Detroit’s support system for small businesses just got even larger thanks to two local solution-based organizations.
Earlier this year, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and Detroit Means Business partnered together to create BuyDetroit, a procurement portal program designed to connect local supply chain companies with Detroit-based suppliers. BuyDetroit has successfully provided necessary aid to over 200 Detroit-based businesses since its debut in April and is now hosting its first in-person networking event connecting Detroit small and mid-sized businesses with major buyers.
“The main impetus for this program is to help [Detroit-based small businesses] obtain some sort of structured sustainability,” said Keyra Cokely, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Procurement & Technical Assistance Manager. “Having everything centralized in one place and having all of these different opportunities, is going to be key to their success.”
Designed like a trade show, the “Meet the Buyer” event will connect buyers with vendors who are promoting goods and services that can meet the specific needs of potential investors. Exclusive in nature, a select 75 small-owned businesses in the city of Detroit will be chosen to participate.
The competitive essence of the application process is a direct result of strict requirements passed down from larger businesses.
“These companies have so many requirements and in order to make it so that these businesses garner those contracts, we have to make sure that those businesses meet those requirements by infusing lots of technical assistance and support,” said Cokely.
Cokely encourages all potential participants to keep hope alive no matter the outcome of their application.
“Even though there is a limit to how many businesses we can select, there are still a number of opportunities available to those who don’t make it to the ‘Meet the Buyer’ event to participate in and attend other networks that will help build them up,” said Cokely.
Interested businesses will be required to meeting the following benchmarks:
- Apply at degc.org/BuyDetroit before the application deadline on June 30
- Be registered in the BuyDetroit Portal
- Be an existing Detroit-based business
- Be in business for a minimum of two years
- Have an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number
- Be in good standing with the state
- Have a manufacturing facility (not home-based)
- Have licensed trades (if applicable)
- Provide references
Buyers are also being asked to meet certain criteria including being a valid company for at least five years and being headquartered in the United States. Buyers who need professional, janitorial, construction, IT, manufacturing, and food, product, and produce services are encouraged to attend.
After the event, eligible companies will be selected to move forward to attend a “Pitch the Buyer” event where networking opportunities will also be available.
Cokely says the support provided to select businesses doesn’t stop after the BuyDetroit-hosted events.
“All of the businesses who are offered an opportunity to move forward to the ‘Pitch the Buyer’ event will receive free technical assistance and if they don’t meet the necessary financial requirements based on the buyer who selected them, we will get them pre-approved for lending with the help of our local CDI’s, and we will also help them identify services they may need to improve upon,” said Cokely.
To access the procurement portal, along with training videos, eligibility requirements, registration details and other information visit www.degc.org/buydetroit/.