World’s First ‘Industry Club’ for Youth Launches in Detroit!

 This September, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan (BGCSM) will open its first Industry Club, offering an unparalleled immersive summer and after-school experience for young people interested in pursuing a career in retail or fashion merchandising. The Industry Club will be co-located with the Détroit is the New Black (DITNB) store at 1430 Woodward Ave, and employ up to 200 Detroit youth each year, ages 14 and up.

“True equality can only be achieved through economic and social mobility and the Industry Club is designed to do just that. Metro Detroit youth will gain the economic, cultural and social capital needed to become college, career and start up ready,” said Shawn H. Wilson, President & CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan. “BGCSM is grateful that Bedrock, Ponyride and DITNB have committed to leveraging their resources to build a blueprint that can be replicated across any industry for our youth.”

Since Détroit is the New Black opened its flagship store in 2016, the signature clothing brand has offered retail floor space to other Detroit-based small businesses. That accelerator concept will continue through the Industry Club project, with Ponyride offering both brick-and-mortar, and e-commerce support to local women and entrepreneurs of color. Five rotating concepts will stock their goods alongside DITNB within the sales space in the heart of Detroit’s historic Woodward Shopping District, and offer online sales through detroitisthenewblack.com.

“The Industry Club is a dream manifested for Détroit is the New Black and such a perfect example of community partners coming together to support the future of the city,” said Roslyn Karamoko, founder of Détroit is the New Black. “I’m so pleased to welcome these partners into the space, which will allow us to expand our programming and mission to uplift entrepreneurs and minorities in business.”

Bedrock’s contribution

Bedrock, downtown Detroit’s largest real estate company, will provide the 2,400 square-foot Industry Club retail space rent free, along with a $25,000 pre-development grant. Bedrock will also work with the Industry Club partners to build a long-term skilled volunteer support program for the small businesses participating in the Ponyride accelerator.

Since the onset of COVID-19, Bedrock has deployed millions in capital to small businesses downtown through three months of rent abatement and offering variable rent structure through the end of the year. As downtown businesses begin to reopen, Industry Club will be an important next step in Bedrock’s small business support strategy, targeted toward women and entrepreneurs of color.

“It has always been our belief that a sustainable, vibrant retail district is a place where strong local brands thrive beside big national names. That strategy needs to expand to elevate minority-owned businesses and help strengthen pathways for their growth and contribution to Detroit’s ongoing momentum. The Industry Club will be an important step in that direction,” said Matt Cullen, Bedrock CEO. “We are excited to work with the Boys & Girls Club, Détroit is the New Black and Ponyride to help create a pipeline for tomorrow’s retail leaders at the Industry Club while empowering Bedrock’s team members to become directly involved in building Detroit’s start up community.”

Industry Club members will gain experience in careers representing every aspect of the retail business development cycle, including stocking merchandise, ordering wholesale and fulfilling online orders, all while earning a wage. Outcomes include 21st Century skills, industry certifications, industry access/mentorship/network and paid job placement

Ponyride’s fourth location

Ponyride, a Corktown-based maker space that recently announced a robust strategic partnership with BCGSM, will offer its alumni to also sell their goods on detroitisthenewblack.com. The Industry Club will serve as Ponyride’s fourth location. BGCSM is the first Boys & Girls Clubs location in the nation to provide co-working and makers spaces for entrepreneurs through this partnership.

“This partnership and overall collaboration provide Ponyride with a unique opportunity to not only incubate but expand small business growth in the city through access to resources, retail space and capital,” said Phil Cooley, co-founder of Ponyride. “This is a powerful move to invest in the hard-working entrepreneurs of Detroit, and we’re excited to be at the table help ensure these opportunities are provided.”

The Industry Club initiative aligns with BGCSM’s efforts to address poverty through economic mobility and continue to have a positive community impact and advancement for youth and their families A second Industry Club is scheduled to be announced later this year.

BGCSM’s Industry Club also launched its limited edition “Industry Club” t-shirts sold only through detroitisthenewblack.com. Available while supplies last.

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