Fostering the success of black-owned businesses


To Celebrate Black Business Month, MEDC Highlights Growth Opportunities, Initiatives, and Recent Successes for Black-Owned Businesses in Michigan

Established in 2004, Black Business Month is celebrated each August to recognize Black-owned businesses across the country and the enormous impact they have on America’s prosperity. Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, and in Michigan, the MEDC is committed to providing the support, resources, and opportunities they need to grow and thrive.

Increase access to capital

In May, Governor Whitmer joined the MEDC to announce that Michigan had been approved for funding of up to $236,990,950 under the State’s Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). ) of the United States Department of the Treasury.

Michigan was among the first five states to be approved for funding under this round of SSBCI 2.0 awards, which aim to increase access to capital and promote entrepreneurship. Lenders interested in supporting borrowers through the Collateral Support and Loan Participation Program can contact MEDC Capital Access immediately regarding these programs.

In January, the Michigan Strategic Fund Board of Directors approved the SSBCI Michigan Business Growth Fund 2.0 programs and guidelines to access a minimum of $215.7 million in federal funding allocated to Michigan in 2021 through an allocation from the American recovery plan. SSBCI 2.0 is designed to increase the availability of capital for small businesses through loans and equity investments that would otherwise not be available in the market on conventional terms. The program requires partnership with private sector lenders, equity investors and technical assistance providers.

Michigan’s SSBCI 2.0 programs include new requirements to support socially and economically disadvantaged (SEDI)-owned small businesses and very small businesses, defined as businesses with 10 or fewer employees, to continue to ensure the equity access to capital for businesses across the state. In addition to continuing to support manufacturing and emphasizing SEDI and small business loans, the programs will now offer support for start-up financing and technical assistance programs.

Facilitating Connections for Black-Owned Small Businesses

Ensuring equitable economic opportunities for all Michiganders continues to be imperative for the MEDC. MEDC’s Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) program provides access and exposure to the state’s supplier network through matchmaking initiatives and other events. Additionally, MEDC makes it a priority to facilitate connections with traditionally underserved businesses to ensure more equitable access to procurement opportunities across the state.

Throughout the year, MEDC’s PMBC program is committed to supplier diversity efforts, prioritizing opportunities for minority-owned businesses to access sourcing opportunities. MEDC’s partnerships with the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC) and the National Business League are key to providing collaborative resources to businesses.

MEDC also enhances Michigan’s economic well-being through its partnership with the Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which provides business counseling, training, and research to new businesses, existing small businesses, and start-ups. advanced technology.

Based at Grand Valley State University and representing a long-term collaboration between the Small Business Administration and the State of Michigan, SBDC operates 11 regional offices and more than 20 satellite offices. The SBDC provides entrepreneurs and business owners with convenient access to consulting and training services throughout Michigan at low or no cost.

For Michigan business owners interested in exporting or planning to be export-ready, the SBDC also partners with MEDC’s International Trade Services to provide additional export assistance to Michigan small businesses.

Also through the SBDC, Uplift Michigan is part of programs designed to ensure fair access for all Michigan entrepreneurs, including Black business owners.

Secrets to Success with MEDC Support

In honor of Black Business Month, the MEDC recognizes successful Black-owned businesses by participating in MEDC, PMBC, and SmartZones programs and initiatives at the SBDC. These companies are making the world safer, greener and more delicious.

Daddy’s Dough

With the support of his family and community resources, Daddy’s Dough founder MarcQus Wright’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to start a successful cookie business in West Michigan. Not your usual cookie store, Daddy’s Dough products are infused with savory, sweet flavors like peanut butter, butterscotch, caramel, pecans and candy bits.

At first, business flourished at Daddy’s Dough, but like countless small businesses in Michigan, the global pandemic has caused enormous challenges for growth and development. MarcQus knew the pandemic would disrupt its monthly revenue and operations.

Receiving information and professional advice from MEDC’s PMBC team, MarcQus requested – and received – $10,000 from the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce and $10,000 from Kent County.

Dunamis Clean Energy Partners

Founded in 2012 by CEO Natalie King, Dunamis Clean Energy Partners is a full-service leader in commercial and industrial cleaning, lighting and electric vehicle charging. Dunamis specializes in creating energy savings for its customers in the manufacturing, government and healthcare sectors.

Headquartered in Detroit, Dunamis has participated in numerous matchmaking opportunities with PMBC over the past few years and through these events has managed to establish a substantial network of potential corporate clients and business advocates.

The Poke Bowl

Poke Bowl owners salute Jeron Dotson and Justin Bush of Flint, Michigan, and while on a trip to Venice Beach, California, they visited a “hole in a wall” that served as poke. It was there that Jeron and Justin discovered the concept of a poke bowl restaurant and left the West Coast to bring the tasty dish back to their Midwestern hometown.

From there, with the help of Michigan resources such as the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and winning various local pitch competitions, they were able to find a location to start this business and begin The Poke Bowl adventure. .

By engaging with the SBDC early on, The Poke Bowl was able to access a range of advisory and support services, from pitch development and funding resources, to building acquisition assistance. and references from partners.



Javier Evelyn is one of 220 million people worldwide who suffer from severe food allergies. As a result, Javier has seen firsthand how inconvenient epinephrine auto-injectors, popularly known as EpiPens, are for patients.

Looking for business development support, Javier turned to TechTown Detroit, a SmartZone MEDC. Javier met with the team to further develop the idea through mentorship, pitches with key investors and experts, and assistance with pitch programs. Once the initial business plan was created, Javier used resources provided by TechTown to apply for a $7,000 Business Accelerator Fund (BAF) grant, which helped him secure the first IP from the startup.

With the help of resources provided by MEDC, Alerje has created a comprehensive and practical food allergy management platform to help improve the quality of life for patients with severe and life-threatening food allergies.

Quartz water source

Quartz Water Source began in 2019 with a mission to expand global access to safe drinking water. While on a business trip to Israel in 2017, Flint native, angel investor and entrepreneur Jonathan Quarles learned about Israel’s history of thought leadership and water innovation. Jonathan immediately saw the potential for this technology in his hometown, as it could provide a recurring and scalable source of clean water.

When he returned home, Jonathan dove headfirst into understanding the true needs of Flint residents. As a result of what he learned, Jonathan launched Quartz Water Source. Soon after, he turned to MEDC for resources and support.

Jonathan set up his headquarters at the Flint Ferris Wheel where he was given the space and resources he needed to grow the business and its strategy. Throughout the early days of Quartz Water Source, Flint Ferris Wheel and 100K Ideas helped with market research, research, a business roadmap, and marketing materials. University of Michigan students, who worked with 100,000 Ideas, helped support Quartz Water Source’s initial marketing efforts and are now helping with product expansion ideas. In November 2019, the Quartz Water Source team won first place in the Ferris Wheel 10K pitch competition, receiving $10,000.

The Heart of Michigan’s Economy

Much of the state’s economic recovery can be attributed to the growth of small businesses in Michigan over the past two years. According to Opportunity Insight’s Track the Recovery, January 2022 saw Michigan small business revenue increase 24% compared to January 2020, while the country saw a 6.9% increase over the same period. Michigan also saw the fastest small business job growth in 23 years according to the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information, adding 170,000 in the first three quarters of 2021, 59% more than in 2019.

Despite the many barriers that historically marginalized entrepreneurs face, small businesses in underserved communities continue to contribute significantly to Michigan’s economy and often act as the economic engine of the local community.

Building a path to success for minority and underrepresented small businesses will remain an imperative aspect of small business programming at MEDC in order to create a stronger and more equitable Michigan.

Learn about MEDC’s support for Michigan businesses at

Contact us

To contact a business development specialist, click here or call 1.888.522.0103.


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