Frederick Paul II Named Associate Director of Detroit’s Small Business Support Network Office

Invest Detroit, New Economy Initiative (NEI), and the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan have joined forces in an effort to bolster the small business landscape in Detroit, Hamtramck, Highland Park, and other Wayne County communities. As part of this collaborative endeavor, Frederick Paul II has been appointed as the next Small Business Network Associate Director, with a focus on advancing the mission of enhancing an inclusive small business support network comprising nonprofit business organizations (BSOs).

A Detroit native, Paul II brings to the table a wealth of experience as the founder of Fahrenheit 313, Detroit’s hottest sneaker exchange. His entrepreneurial journey underscores a deep-rooted commitment to not only celebrating sneaker culture but also giving back to the community through philanthropic endeavors. Operating his small business on Livernois in Detroit, Paul II intimately understands the unique challenges and opportunities that entrepreneurs face in the city and has dedicated himself to fostering positive change.

Lily Hamburger, director of the Small Business Support Network, lauded Paul’s appointment, citing his genuine entrepreneurial success and community leadership as assets that will lead economic opportunities in Detroit, particularly for women- and minority-owned businesses.

“Frederick Paul’s real experience as a successful entrepreneur and community leader make him uniquely qualified to continue driving economic growth and empowerment in Detroit, especially for historically underserved individuals,” said Hamburger. “His ability to overcome setbacks and his commitment to service make him a valuable addition to the Invest Detroit team and exemplifies the spirit of Detroit.”

In his role as Small Business Network Associate Director, Paul II will spearhead various initiatives aimed at fortifying the local small business ecosystem in an equitable, inclusive, and impactful manner. This includes overseeing convening activities, data collection efforts, and communications with BSOs, which play a crucial role in supporting underserved business owners and fostering business growth across all stages. Additionally, Paul will contribute to the grant fund established by the partnership, assisting in the grant review process, communicating grant recommendations, and evaluating the performance of the business support network.

“I am excited about the opportunity of harnessing my diverse experiences to inspire and uplift aspiring entrepreneurs, hand in hand with the exceptional team at Invest Detroit and other esteemed Business Support Organizations,” Paul II said.

“My commitment is rooted in the belief that through mentorship and collaboration, we can continue to foster an inclusive ecosystem where even those historically marginalized can flourish in realizing their entrepreneurial ambitions.”

The partnership, established in 2021 with a $19.5 million fund, aims to provide small businesses with inclusive access to capital, practical assistance, information, and valuable connections to business resources. Supported by contributors such as the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan, Ford Foundation, Hudson-Webber Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, William Davidson Foundation, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the fund is aligned with NEI’s focus on supporting both existing and new small businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

Since its inception, the Small Business Network and NEI have allocated over $12 million from the Inclusive Small Business Support Network Fund, with a primary goal of empowering underserved and underrepresented entrepreneurs to launch, expand, and scale their ventures.

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