getting this award really helps bring the dream together,” Anderanin said Monday. “I’ve been wanting to have a business like this. I love music and art and now I’m able to bring all of this together. This is going to be a corner where there will always be live entertainment and fine dining. I’m super excited.”

Tiffany Dezort earned a $30,000 cash grant to help establish her Eastside Roasterz coffee and tea business. Dezort is a fifth-generation Detroiter who returned home a few years ago after time in Washington, D.C. Coming home was always the plan, she said Monday.

“I’m a fifth-generation east-sider. I wanted to come home and raise my child,” Dezort said. “My wife agreed to that only if I let her open a coffee shop, but I’m going to be the owner. So many of us who were born and raised here left. I really hope that what we see here is the beginning of so many of us coming back to raise our kids in the best city in the world.”

Since 2015, Motor City Match — which is run by the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. — has awarded aid to more than 1,900 businesses, resulting in 162 new brick-and-mortar businesses currently operating across Detroit. Another 61 businesses that have received aid from Motor City Match are under construction.

Motor City Match said it has distributed $15.7 million in cash grants, with a total leveraged investment of $87.4 million. Of the businesses aided by the program, 81% are minority-owned and 71% are women-owned.

Thanks to the a boost from American Rescue Plan Act funding, the quarterly grant pool increased to $1 million for new businesses and $250,000 to existing businesses operating in the city for at least one year. 

“This influx of support demonstrates the transformative impact strategic investments can have in energizing a city’s entrepreneurial spirit,” DEGC President and CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement. “With the continuity of programs like Motor City Match, Detroit’s resilient business community has a bright future ahead.”

City Councilmember Fred Durhal on Monday said the businesses opened by way of Motor City Match are the backbone of the community.

“When we open these businesses, it transforms some corridors that are very important to our community,” Durhal said. “Opening these businesses gives people the sense that Detroit is coming back — and not just the downtown area. Small businesses are the pillars of our community. They hire local folks and help them get back on their feet. I’m thankful for the business owners for wanting to invest in our community.”

Jay Davis

By Jay Davis

Jay Davis is a reporter covering restaurants, retail and small business issues for Crain’s Detroit Business. Prior to joining Crain’s in 2020, Jay held roles covering prep sports, local government, and education. 

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