Small Giants Community Launches Scholarship Program aimed at Detroit BIPOC Business Leaders

The Small Giants Community is a Detroit-based national leader in developing purpose-driven entrepreneurs – equipping founders, CEOs, and next-gen business leaders with the skills they will need to excel. Their primary offering is the Small Giants Leadership Academy, a one-year certification program. The training and resources are designed to prepare purpose-driven leaders to execute on their desire to make people and higher purpose their top priorities – allowing them to ensure their bottom line even while caring for people, customers, and the community. The Small Giants philosophy was first outlined in a book by Bo Burlingham entitled Small Giants: Companies That Choose To Be Great Instead of Big.

Small Giants Leadership Academy Certification Program Runs Oct. 2021 thru Sept. 2022

While the Academy has been offered for several years, 2021 marks the launch of the LIFT Scholarship (Leaders for Inclusion, Fairness, and Transparency), an initiative launched by Small Giants Community co-founder Paul Spiegelman to fund the costs of the Academy for leaders of color in underserved business communities.  “The last year and a half raised my awareness of the continued existence of systemic racism in our society and I felt compelled to act.  I recognized that there were many leaders of color who might not otherwise have access to this program or be able to afford the cost.  I also committed to making the sometimes uncomfortable topic of racial equity part of our standard curriculum and training in the Academy.”



Value-added, Purpose-driven Curriculum 

The year-long Leadership Academy includes two-hour virtual sessions each month, one-on-one coaching sessions, and two in-person meetups, including one at the Small Giants Summit in Detroit. In addition, cohorts make behind-the-scenes visits to Small Giants companies. There is also lifetime access to a robust online learning hub full of resources and exercises.

The curriculum is structured to focus on developing authentic and rewarding relationships; creating and maintaining a values-driven culture; diversity, inclusion, and equity; transparency and open-book financial management; accountability with meaningful goals; all to ensure impact on both the emerging leader’s skill set and on measurable business results. More specifically, people-focused skills will be taught, such as hiring, onboarding, supporting, and providing feedback to employees as well as developing managers to be leaders within their organizations.

“The Leadership Academy showed me practical ways to weave our values into our everyday work. Living our values led to a stronger culture which led to more efficient and effective outcomes,” said Torey Carter-Conneen, the CEO of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Virtual Information Session for Applicants

The Small Giants Community is currently recruiting participants for its upcoming Academy cohorts launching in October. The enriching experience is valued at more than $10,000. However, applicants can attend for $1,000 if they are a designated LIFT Scholarship recipient.

To be eligible for the LIFT Scholarship, applicants must be metro Detroit business owners who have been in operation for at least three years and have at least five employees (including owner) or subcontractors. Applicants must identify as either Black, Indigenous or as a person of color, and not have the financial means to attend the academy without that financial support.

The LIFT Informational Session will be held on Tuesday, August 31 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. EST virtually via Zoom. Interested parties can sign up on the LIFT page in advance by visiting

The deadline for application to the Leadership Academy is October 1st.


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