CELEBRATING FIVE YEARS
OF SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT
LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR Wow! 5 years and 1000 graduates of the Build course! It’s hard to believe how far we’ve come from that cold January day in 2012 holding our first 8 week business and project planning class in a storefront on Woodward. Participants were there through word of mouth and people we knew. We never predicted the program would take off like gangbusters! Graduate, staff have doubled annually. Now at least 8 courses are running in 7 different neighborhoods at any given time. When we first began, the word entrepreneur just didn’t sit right with us! It didn’t seem to apply to the types of businesses we were attracting to our programs working with. At Build we use the word’s small business, brick and mortar, lifestyle, family, mom and pop, passion, micro-enterprise, or social enterprise. These are better names to describe the companies we worked with. Over the years we have helped to expand the definition to be more inclusive and diverse. In five years, and with less than a million philanthropic dollars invested, our work has yielded mighty results including over 350 businesses and 500 jobs created (or retained). We have been honored by Bank of America with their Neighborhood Builder Award. We are lean, efficient and effective.
The biggest risk is actually not trying. Failure is part of the process. We fail many times a day and learn and grow and evolve and get better. This is called problem solving and having courage to try. - April Jones-Boyle
Beginning this work in 2012 there was a gap in resources, education, and tools for the startup entrepreneurs. The attention and investments were in high tech businesses that were quick to scale. These businesses were ignoring the vast majority of native Detroiters that wanted to start a business in their neighborhood, to hire their chronically unemployed neighbors, fill an empty and blighted storefront, and provide a much needed product or service for their community. We knew that we needed to meet people where they were and that the best ideas for solving neighborhood challenges would come from their neighbors.
Those that participate in the Build Institute are often lifestyle businesses. These are the businesses that create jobs that cannot be outsourced! They preserve OUR culture and keep Detroit unique. They help redevelop commercial corridors and neighborhoods. They create wealth and ownership that stays in our communities. Through honoring the community, deep listening, a continuous feedback loop and trial and error we have developed a robust network of grassroots programs that help people with ideas start and grow small community based businesses. We use a method we call FEBE - for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs. As the founder I am a small business owner. Our executive team, facilitators and speakers are, or have been, small business owners. This experience-sharing is key to our work and the success of our community. A true entrepreneur is never happy with the status quo. We are always looking for ways to make things better, solve problems, learn more, and know more. It’s in our DNA and runs through our veins. We will not sleep or be happy until we try to find a solution. Our method is experiential and iterative. We encourage action and an ethos of DOing! We couldn’t do it alone and are eternally grateful to our funders, partners and especially the great team that works tirelessly everyday to bring access and opportunity where it didn’t exist before. As you read through these pages and look at the beautiful images please keep in mind the blood, sweat and tears of this community. We live and die by our commitment to making Detroit a great place to live, work, play, and own a business for all. So when you are shopping for that next birthday or holiday gift please buy local! We need your support.
April Jones-Boyle Founder / Executive Director Build Institute
Build Instituteâ€™s mission is to empower people to launch ideas and grow businesses by providing access to education, resources, and a supportive, engaged community.
GREAT IDEAS START WITH BUILD. We help people turn their business ideas into reality by providing them with the necessary tools, resources, and support network in Detroit. To date, we have graduated over 1,000 aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs from our classes, many of whom have gone on to start successful businesses in the city. In addition to classes, we offer networking events, mentorship, connections to resources and a nurturing community that allows ideas to develop and flourish over time. With a little support, a lot of hard work, and a friendly nudge small businesses are ready to hit the ground running.
VISION Be a nurturing organization that delivers programs to support Detroit as the global leader in equitable entrepreneurship.
We believe it takes a village to open a small business in Detroit. It takes several different partners to get the entrepreneur and idea ready for launch, and it happens in incremental steps while building confidence and the network of support to sustain the founder and enterprise.
HISTORY Build was started in January 2012 as a program of D:hive, a welcome center and resource hub located downtown. The classes, called Build Basics, are based on national standards for entrepreneurship education. The first class in Detroit was offered in the spring of 2012 and since then demand has grown tremendously. Classes are now offered every season and have expanded beyond the core curriculum to include Build Social, a class focused solely on social entrepreneurship, as well as satellite classes offered in Hamtramck, Livernois, and Grandmont Rosedale.
EQUITABLE ENTREPRENEURSHIP Build Institute is an advocate for equal access to and in entrepreneurship. We uplift and take pride in the diversity of our program and push for the same passion and dedication with those we work with. Build Institute is dedicated to making Detroit the global leader in equitable entrepreneurship. This is one of our founding principles and continues to be our guiding vision. At Build, we are very intentional in how and where we host classes and create a welcoming environment for Detroiters. As a result, 71% of our graduates are women, 45% are African American and 85% are low to moderate income.* *according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Labor criteria.
KEY COMPONENTS TO BUILD’S SUCCESS
ENTREPRENEURSHIPCENTERED DESIGN At Build, we believe in teaching not just parts of entrepreneurship (like how to just have a business plan) but to build an Entrepreneur who thinks about their business holistically. Our motto “for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs” exists because we believe that those who have forged the path can help the entrepreneur think through all parts of their business. We take this mindset very seriously and vet our facilitators and speakers carefully to make sure they have small business startup experience. This approach has been effective in building confidence in program participants, connecting to resources and creating a supportive community where one can start and grow a healthy business.
NEIGHBORHOOD ENGAGEMENT Build Institute knows that the key driver to community revitalization is through small business built by the people who live there and feels the needs. We recognize this need and have taken our programs into Detroit’s neighborhoods and conduct our classes with the neighbors, on the ground, looking to build their business in their own backyard. The goal is to create a hub of economic activity in a localized economy. We do this with the established business owners who are often our facilitators and graduates to help identify the pain points and joys of the neighborhoods. This methodology also allows the participants to see the potential for their own business and get authentic feedback from their peer facilitator.
THE NETWORK OF ALUMNI We know that it takes a village to raise and entrepreneur and it’s equally as important as the education. The peer-to-peer learning and camaraderie allows Build’s participant to share and grow together, forever developing a support network that they can rely upon. The entrepreneurial community we have developed is what set us apart from other organizations and is key to the regeneration of Detroit’s commercial corridors.
THE ECOSYSTEM Any ecosystem for something to thrive needs to be healthy and substantive. Detroit is one of those places where playing together for the greater good is celebrated! We have, and continue to, build an ecosystem that supports entrepreneurs that work cooperatively together for the greater good of Detroit’s small business community. (Just check out our partner page in the back of the book!) Build is proud to be one of the leaders in the local ecosystem and thankful to have partner organizations around funding, legal, accounting, and business supports that we can refer our small business owners to. We know that you can’t build your business alone and want to model, share and showcase how we can create a healthy and helpful support system.
WE HAVE FUN! As Steve Jobs said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” We love what we do!! Helping people realize and actualize their entrepreneurial dream energizes us. We spend a lot of time in classes getting to know one another, making space to build relationships and enjoying the real work it takes to get these ideas into actuality. We celebrate the successes -often with cake!
Full-time Build staff doubles
Build Social launch
Launch first Build class downtown at D:hive
Pilot pop-up retail space opens in D:hive with Pot and Box
Celebrate 2-year anniversary with Detroit SOUP
Build Institute evolves outof D:hive and moves into Repair the World
Launch Co-Starters curriculum
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 200th
Build “adopts” Open City program
Launch of Kiva Microloan Program
First Build Bazaar pop-up marketplace
1000th Build graduate!
Hold first Ready, Set, Build! pitch event Wins Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builder Award
PROGRAM OVERVIEW Build Basics is an affordable, 8-week business and project planning course that meets once a week at various locations throughout metro Detroit. Based on a nationally recognized curriculum and taught by experienced professionals, the class is designed to empower students with the necessary tools and support to turn their entrepreneurial ideas into reality. The class is priced on a sliding scale based on household income and family size with daytime, evening, and weekend sessions offered to accommodate busy schedules. Since it’s inception in January 2012, Build Basics has graduated over 1000 entrepreneurs from across the city,state, and even Midwest. Graduates have launched dozens of businesses and projects in the food, retail, service,and creative industries across the city and beyond.
Co.Starters is a class for an aspiring entrepreneur, or a seasoned entrepreneur looking to launch a new product or service. A project of The Company Lab (CO.LAB) in Chattanooga, the Co.Starters program lasts nine weeks, convening one evening a week for three hours. Unlike Build Basics, which uses a traditional business plan method, Co.Starters help entrepreneurs focus on an idea and prepare it visually through a business model canvas plan. Facilitators are experienced entrepreneurs who are well connected in the business community. The class is for people who are ready, willing and excited to share and work on; and a willingness to study, shape and fine-tune that idea in a supportive, collaborative and welcoming environment.
Build Social trains, develops, and coaches social entrepreneurs in Detroit’s small business community. By empowering local entrepreneurs to create real change in their surrounding communities, The Build Social course helps bolster the growing social entrepreneurship movement in Detroit. The class follows a 9-week timeline and offers a curriculum with a strong focus on double and triple bottom line business practices. Social entrepreneurship is any pursuit of a social mission using commercial means. This program is for innovative individuals who are seeking to start a for-profit company to address Detroit’s social and/or environmental issues, or non-profit organizations seeking to advance and support their missions using a commercial business model to complement their philanthropic operations.
Etsy’s Craft Entrepreneurship Program (CEP) is micro-business training for underemployed, low-income adults with existing creative skills. Students participate in a 5-week, 12-hour training program that guides them through becoming craft entrepreneurs. They learn the basics of starting and running an online business, including pricing, basic accounting, product photography, and marketing. The program utilizes Etsy’s platform for selling creative goods as the real-world learning lab and leverages Build Institute’s expertise in facilitating business development courses and connecting entrepreneurs to relevant local resources.
Open City is a forum for Detroit’s aspiring and established small business owners to learn, network, and exchange information in a fun and lively atmosphere. It was founded in 2007 by Claire Nelson and Liz Blondy and has since then evolved into a leading networking event for Detroit entrepreneurs, with local business leaders in attendance regularly. Each month we meet at Cliff Bell’s, where a select panel of speakers will discuss topics specific to doing business in Detroit, followed by casual networking. Events take place on the third Monday of every month in October through April from 6-8pm. Open City is free and open to all and no RSVP is required.
Build Bazaar is a rotating pop-up marketplace celebrating emerging entrepreneurs from the Build program and open to the Detroit community. From artisanal candles and soap, to fresh baked goods and handmade wares, every event features an exciting and diverse range of local vendors convening at vibrant locations around Detroit. By bringing a wide range of makers, artisans, and micro-entrepreneurs together under one roof. Build produces one-of-a-kind shopping and vending experience. To date, Build Bazaar has hosted over 300 vendors at nearly 20 events across the city. Previous Build Bazaars have been held in partnership with Eastern Market, Livernois Community Storefront, Concert of Colors, Small Business Saturday, and Detroit SOUP and have had over 80,000 people in attendance. Strong partnerships are what make this program thrive.
Pilot, our retail pop-up project supports new and established entrepreneurs eager to launch in a temporary space. From children’s toys to community art classes, our Pilot participants brought fresh and innovative ideas to life in our previous downtown pop-up space at 1249 Woodward.
From ongoing educational workshops to alumni networking events, we know that learning doesn’t stop in the classroom. To support our strong alumni community, we offer professional development workshops, and marketing opportunities including Build Grad profiles online and alumni happy hour events.
Build Institute serves as a Kiva trustee (an organization who recommends borrowers for the Kiva program). Kiva is a crowdfunded micro-loan (0% interest, up to $10,000) focused on character rather than credit, that provides entrepreneurs access to capital to grow their business. The loan (which can be taken up to two times) has repayment terms of up to 36 months & grace periods are available for agriculture businesses. It is funded by hundreds of lenders from around the world in increments of $25.
BUILD CURRICULUM VALUES
Carefully sequenced information, both overall and within each session, built around the need to develop a business plan and designed to make that plan happen. An emphasis on learning rather than on lecturing information. Learning how to learn, learning by doing. Learner voice in ample quantities at least 50% of the instructional “air time!” An exciting mix of “push” (the content) and “pull” teaching (the active engagement of the learners). Emphasis on small group interaction with group size of 2-4 learners. Activities sequenced from more simple to more complex, encouraging reflection and critical thinking – key small business owner skills. A “learning by doing” focus that emphasizes practice and achievement DURING the sessions. Ample opportunities for participants to be listened to, learn from the other participants, and to gain confidence through achievement by design. Belief that everyone will be a full participant in his or her own way.
WHO WE WORK WITH:
1000 BUILD GRADUATES TOP THREE INDUSTRIES
ARTS / CULTURE / CREATIVE
MOTOR CITY MATCH CLASSES
FEATURING OVER 500 VENDORS
COMMUNITY OUTREACH EVENTS WITH OVER 100 PARTNERS CO-STARTERS CLASSES
DIFFERENT COMMUNITY CLASSES
ETSY CRAFT ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM COURSES
NUMBER OF STUDENTS PER ZIP CODE Build has served entrepreneurs from over 103 zip codes across the United States.
BUILD SOCIAL CLASSES
36-45 STUDENTS 26-35 STUDENTS 16-25 STUDENTS 1-15 STUDENTS
OPEN CITY PANELS
55 BUILD BASICS CLASSES
WHO IS BUILD?
Founder / Executive Director
Brand Strategy Manager
Kiva Small Business Advisor
April helped launch the Build program as a founding member of D:hive, where she was Director of Small Business Initiatives. She is the co-creator of the awardwinning Hootenanny kids concert series, the acclaimed Indonesian pop-up restaurant Komodo Kitchen, and the allmom rock band the Mydols, featured on the cable TV show “Family Jewels.” She is on the Kiva Detroit Board and the Ponyride Advisory Board. April is married to Model D co-founder Brian Boyle and is the mother of Carter, Gram Henry, and Rowen.
Yolanda is a Build grad who has Industrial Design and Jewelry Design degrees from the University of Michigan. She owns The D, which features iconic “D” jewelry and is sold at boutiques in Detroit. Yolanda has facilitated Build’s Etsy Entrepreneurship Class. She also taught art classes at nonprofits and at schools throughout metro Detroit. She is passionate about helping entrepreneurs. She is on the board of the James and Grace Lee Boggs School. Yolanda loves traveling, biking, gardening, and reading with her two very energetic children.
Christianne is founder and CEO of urbanize(D), an urban marketing and design consultancy in Detroit. Urbanize(D) helps organizations plan, design and market their brands in the urban environment. Christianne has a degree in Marketing and International Business from Xavier University in Cincinnati. She is on the board of Metro Museum of Design Detroit, the Michigan Chapter of US Lacrosse, and is a member of the Detroit Recreation Advisory Commission. She is a volunteer leader for Impact Detroit and is the director and co-founder of Detroit City Lacrosse.
Native Detroiter Wayne is a Build graduate who worked with the Skillman Foundation Good Neighborhoods, where he launched the Live in Osborn initiative. He has served with Boys Hope Girls Hope, Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, Bravo Bravo, and Detroit Food Academy. He hosts the City Lobby series at the Urban Consulate Detroit. The State Department called on the musician to represent hip-hop music in Turkmenistan. Wayne has been featured in local and international magazines. He studied Communications at Wayne State University and is a first-generation American, with roots in the Caribbean.
Madalyn is a Build Basics graduate who eagerly completed the program for her boutique creative consulting and brand identity practice; she specializes in graphic design & styling for commercial photography. She studied Architecture at Lawrence Technological University and Industrial Design at College for Creative Studies, as well as designed for Crain’s Detroit Business. She collaborates with local creatives on projects such as the internationally acclaimed Flower House Detroit installation. Madalyn loves to garden and cook, explore local art and culture, and is always hunting for vintage treasures.
Razi is a Detroit-based social entrepreneur, design professional, and community activist. He comes from an engineering background where he worked in the automotive and biotech industries and recently completed a fellowship in human-centered design at Civilla. Razi’s other interests span across the spectrum of art, photography, social justice, travel, and storytelling. He has been able to combine his passions for activism, entrepreneurship, and design through various social impact and technology projects.
FACILITATORS DELPHIA SIMMONS
Founder of Thrive Detroit, L3C
Founder of Canvas x Detroit
Serving as Director of Quality Assurance Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS) she also sits as chair of the Kiva Detroit advisory board. Delphia enjoys reading and travel; and is a big proponent of both entrepreneurship and micro-enterprise as vehicles to economic empowerment of households, communities, and cities.
Brandon moved to Detroit from Washington D.C. in 2013 and began engaging the arts community with his paintbrush and his ideas. The fellow Build graduate founded Canvas x Detroit and serves as MASH Detroit’s Engagement Director. He received a Knight Arts Challenge Grant and won Build’s Pilot storefront contest.
Founder of Always Brewing Detroit
Founder of Canvas Legal, PLC
Amanda is currently on the Steering Committee of Foodlab Detroit and an active board member for the Grandmont Rosedale Detroit SOUP. Amanda has two BAs from Michigan State University - one in Communications, the other in Telecommunication Information Studies. Her problem-solving skills are valuable in the classroom.
Erin’s Detroit-based practice focuses on serving startups, small business, and non-profits. Erin took a leap of faith, leaving her corporate law firm to start her own practice and has not looked back. As a sort of accidental entrepreneur, Erin understands the realities of running a small business – the good, the bad, and the in-between.
MARCUS D. HARRIS
Currently pursuing a Doctorate of Business Administration
Co-Founder of Social Sushi Detroit
Marcus’ professional mission is to help urban-based non-profit organizations, small biz, and social enterprises succeed and reach their full potential to maximize community sustainability. Harris holds both BBA and MBA degrees from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
Build graduate and Detroit native Jay began hosting events downtown to introduce people to one another and to sushi, creating Social Sushi. He calls it a “social catering experience” that’s primarily been housed in Our Detroit Vodka. A permanent location will be opening on the Livernois Avenue of Fashion.
Founder of Good Cakes and Bakes
Co-Founder of Brut Detroit
Founder of D:hive
From the time she was nine, April knew she wanted to be a baker. She started her home-based business and took a cake decorating class as well as pursued a Pastry Arts degree at Macomb Community College. She’s a fellow Build Institute graduate and has maximized the growing number of Detroit small business resources.
Nicole founded Launch Exchange as a way to manifest the social change she wanted to see in the world. She is on the Social Enterprise Alliance Detroit Regional Chapter Board and is a Detroit Techstars Community Programs Leader, hosting Startup Weekend. Nicole also founded the Detroit Social Entrepreneurship Meetup group.
Principle at Jacquise A. Purifoy, PLLC
NIKKI PARDO Owner of Global Alliance Solutions (GAS) GAS, a diversity training and consulting company has led Nikki to serve as a panel expert. She serves on the Boards of Birmingham’s Race Relations and Diversity Task Force and Michigan’s Hispanic Police Officer Association. Nikki is a grad of the New Detroit-The Coalition’s Multicultural Leadership Program, ProsperUs, and Build.
Jacquise has legal experience on the state and local levels. The Detroit native’s law practice concentrates on business and nonprofits. In addition to being an advocate for the community, she designs bowties and curates the storytelling series Failure Lab. Purifoy has served on KICK’S Council and the Kiva Detroit Board.
Jeff Aronoff is the former Executive Director of D:hive. He has facilitated Build classes every semester since its inception. To stay directly engaged with the some of the most inspiring DO’ers in this city: its entrepreneurs. He spent his career prior to D:hive working as a lawyer, specializing in public finance and economic development law.
WHAT IS BUILD?
KIRSTEN USSERY DETROIT VEGAN SOUL BUILD CLASS: WINTER 2012
Kirsten Ussery and partner, Erika Boyd, started Detroit Vegan Soul to help people live healthier lives by providing great-tasting, high quality & nutritious vegan food that appeals to all taste buds, while at the same time doing their part to support a sustainable earth. It began as a catering and meal delivery service and is now a 34 seat restaurant located in the West Village. Build Institute helped Kirsten by providing peer support and hands-on exercises necessary for her to determine whether their vegan business idea was viable, and then put together a business plan. This crew is expanding soon to a second location in Detroit’s Grandmont Rosedale community.
“Build Institute helped me by providing the peer support and hands-on exercises necessary for me to first determine whether our business idea was viable, and secondly, to put together a business plan.” DETROIT VEGAN SOUL 8029 Agnes Street Detroit, MI 48214 (West Village) Opened 2012
LISA LUDWINSKI SISTER PIE BUILD CLASS: FALL 2012
Sister Pie has grown from a cottage food business to a national sensation, all while holding firm to the mission of celebrating the seasons through pie in a welcoming environment for both employees and customers. Through her positive connections at previous jobs Lisa discovered that supporting other women and creating a sisterhood-style work environment for them was a no-brainer necessity. Lisa’s experience in her Build class allowed her to feel supported and no longer isolated as a small business owner.
“The isolation and solitude of being a small business owner, especially at the very beginning, can be difficult to experience. Being able to socialize with a group of people going through something similar was so helpful. You felt like you wanted to do your homework for the people in your class, to help inspire and motivate each other.” SISTER PIE 8066 Kercheval Street Detroit, MI 48214 (West Village) Opened 2012
BUILD BASICS Our core 8-week business and project planning class is designed for aspiring and established entrepreneurs. Local experts teach the classes that cover the basics of starting a business. Students leave the class with a completed business plan, a cohort of entrepreneurs in Detroit, and the knowledge and confidence to open a business. Our style is learner-centered, hands-on, and activity based so the entrepreneur not only will be listening, they’ll be doing things too. Each session a student receives a large Build binder that includes lessons, resources and a sample business plan for each business or project to fill out, update and make notes in during class. Build Basics sessions are offered quarterly on a flexible basis: There are daytime, evening, and weekend sessions to accommodate busy schedules. Classes are priced on an affordable, sliding scale based on annual household income and family size. The costs range from $200-$500.
We strive to provide a nurturing environment for Builders both during and after they graduate from our classes. From ongoing educational workshops to alumni networking events, we know that learning doesn’t stop in the classroom. The Build Network after graduation includes • Workshops that partner with entrepreneurial support organizations • Marketing through Build Grad Profiles, social media, and newsletters • Open City networking events • Build Bazaar pop-up marketplace for Build alumni • Weekly Open Office Hours • Alumni Engagement Events + Active Alumni Facebook Group • Deals and discounts from local businesses
“I entered Build on a whim, for a business idea I thought I *might* pursue, at some point years down the road, *maybe*. The energy was so encouraging and the practical lay out of the program made it seem so attainable, that I realized I could do it, that I wanted to do it, and I was off and running in my first commercial space only months after my graduation.”
“Build institute has connected me to the Detroit entrepreneurial community and give me the tools to contribute to the city’s revitalization. The networking opportunities have been an invaluable addition to the classroom instruction. Meeting other individuals with ideas and action plans for addressing the city’s social issues has made my own dreams come into focus.”
SARAH PAPPAS FRESH CUT FLOWER FARM BUILD CLASS: FALL 2013
Fresh Cut is a Detroit specialty cut-flower business servicing local floral designers, restaurants, institutions, and floral-loving individuals. It all started with the idea of providing fresh-cut flowers to restaurants, events and weddings. Sarah Pappas came to Build in the fall of 2013 with that seedling of an idea and launched six months later from her homebased farm. Direct from her yard, she designs and delivers home-grown bouquets across Detroit. And like a flower, business is blossoming and growing with a mix of online activity, supplier orders, special events and walk-up customers.
â€œI was introduced to many people in Build I would eventually come across again while getting my business up and running.â€? FRESH CUT 1764 West Forest Avenue Detroit, MI 48208 (Woodbridge) Opened 2013
ROSLYN KARAMOKO DÉTROIT IS THE NEW BLACK BUILD CLASS: FALL 2013
Detroit is the New Black (DITNB) is a lifestyle brand and downtown storefront. It started with a t-shirt, but has come a a brand, experience and feeling. DITNB has become a destination in Downtown Detroit’s reemerging retail district along Woodward Avenue. Roslyn Karamoko, the founder and CEO, used her background in corporate retail buying to develop a business inspired by Detroit’s fashion history. Her emphasis is on really clean, sophisticated and cosmopolitan designs that are also accessible. A core principle is inclusivity and uplifting Detroit’s entrepreneurial community. The store has become a space for small brands and artists to have a retail platform.
“Build helped me hone in on my market and the customer base that is here, and helped me put all my ideas into a business plan that made sense.” DÉTROIT IS THE NEW BLACK 1426 Woodward Ave. Detroit, MI 48226 (Downtown) Opened 2016
CO-STARTERS A project of The Company Lab (CO.LAB) in Chattanooga, the Co.Starters program lasts nine weeks, convening one evening a week for three hours. Unlike Build Basics, which uses a traditional business plan method, Co.Starters help entrepreneurs focus on an idea and prepare it visually through a business model canvas plan. The class is built for an aspiring entrepreneur, or a seasoned entrepreneur looking to launch a new product or service. Facilitators are experienced entrepreneurs who are well connected in the business community. The class is for people who are ready, willing and excited to share and work on; and a willingness to study, shape and fine-tune that idea in a supportive, collaborative and welcoming environment. Throughout this business model discovery process, participants identify and test business assumptions through customer interactions, develop a functioning business model, learn valuable management and marketing skills, and receive constructive feedback from advisor, peers, and former grads. At the end the entrepreneur will have the tools, framework, and momentum to make their vision a reality-and the best part is that they do it collaboratively and not alone. Classes are priced on an affordable, sliding scale based on annual household income and family size; costs range from $200 â€“ $500.
CO-STARTERS STRUCTURE APPROACHABLE Uses simple, easy to understand language and addresses the full spectrum of adult learning styles. COLLABORATIVE Brings people together to learn from one another, creating a strong network of support for startups. COMMUNITY-CENTERED Helps you and your business benefit from our welcoming community of creative entrepreneurs. PRACTICAL Offers a tangible process for identifying, testing, and adapting business assumptions to create a viable startup, and provides practical steps to launch, rather than theoretical concepts. CUSTOMER FOCUSED Assumes customers should be the primary concern in every aspect of creating a business. INCLUSIVE Helps shape passions into viable and sustainable business models, whether youâ€™re a graphic designer, a jewelry maker, or the next big software success story.
â€œI wanted to leave the class with the confidence to move to the next step, which was either to start the business idea that I had or to start a different idea. I feel more ready to do that now.â€?
APRIL ANDERSON GOOD CAKES AND BAKES BUILD CLASS: WINTER 2013
Good Cakes and Bakes is an organic, all natural bakery on Detroit’s northwest side. Their offerings include a variety of gourmet cakes, muffins, cookies and cupcakes. Their mission is to provide quality baked goods that are wholesome and organic in nature in an environment that is positive, creative, educational and friendly to their employees and community. April took the Build Basics class in 2013 and in the fall of 2015 opened her bakery concurrent with events showcasing the redevelopment of the Livernois Corridor. In the future April would like to offer baking and cooking classes and help establish a neighborhood kitchen space.
“Taking the class really helped me learn how to market my business to others and provided me with a supportive environment to receive feedback.” GOOD CAKES AND BAKES 19363 Livernois Avenue Detroit, MI 48221 (Livernois Avenue of Fashion) Opened Sept, 2013
KYLE HUNTOON HUNT & NOYER BUILD CLASS: SPRING 2014
Hunt & Noyer is a custom furniture and woodworking business located in Detroit’s New Center. They produce original furniture and housewares crafted from American hardwoods and made with reclaimed, repurposed, and upcycled materials. The work focuses on original furniture designs, custom commissions for commercial spaces, and a line of home and men’s accessories. Before taking Build Basics in the spring of 2014, Kyle, a fourth-generation woodworker, was already operating his business, but the class got the business organized and helped him find the right price points for his objects. In the future he would like to move to a larger space and purchase machinery that will allow the business to grow in scale.
“It’s scary to put your business down on paper, but once I did it I realized I was selling at the wrong price and was able to make adjustments. Build really helped me define what I do.” HUNT & NOYER 900 W. Baltimore St. Detroit, MI 48201 (New Center) Opened 2013
BUILD SOCIAL Build Social trains, develops, and coaches social entrepreneurs in Detroit’s small business community. Social entrepreneurship is building a business with a pursuit of a social mission using commercial means. By empowering local entrepreneurs to affect real change in their communities, Build Social helps bolster the growing social entrepreneurship movement in Detroit. The class follows a 9-week timeline and offers a curriculum with a strong focus on double and triple bottom line business practices. This program is for innovative individuals who are seeking to start a for-profit company to address Detroit’s social and/or environmental issues, or nonprofit organizations seeking to advance and support their missions using a commercial business model to complement their philanthropic operations. It is highly recommended that students have either taken Build Basics or have the basic understanding of how to run a business.
TOPICS INCLUDE: INTRODUCTION TO SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP (Definitions, self assessment, key characteristics) IDENTIFICATION AND ASSESSMENT OF SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP OPPORTUNITIES (Brainstorming and evaluating opportunities, creativity and innovation)
“The Build Institute helped me collaborate with other like minded business professionals to create great business ideas. I was able to implement everything I learned right away and hit the ground running.”
SOCIAL VENTURE BUSINESS MODELS (Clients/customers, competitors, industry analysis) SOCIAL VENTURE BUSINESS PLANNING (Purpose of the plan, structures/formats, strategies for success) SOCIAL VENTURE STRUCTURE, OPERATIONS AND RISK (Legal/organizational structure, operations planning, risk mitigation strategies) SOCIAL VENTURE FUNDING, SOCIAL IMPACT INVESTING AND FINANCIAL PLANNING (Venture financing, financial statements, startup costs) SOCIAL IMPACT MEASUREMENT (Quantifying and reporting social value) IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SOCIAL VENTURE BUSINESS PLAN (Putting the plan into action!)
OPEN CITY Open City is a forum for Detroit’s aspiring and established small business owners to learn, network, and exchange information in a fun and lively atmosphere. It was founded in 2007 by Claire Nelson and Liz Blondy and has since then evolved into a leading networking event for Detroit entrepreneurs, with local business leaders in attendance regularly. Join us each month at Cliff Bell’s, where a select panel of speakers will discuss topics specific to doing business in Detroit, followed by casual networking. Events take place on the third Monday of every month in October through April from 6-8pm. Open City is free and open to all and no rsvp is required.
“Open City is awesome. I usually don’t like panel discussions but the people who speak on Open City panels keep it real. I feel they provide honest and informed perspectives.”
BUILD BAZAAR Build Bazaar is a rotating pop-up marketplace celebrating emerging entrepreneurs from the Build program and Detroit community. From artisanal candles and soap, to fresh baked goods and handmade wares, every event features an exciting and diverse range of local vendors convening at vibrant Detroit locations. Build produces one-of-a-kind shopping and vending experience. Build Bazaar has hosted over 30 events with more than 300 vendors. Previous Build Bazaars have been held in partnership with Eastern Market, Livernois Community Storefront, Concert of Colors, Small Business Saturday, and Detroit SOUP, and more than 80,000 people have attended.
â€œThese are the type of events I like to vend at, because patrons know what they want, they recognize good quality, and are not afraid to spend their money for it.â€?
ANDREY DOUTHARD PARAMITA SOUND BUILD CLASS: WINTER 2014
Paramita Sound is West Village’s record store and music label. The shop is revamped house where one can dig up the latest vinyl releases and connect with emerging technology that pushes the typical record store model and emulates the neighborhood hub aspect of barbershops. The concept was to create a space where you can find new vinyl records, meet friends, and share a few beers! The desire is to have Paramita Sound not only be a destination for music enthusiasts, but also a community gathering space. If there’s one thing music always does, it creates a dialogue that encourages people to share their opinions, like a neighborhood barbershop but with music as the foundation.
“I took Build to put some structure around my idea and to grow my network before launching my business.” PARAMITA SOUND 1417 Van Dyke Street Detroit, MI 48214 (West Village) Opened ????
WILLIE BRAKE ALL ABOUT TECHNOLOGY BUILD CLASS: WINTER 2015
All About Technology, a Certified Minority Business Enterprise, is a total solutions provider and value added reseller of IT products and services in Southwest Detroit. They pride themselves on being a leader in the community, offering professional computer sales, service, training and upgrades. Willie Brake is committed to building a bridge across the digital divide by providing computer sales and service for the community. With a loan from KIVA, All About Technology was able to build out their store which also serves as a community hub. Willie also helps youth that are interested in IT gain meaningful work experience by providing job shadows, internships, and summer employment.
â€œBuild allowed me to retool and assisted in strengthening my existing business plan. I left with additional innovative ideas and the ability to understand the financial impact of every decision.â€? ALL ABOUT TECHNOLOGY 6450 Michigan Ave. Detroit, MI 48210 (Southwest Detroit) Opened 2015
Pilot gave me the freedom to focus on things like serving my customers best and fine tuning my business model. I learned a lot about my customer base, and was able to make new connections and build relationships, which is just as important as doing business, in fact, it is doing business.
The PILOT program is a pop-up residency in which retail and service entrepreneurs apply individually, or in groups, for an opportunity to test their brick and mortar viability within a white-boxed, street facing space. It is an innovative and creative way to animate retail space in emerging commercial districts in order to not only give aspiring community entrepreneurs a chance to test their retail potential but also to help prove the market to others. We use the spaces temporarily or on a rotating basis to incubate local and micro-entrepreneurs that will eventually be able to move into more permanent market rate retail/ entertainment districts.
The fact that we were there during the holiday season was perfect for the concept we had. Pilot helped a lot with design and marketing, and it felt like someone had my back the entire time, which was huge, because I never had experience doing retail before. I learned almost every aspect of retailing on the fly.
- Brandon Colvin of Canvas X Detroit
- Kurt Spieles of Spielhaus Toys
I was completely not expecting to learn what I did! After the program I made the choice to still expand in Detroit, but using a work studio structure rather than a traditional retail structure. Ultimately I had to make sure the business was sustainable for me going forward, and lot of these decisions came from doing Pilot. - Lisa Waud of pot&box
BUILD NEXT From ongoing educational workshops, to alumni networking events, we know that learning doesn’t stop in the classroom. Build Next continues to support the growth of our 1,000+ program graduates by providing resources for them to flourish and contribute to their communities. Confidence, validation, and guidance are common benefits of being an alumni. Having launched and grown their businesses, alumni often refer to the community as a “village” or intimate network of like-minded entrepreneurs. Build Next’s purpose is to serve as a convener of Build’s community of businesses, resources and opportunities in order to enhance and grow our graduates both personally and professionally. Build Next connects alumni to entrepreneurial-related events taking place in Detroit and hosts a variety of events and workshops that aid entrepreneurs through their business lifecycle. These include professional development workshops about business operations, to a series promoting personal wellness, or offering exclusive opportunities for product promotions and customer development. Build continues to be a leader in responding to common growth challenges of small business owners and is innovative in offering a platform for peer-based solutions.
“The Build Institute has created a friendly environment for entrepreneurs to grow their business ideas. I have the tools to write a business plan and the confidence to move the business idea to reality. Now, as a BUILD graduate, I have a large network of people, a family, to provide support and encouragement to continue the pursuit of this social enterprise, along with my awesome business partner!”
ALANA RODRIGUEZ MAMA COO’S BOUTIQUE ETSY CEP CLASS: SPRING 2015
Mama Coo’s is a charming upscale resale and vintage boutique, which also carries unique handmade artisan pieces that fit every budget. Lana, a native to Southwest Detroit, wanted to keep her roots local and settled upon a fantastic building in the heart of Corktown. Through Motor City Match she was able to bypass common financial constraints to purchase wholesale items from local artists and makers, thus helping to stabilize the local economy. Continuing to give back to the community through her business, she often participates in events and fashion shows that assist local women and teens.
“The city is coming back because of small businesses, and especially with the (robust) economy, people are looking to shop small. I’m proud to be part of that movement.” MAMA COO’S BOUTIQUE 1701 Trumbull Ave. Detroit, MI 48216 (Corktown) Opened 2016
CONTINUE TO DEVELOP A BUSINESS PLAN
STARTED OR RETAINED MORE CONFIDENT ABOUT BUSINESS KNOWLEDGE/ DEVELOPMENT
89% 97% WOULD RECOMMEND THE BUILD PROGRAMS/ COURSES TO OTHERS
MADE A CONNECTION TO RESOURCES THEY WERE NOT AWARE OF
WANT TO CONTINUE TO WORK WITH BUILD
HAVE COLLABORATED WITH OTHER BUILD ALUMNI
OF BUILD BUSINESSES PROJECTED A PROFIT
Find your niche.
Know what makes your business special and how you stand apart from your competitors
Enjoy your business. Have fun!
Don’t fear failure.
Never stop networking.
Understand success and results take time.
If you enjoy what you do, running your business won’t feel like work.
Grow your business by attending events and meeting new people. You are your business’ best sales person.
Mindset and Positive Attitude. It’s all about
Reach out to mentors and peers.
Keep a village of trusted advisors around you to ask questions and solicit advice.
Constantly seek knowledge.
Continuous learning is key to keeping you and your business current.
When you fail, you grow. If you fail, fail fast and get back up even faster.
Your time may take longer but it WILL come.
Give back to the community.
Giving back is good for the community and for your business. Good public relations leads to new customers and sales.
Don’t give up. It’s not easy being an entrepreneur but you’re the best one to implement your idea.
Start Somewhere. Not Everywhere.
Start small and do that well before scaling bigger.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED: It takes a village to raise a business in the city of Detroit. With over 50 years of disinvestment
and dysfunction arose the need to be resourceful and work together, it takes sometimes 5, 6 or 7 different ESO’s and networks to help an emerging entrepreneur throught he path from idea to launch to grow and sustain. Detroit has developed a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem thanks in part to the great work of NEI and other’s from grass roots to high growth. Detroit is Open for Business and all are welcome and invited, but more importantly is the community and network that the entrepreneur is able to tap into. The peer to peer learning and support is imperative on this journey.
The biggest risk is actually not taking the risk and trying. Failure is part of the process. We fail many times a day and learn and grow and evolve and get better. This is called solving problem and having courage to try.
It is hard, gruelling work to start and run a small business and is not for the faint of heart or thin
Get used to hearing no A LOT. of skin.
Dreams are universal. Opportunity is not.
You have to start somewhere- not everywhere. The greatest asset and curse of an entrepreneur is having so many great ideas. This can lead to one being unfocused and spread too thin. We advocate that you start somewhere and focus, with laser-like precision, on making that a success while listening to what your customers to begin to add. You
can have it all just not all at once. Patience and persistence are key.
Luck favors the prepared. Idea’s are a dime a dozen. No idea is completely unique and original. It’s the individual and hard work behind the idea that sets it apart.
Execution is key. You have to be your own biggest fan. No one will love your thing more than you.
The entrepreneurial path is unique to each individual and is not linear like a ladder but more chaotic like a jungle gym. You take a step
forward and a step to the left then 3 steps forward then you fall on your face and do it again. It’s not a math problem where 1+1=2 every time and if you follow that you get to win and be successful. If that was the case we would all be billionaires like Marc Zuckerberg. Entrepreneurship is more of an art and many factors go into success and failure.
THANK YOU! We would like to express the deepest appreciation for some pretty amazing people that have been instrumental in our success: First and foremost our families, the rock solid foundation that keeps us grounded in love and joy. The D:hive team- Jeff Aronoff, Jeanette Pierce and Andrew Kopeitz. We will never forget our 3 years of innovation and experimentation in that storefront on Woodward Ave. Downtown Detroit Partnership- For providing structure and a solid foundation. Repair the World- Especially Ben Falik, Stephanie Morgan-Sterenberg and the fellows for welcoming us into your space with open arms and being such great roomies. Enoch Elwell and the Co.Starters team for being such thoughtful and transparent partners. Your approach to this work is inspiring and transformational. Josh McManus for your vision and foresight and for believing in us before we did. All of the many advisors, mentors and advocates that gave so generously of your time and wisdomâ€“ In no particular order: Yodit Mesfin Johnson, Regina Ann Campbell, Leslie Lynn Smith, Rachele Downs, Delphia Simmons, Jessica Meyer, Nikki Pardo, Helen Johnson, Chris Grindam, Katy Locker, Carla Walker Miller, Amy Kaherl, Becky Davenport, Esther Marshall, Romy Gingras, Elizabeth Garlow, Jess Daniel, Brian Boyle, Lara Galloway, Karen Evans, Jacquise Purifoy, Bonnie Fahoom, Melanie Piana, Tiffany Douglas and Amy Haimerl.
THE JOSPEY FAMILY FOUNDATION COFFEE AND (_____) ARTIST VILLAGE
2701 Bagley Avenue Detroit, MI 48216 buildinstitute.org email@example.com Build Institute is an affiliate of the Downtown Detroit Partnership Executive Director April Boyle Art Direction Claire Dâ€™Aoust and Amy Kaherl Editorial Support Christianne Sims Photographer Heather Saunders Contributing Photographers Matt Chung Nick Hagen Andrew Kopietz Wayne Ramocan
Thank you to our sponsor for making this publication possible.
ÂŠ 2017 Build Institute All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without consent is prohibited. Printed in the USA.
To mark the Build Institute’s five year anniversary, Build created this book to highlight the accomplishments of the prominent graduates fro...
Published on Mar 28, 2017
To mark the Build Institute’s five year anniversary, Build created this book to highlight the accomplishments of the prominent graduates fro...