Michigan Chronicle Small Business Month - Millennials Mean Business

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Small Business MONTH 2024

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Millennials Mean Business Innovation + Influence

Rated as one of the top 10 cities for economic growth potential, Detroit’s talent pool, resources, and international infrastructure are vital in helping new and existing businesses thrive. From innovative thinking to economic success, it all starts here in Detroit with small businesses.

The small minority business ecosystem plays a pivotal role in the growth of Detroit’s economy. Detroit has over 50,000 small businesses started by entrepreneurs of color, the fourth largest in the United States. Small businesses are a vital part of Detroit’s economy, providing nearly 70% of jobs in the inner city. Supporting Black entrepreneurs is an investment in the local economy and Detroit’s spirit.

When we support small minority businesses, we expand pathways to opportunity and generational wealth-building. Small business development offers the Detroit economy an opportunity to support innovative ideas that can help individuals quickly achieve greater economic success.

While launching and sustaining a business can be challenging, Detroit deliberately structures programs and outreach to encourage entrepreneurs and support existing small businesses. This ranges from cutting red tape to connecting entrepreneurs to business support programs, funding sources, and grants.

The Michigan Chronicle’s Annual Small Business Month publication continues to serve as a resource to help small businesses chart their path forward. Our Annual Small Business Month publication provides not just tips and advice, but also in-depth features on entrepreneurs and how they are doing business right. It’s a platform for sharing success stories, best practices, and industry insights, all aimed at empowering small businesses in Detroit.

Stay Positive and Focused!

11 12 Innovation is the Name of the Game: Detroit’s Braid Culture is A Symbol of Artistry and Entrepreneurship

2 Michigan Chronicle | Small Business Month | May 2024
Revolutionizing Economic Empowerment: Black-Owned Businesses Pave the Future of Detroit’s Prosperity A
New Face in the Tech Space: Black Tech Saturdays Celebrates One Year in Detroit

A Black-Owned Café is Expanding to Detroit’s Riverfront

This Summer

It’s been about two years since Charity Dean opened Rosa Detroit on Grand River Avenue in the city’s Grandmont Rosedale Park neighborhood.

It’s a place where nearby residents find comfort not just in enjoying their morning cups of Joe, but also making bonds and establishing relationships with their neighbors and other coffee connoisseurs.

“It’s grandma’s house,” Dean said.

Dean’s great-grandmother, Rosa Malone, was one of the first Black homeowners to move into Rosedale Park in 1973. Her journey to her home in Rosemont was a difficult one, marked by struggle and triumph, as many of the white neighbors and even the homeowner’s realtor did not want integration into this neighborhood. Nevertheless, Rosa and her husband Elijah persevered and successfully purchased the home, where she remained for nearly 46 years.

Now, Dean is taking her great-grandmother’s name and the coffee shop that represents her legacy to Detroit’s riverfront with the addition of a second Detroit Rosa location inside the Residences at Water Square.

amazing opportunity for me and for the organization, I’m super excited about it.”

As the head of the Michigan Business Alliance, Dean was in conversation with the developers of the Residences at Water Square about filling the retail space on the ground floor of the new residential tower, and she said that made the opportunity feel organic and genuine.

would be interested [in the opportunity]. I said, ‘Me. Because I’m obsessed with coffee,’” Dean said.

“That’s similar to how this new opportunity came to be. They were very intentional about wanting to make sure that they had a business that reflected their community and the space and so I’m really excited to hopefully be open this summer.”

The new space will look and feel different than the location on Grand River. While the original Detroit Rosa has that “grandma’s house” feeling that Dean described, the riverfront location will feel more like a city café, where patrons order their coffee and baked goods on the move. It will be accessible to both residents of the Residences at Water Square as well as the general public, and it will provide a respite for people who are visiting the world-renowned RiverWalk. In addition to the coffee shop, there will also be a market stocked with fresh produce, home essentials, and ready-to-eat light bites, making for a unique grab-andgo experience.

“A Black business on the riverfront – that excites me so much. But also, it’s not just going to be Rosa downtown. When Rosa comes, it’s not just Rosa. I’m bringing other Black businesses with me,” said Dean.

“For example, I don’t roast my own coffee. I get my coffee from a local Black Detroit coffee roaster. So now, this opportunity isn’t just for Rosa. My public relations, my lawyer, my other business associates, my graphic designer, my employees, they’re all Black. So, I’m excited for a Black business on the riverfront, but I’m excited to be able to support other Black businesses.”

Dean also made it a point to acknowledge the recent conversations around town about the seeming lack of affordability of the residences that will sit atop Rosa’s new location. Living at Water Square isn’t cheap, with rents ranging from $2,000 to $4,000 for most units.

“I’m Detroit all day. And Black people deserve luxury, too. I talk about this a lot, but sometimes in Detroit we focus too much on the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor,” she said.

“Well, you know it’s interesting. Someone recently asked about the first Rosa location. It’s not something that I necessarily planned for, but just in conversations with the folks in this space, they were really intentional about wanting to make sure that whoever occupied the space is a minority-owned business,” she said. “This is the only retail space in the building, so it’s an

“With Rosa in Rosedale Park, someone reached out to me because the coffee shop in the neighborhood was for sale. It was Public Square – a coffee shop owned by two guys who came in, opened up, and after about a year, they were ready to move on and leave the state. I’m very active in that neighborhood…and someone asked me if I knew anyone who

“Black, middle-class people are trying to ascend and build wealth. So the idea that we have an opportunity to live in a community like this and have a Black-owned coffee shop in that dope community speaks volumes. I think that is Detroit. We’re not just our hard times. We’re not just people who are struggling. We’re so dynamic and there’s so much more to us than what people often try to paint us. We’re trying to get this money and ascend, and we deserve these spaces. Detroit is resource rich, and diverse, and I love it, and I feel like this is where we’re supposed to be.”

Mostly, though, she emphasized how Detroit Rosa is less about just being a café, but it’s more about the family legacy that prevails each time someone experiences it.

“My great-grandmother’s story continues to be told in a city that wasn’t always as welcoming to Black people – Black businesses – when she moved here. Her story is being told and her story is being heard by people who wouldn’t have known her otherwise, and it’s really a testament to the pride of Black Detroiters in the city.”

May 2024 | Small Business Month | Michigan Chronicle 3



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4 Michigan Chronicle | Small Business Month | May 2024 NOW SERVING : YOUR GROWING BUSINESS.
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Entrepreneurship in Michigan: Empowering the Innovators and Startups

Innovation, the entrepreneurial spirit and a workforce ready to create the future have always been hallmarks of the state of Michigan. Here, you’ll find the home of the automotive industry, the first manufacturer of cereal, inventors of the snowboard and where the first COVID vaccines were developed and distributed. The state’s focus on entrepreneurship is rooted in its business ecosystem. In Michigan, if you have an idea, there’s a pathway to bring it to life.

The Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) serves as a key resource for high-tech, high-growth startups and entrepreneurs across the state. Through Entrepreneurship & Innovation, founders have access to programs, services and expert counsel to establish their business, accelerate research and development, network with business leaders and founders alike and more. Since the initiative started in 2011, over 1,300 businesses have been formed, over 9,000 tech companies have utilized services and over 2,200 new patents have been issued.

While a robust business ecosystem is critical to creating and sustaining innovative companies, funding remains a key component to success. To that end, Michigan has established financial resources, grants and funds to support early-stage companies and entrepreneurs. Two major funding options are helping to break down barriers and bolster the state’s economy. Designed for individuals who don’t qualify for traditional loans through banks or other financial institutions, the Michigan Economic Opportunity Fund provides an opportunity for those who are socially or economically disadvantaged to have access to capital and credit. This includes a $10 million microbusiness loan program for women and entrepreneurs of color, with the goal to provide equitable access to capital for marginalized communities. Introduced last year, the Michigan Innovate Capital Fund aims at growing the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, with $18 million of the $23 million allocation awarded to date. Both funds are supporting early-stage, high-tech companies to get them into market and create good-paying, high-skill jobs across regions and industries.

Michigan also offers innovative partnerships and programs to help aspiring entrepreneurs and startups. In June 2023, Governor Whitmer announced the Small Business Support Hubs program, with a total of $75 million funding 27 hubs across the state. Resources available from the hubs include one-on-one coaching, cohort-based learning and accelerators, mentor matchmaking, pitch competitions, networking events, access to capital, partner referrals and statewide resource navigation. Similarly, Michigan’s 20 SmartZones are focused on positioning the state’s distinct regions as leaders in high-tech, high-growth startups through funding, events, networking, incubator space, accelerator programs and more. Small businesses also have access to the Michigan Small Business Development Center, which provides consulting, training and research for new ventures, existing small businesses and advanced technology companies at any stage in their journey.

Michigan has a longstanding legacy of innovation where good ideas can thrive and grow into great successes. The state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, programs and funding resources help foster true innovation and position Michigan as the leader of what’s next.

Learn more about the MEDC’s entrepreneurial support at https://www.michiganbusiness.org/services/entrepreneurial-opportunity/.

May 2024 | Small Business Month | Michigan Chronicle 5

7 Tips to Take Your Small Detroit Business to the Next Level

Small businesses in Detroit face a unique set of challenges and opportunities. With the right strategies, however, these businesses can thrive and grow. Here are five tips to take your small Detroit business to the next level:

Leverage Detroit’s Community: Detroit is known for its strong sense of community. Take advantage of this by joining community events and participating in local initiatives. Building relationships within the Detroit community can help you gain valuable support, referrals, and customers.

Utilize Digital Marketing: In today’s digital age, having a solid online presence is crucial for small businesses. Invest in a professionally designed website, utilize social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and consider starting a blog to engage with your audience. Digital marketing can help you reach a wider audience and attract more customers to your business.

Focus on Customer Experience: Providing excellent customer service is essential for small businesses looking to grow. Focus on creating positive experiences for your customers by offering personalized service, responding to

and attract new customers. Consider sponsoring local events, participating in community clean-up efforts, or collaborating on special promotions with other Detroit businesses. By working together, you can strengthen the Detroit community and grow your business at the same time.

their needs promptly, and going above and beyond to exceed their expectations. Happy customers are more likely to become repeat customers and recommend your business to others.

Expand Your Product or Service Offering: To attract new customers and increase revenue, consider expanding your product or service offering. Conduct market research to identify new opportunities and introduce complementary products or services that appeal to your target audience. By diversifying your offering, you can attract a broader customer base and increase sales.

Invest in Professional Development:

As a small business owner, investing in your own professional development is key to staying ahead of the competition. Attend workshops, conferences, and networking events to learn new skills, stay updated on industry trends, and connect with other business owners. By continuously learning and growing, you can position your business for longterm success.

Partner with Detroit Organizations and Businesses: Collaboration is key to success in Detroit. Partner with local organizations, nonprofits, and other businesses to expand your reach

Give Back to the Community: It’s no secret that Detroiters value businesses that invest back into their community. Find ways to give back, whether it’s through volunteering, donating a portion of your profits to local charities, or supporting local causes. Not only will giving back help you build a positive reputation in the community, but it will also attract socially conscious customers who want to support businesses that make a difference in Detroit.

Bonus: Join a Group: There’s power (and opportunity) in numbers. If you’re not part of a local chamber of commerce, business alliance, society of similar professionals, or connected with city/county agencies that aid in providing resources for small businesses, you’re doing yourself a disservice and missing money and growth opportunities. It’s not hard to become a part of the networks that exist. Just invest in doing the research, and don’t be afraid to take a leap that could catapult your business forward.

By implementing these tips, small businesses in Detroit can overcome challenges and take their business to the next level. With dedication, hard work, and the support of the Detroit community, the sky’s the limit for small businesses in the Motor City.

6 Michigan Chronicle | Small Business Month | May 2024

Innovation is the Name of the Game:

Detroit’s Braid Culture is A Symbol of Artistry and Entrepreneurship

Detroit loves its braids. This simple truth is woven into the fabric of the city, where every twist and turn of a braid tells a story of community, creativity, and endurance. Braid culture here is more than just a fashion statement; it’s a living artwork; it’s Black culture, telling tales of heritage and personal pride.

Braid culture shines its light on innovation and plays a pivotal role in the small business scene here in Detroit. Local stylists are not only keeping an age-old art alive, but they’re also pushing boundaries and setting trends that resonate far beyond our city limits. This isn’t just hairdressing—it’s a thriving business that’s boosting the local economy. Each salon acts as a hub of creativity and entrepreneurship, showing that innovation really is the name of the game when it comes to transforming a skill into a small business powerhouse right here in the city.

Last month, as the NFL Draft took the city by storm, Detroiters didn’t just step out; they stepped up. The streets became runways, where hairstyles were as much a part of the spectacle as the flashy jewelry and Cartier buffs because, of course, every Detroiter truly believes they’re the celebrity. Among the local stars was Gigi Hunter, a braider whose hands are swift with the grace of tradition and the force of innovation. “Anyone who sits in my chair is a celebrity. If I pour into my clients and put love into each style that I do, I know that’s going to show for itself. That’s how I’ve been operating my business thus far.” She set up a single chair in the middle of the Greektown strip, turning the energy-packed area into an impromptu salon and the sidewalk into a stage, drawing crowds amazed by the artistry unfolding before their eyes.

“The NFL draft was another way for me to showcase just that. The idea of doing hair, especially braids, on the street sounded crazy to others,” said Hunter. “However, showcasing my work and personally interacting with the masses has helped skyrocket my business, along with people being able to trust the vision that I have for them, myself and the city of Detroit.”

This was not just about creating a fire hairstyle; it was a live demonstration of Detroit’s rich tradition of braid culture—a vibrant mix of artistry, community, and small business spirit.

“I love the fact that Detroit is hair,” expressed Hunter. “We may be the Motor City, but overall Detroit is the hair capital of the world. You cannot go anywhere in the world and get what you’d get here, and braids are one of the most significant parts of our hair culture.”

For Gigi, and for many like her in Detroit, braiding is more than a craft. It’s a connection to generations past and a bridge to the future. Each braid carries a legacy of skill passed down through family lines, infused with new energy and styles that keep evolving. These stylists are not just artists; they’re entrepreneurs, integral to the economy and the cultural tapestry of the city. Gigi’s approach reflects a broader trend among local braiders who are not just hair stylists but pioneers of small business, breathing new life into traditional practices with their innovative approaches.

When it comes to small businesses, word of mouth plays a crucial role. It’s in the referrals that keeps the business going, and Detroit knows this all too well, reasons why Gigi echoed this sentiment in the confidence of her work ethic, “I

work hard to make sure that when you see my work, you know it’s the Gigi Hunter look.”

Braid culture in Detroit is more than just a style preference; it’s a thriving business that is deeply rooted in the community and led by entrepreneurs like Gigi. These talented stylists are not just keeping an age-old tradition alive; they are also significant contributors to the local economy, operating as small business owners who bring innovation and flair to their craft.

On that day, as Gigi weaved her braids, the passersby could not help but stop and take notice. Each feed-in braid she expertly laid down was a testament to a craft that has been perfected over generations. But Gigi’s setup was more than a display of skill. It was a statement of resilience and innovation, showing how integral these businesses are to the fabric of Detroit.

“The saying ‘Detroit hustles harder’ is something I literally live by,” said Hunter. “I know that if I don’t thrive and become successful, I don’t have anything else to fall back on. My ‘Plan A’ is how I structure my life. That structure is simple; I’m a braider, I’m a hairstylist, and I like to make people look and feel good. I’m taking my brand and this business to the next level, there is no if’s or but’s about it.”

Detroit continues to be a place where style is infused with personal and communal significance. It’s a city that does not just dress up for an event; it brings an entire legacy to the streets, showing the world the power of combining tradition with innovation. As the city evolves, so does its braid culture, continually reinvented by the hands of its skilled braiders who help keep Detroit’s identity vibrant and the ever-growing small business scene visible.

May 2024 | Small Business Month | Michigan Chronicle 7
Let’s start

a new tradition for Small Business Month.

F lagstar Bank has deep roots in Michigan, a regional headquarters in Troy, and a long history of helping businesses of all sizes navigate financial challenges and achieve their goals. The bank has grown to become one of the largest regional banks in the country, with $113 billion in assets. In 2024, Newsweek and Plant-A Insights recognized Flagstar as one of America’s Best Regional Banks for their commitment to the community through sponsoring events, teaching financial literacy, helping homebuyers and small businesses, and supporting local nonprofits.

As a regional bank, we’ve seen business owners like you put in the hard work, make impossible decisions, and scale mountains of paperwork to build something that matters. During Small Business Month, we tip our hats to you and hope that you take a moment to celebrate everything you’ve accomplished.

Instead of letting Small Business Month roll by this year, consider establishing an annual tradition and make May a time to check in on your business and look for ways to protect your valuable time. Start by listing all the tasks you dread (or avoid) and explore what’s available to help you delegate or simplify them.

Stop by a Flagstar branch and talk to one of our experienced business bankers about the financial side of your business. You may be surprised by how a few changes can give you more time in your day, lower costs, and improve productivity across the board.

Here are four places to start:

Cash management opportunities

With the right tools and information, you can optimize your cash flow and maintain liquidity—without you doing all the heavy lifting.

Zero-balance accounts: These accounts provide greater control over disbursements and improve operational efficiency.

Sweep accounts: Add an insured cash sweep account to automatically move excess funds into an interest-earning account.

Loan sweep: Spend less time on cash positions with automated transfers to and from your line of credit.

Better reporting: Gain deeper insights—and make smarter decisions—about finances, taxes, transfers, and transactions.

Payables solutions

If you’re losing sleep over missed invoices, payroll, and vendor payments, look into these options.

Payroll processing: Let payroll experts handle these duties for you, including deductions and withholdings, direct deposit, time and attendance reporting, compliance services, and payroll tax prep.

ACH transactions and wires: Simplify cash flow with timely electronic payments, here and abroad.

Controlled disbursement: Receive daily totals of cleared checks to help you manage excess cash and avoid overdrafts.

Commercial cards: Find the best cards for purchases, travel, and accounts payable.

Checking account reconciliation: Partial or full reconciliation could streamline your back-office operations and prevent errors.

Better reporting: Gain a deeper perspective of your finances, taxes, transfers, and transactions.

Receivables management

Add services that improve your company’s cash flow and prevent issues with accounts receivable.

Merchant services: Choose a POS system that accepts almost any type of payment, manages inventory, offers valuable insights, and handles your rewards program.

Wholesale lockbox: Have your mailed-in payments processed and deposited directly into your account. Plus, better receipt information will help you manage inventory, credit risk, and liquidity positions faster.

Cash vault services: Save time and lower risk with online ordering, cash delivery, and reporting while working with your choice of armored courier.

Remote deposit: Deposit checks from anywhere and save a trip (or many trips) to the bank.

Fraud prevention

Cybercriminals are only getting better, so fortify your business accounts to prevent fraud and identity theft.

Check Positive Pay: This service lowers the risk of check fraud by matching check amounts and payees to your issued list and notifying you of any discrepancies.

ACH Positive Pay: With this service, you set parameters, such as amount and date limits, by vendor and receive real-time notifications of discrepancies.

Remember, you are not alone in this journey. Our business bankers will take the time to understand your business and your business goals and then help you find the products and services that let you focus on what you do best. And as with every type of bank product or service, terms and conditions may apply.

Visit flagstar.com/sbm or stop by a branch to get started. Together, we can build a stronger future for your business.

8 Michigan Chronicle | Small Business Month | May 2024

National Small Business Month 2024

May 2024 | Small Business Month | Michigan Chronicle 9 Small Business Congratulations on building something the world needs. Now, let Flagstar help you take the next step. Our local business bankers have the experience and expertise to help your money work as hard as you do, protect your accounts from fraud, and free up precious time so you can focus on what you do best. Let’s see how far we can go together before the next Small Business Month. Stop by a branch or visit flagstar.com/sbm. Celebrating the innovators, the pavement pounders, the above-and-beyonders.
©2024 Flagstar Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. All rights reserved. Equal Housing Lender

Top 5 Unexpected Ways

‘Passive Income’ Can Turn Your Dreams into Nightmares

“It’s easy to romanticize passive income, but the reality is often more complicated and treacherous,” said Jason Adler, a software engineer at Repocket. A stark divergence from the glistening images painted by fevered dreams of easy money. Oftentimes, people’s view on passive income is a straight-line perspective that money will roll into their bank accounts, while giving minimum effort to maintain, and promising a life of luxurious lounging. But that’s not usually the reality of things. More frequently, there are hidden nightmares wrapped within dreams.

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, about 20% of Americans have some level of passive income. But not all are doing so well. Adler dives into the five ways passive income can morph these dreams into unbearable nightmares.

1. Risk of Unstable Income

Passive income is often depicted as an effortless monetary stream that provides consistent income with minimal intervention. What is not often discussed is the instability and fluctuations that such incomes present, leaving individuals financially vulnerable. In passive income, nothing is guaranteed, according to Mighty Networks.

Adler adds, “The promise of a steady passive income stream is alluring, but it’s crucial to understand that the stability of this income can’t always be guaranteed. Your financial security might be at risk.”


Potential for Financial Losses

Certain avenues promoting passive income, such as real estate or stocks, entail sizable investments upfront. While these financial ventures may yield substantial returns, they’re not devoid of risks. Market dynamics can lead to capital erosion, leaving you with losses instead of gains. It is crucial to tread this path with a clear understanding of market volatility and financial risks, Adler advises: “Making substantial investments without comprehensive knowledge can turn your dream of passive income into a costly nightmare.”


Increased Anxiety and Stress

The term ‘passive’ can be quite deceptive as it suggests a lack of

need for constant attention. Yet, whether it’s real estate, blog monetization, or digital goods sales, passive income streams often require significant setup and maintenance to keep them profitable.

“The term ‘passive’ can be misleading, leading many to underestimate the amount of upkeep required,” warns Adler. “The stress of maintaining a supposedly passive income can significantly harm your mental well-being.”

4. Over-Reinvestment Trap

The yearning to achieve more can push individuals into a dangerous loop of over-reinvestment. Pouring too many resources back into passive income sources might dry up reserve funds needed for emergencies, draining personal finances and leading to potential financial crises.

“Knowing when to reinvest and when to save is critical in managing passive income streams,” says Adler, highlighting the significance of striking a balance.

5. False Sense of Financial Security

Passive income can engender a false sense of monetary security that encourages excessive spending and potential financial imprudence. It’s easy to start living beyond your means under the illusion of indefinite wealth, leading to a potential future financial crisis. According to Finance Strategists, failure to keep your eye on expenses could result in losses that offset the passive income earned.

Repocket’s Adler warns about the pitfalls of this illusory security: “A false sense of financial invulnerability might immerse you in debts. It’s crucial to maintain financial prudence, even when it seems your passive income stream is infinitely flowing.”

Recognizing these hidden traps of passive income can save you from a financial nightmare. Clearly, passive income isn’t the panacea for financial woes as it’s often portrayed. Should we then brace for a future filled with midnight oil, working tirelessly until retirement?

Well, not necessarily. Passive income can be a potent tool if wielded with wisdom, cautions Adler. “The key is a balanced approach. Learning about the potential pitfalls of passive income greatly increases your chances of success.”

So, ponder on this: Are you prepared for the pitfalls that accompany the lucrative promise of passive income? And if so, are you ready to transform these challenges into stepping stones towards achieving your financial goals?

10 Michigan Chronicle | Small Business Month | May 2024

Revolutionizing Economic Empowerment: Black-Owned Businesses Pave the Future of Detroit’s Prosperity

Detroit, a city that has witnessed significant national sports events like the Superbowl in 2006 and the NFL Draft in 2024, owes a large part of its economic growth to black-owned businesses. These businesses, known for their contributions to job creation and income generation, have particularly shone during large-scale events.

According to the Small Business Association of Michigan, Michigan is home to a diverse array of over 54,000 Black-owned small businesses, which contribute significantly to the state’s economic landscape. The majority of Black-owned small businesses in Michigan are sole proprietorships, highlighting the entrepreneurial spirit and individual efforts within the community.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the way businesses operate today. Among the most affected are black-owned businesses, which had to adapt and adjust to the new normal. One response to this change is the emergence of pop-up businesses, which have become increasingly popular recently. One of these businesses that has recently made a name for itself is ‘Recess.’

Kai Bowman and Roderick “Roddy” Allen, the visionaries behind Recess, a popular popup establishment that launched the week of the NFL Draft, successfully combined “culture, cuisine, and community engagement” to create a flourishing concept. Their vision and passion for this idea made Recess a remarkable destination showcasing the community’s diverse and vibrant spirit in Detroit. Bowman and Allen are not new to the business world. With the launch of Recess, they both brought their individual experience to the table.

vibe. It was something that the city needed. We all know the stigma that we’re faced with in Detroit when a lot of us get together, and there’s liquor, partying, and music involved. That there could be some trouble”, Allen said. “There was absolutely none. We all had a great time without any negativity or anything bad happening. Hopefully, this will progress into being more of a normalcy”.

els for aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly within the Black community. However, running a business single-handedly can be daunting, and it takes considerable effort and dedication to make it thrive.

“Have a team. Make sure you have a team that can cover every angle because you are trying to do a lot yourself. You won’t be successful, and you’ll burn yourself out”, Allen said.

Bowman, the current Chief Operating Officer at the Metro Black Business Alliance (MBBA), has laid the groundwork for Black business. He plays a crucial role in the organization’s success, with over 1,500 members. Bowman’s leadership has helped create initiatives such as the Capital Connect program, which has directly facilitated over $10M in funding to Black entrepreneurs in Metro Detroit.

Allen, a Detroit business owner of Hot Rod’s Wing Ding’s Inc., is no stranger to successful business ventures. He successfully launched Hot Rod’s Wing Ding’s in December 2022 and generated $200K in revenue within nine months.

Recess was a pop-up food hall set up in a cafeteria style with a bar and DJ booth. Three Black-owned restaurants were on site, including Hot Rod’s Wing Ding’s Inc.

“It was a success. It was a great look and a great

Small Black-owned businesses often serve as pillars of our communities, providing essential goods and services while contributing to the social fabric. They create vibrant commercial corridors and foster a sense of pride and ownership among residents. They also provide a level of access that Black owners may not have the opportunity to thrive elsewhere.

“The motivation for opening Recess in the first place is that this is one of the Blackest cities in America; there aren’t many places in downtown Detroit where black folks are celebrated, where we can show up, hear the music we want to hear, eat the food we want to eat, have a good time, and go home peacefully. Recess represented and demonstrated this. So, we accomplished what we set out to accomplish,” Bowman said.

Black-owned businesses that have achieved success serve as a source of inspiration and role mod-

Recess was Bowman and Allen’s first business venture together. Bowman said it was helpful to have a strong partner like Allen who could contribute, provide business insight, and execute throughout the process as things pop up, even with the unexpected record-breaking number of people who came to Detroit.

“I thought the numbers I projected were conservative, but they were aggressive. I was forecasting to ensure we had the right mix of products for our customer base. Even the restaurants were not 100% prepared for the influx of people coming in. We ensured that from the time we opened until we closed, we were as prepared as we could be,” Bowman said. “One restaurant on Saturday stayed open until the last person walked out. Something to do differently in the future is to make sure we have the right mix of products and offerings to serve the folks that are coming in.”

Building a successful Black-owned business is no easy feat. It requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and determination. Some numerous advantages and disadvantages come with the territory and play a significant role in shaping the business’s growth and development. Especially when planning to open 30 days or less leading up to the NFL Draft as Bowman and Allen did.

“We definitely executed at a high level considering the short amount of time we put this thing together. Usually, people take months, possibly years, to put a bar and restaurant together. We did it in less than 30 days,” Allen said.

On Monday morning, representatives from Bedrock contacted Bowman and Allen to initiate discussions about the possibility of establishing a permanent restaurant and bar. The conversation could not have come at a better time, as Recess is still riding the wave of success following the NFL Draft, so much so that patrons are still reaching out to ask if they are open and to make reservations.

“There’s a desire to make this a permanent space. For Roddy and I, the sky’s the limit. If it’s not Recess, it could be anything, but I think, having a partner like Roddy, I’m always more than open to partnering with him on any ventures in the future. So more to come,” Bowman said.

May 2024 | Small Business Month | Michigan Chronicle 11
Revolutionizing Economic Empowerment RECESS popup (photo courtesy of Detroit regional Chamber)

Black Tech Saturdays Celebrates One Year in Detroit A New Face in the Tech Space:

Black Tech Saturdays, an organization dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, celebrated its one-year anniversary in Detroit last month. The organization, founded by Johnnie and Alexa Turnage in 2023, has made significant strides in its mission to provide resources and opportunities for underrepresented communities in tech.

In its first year, Black Tech Saturdays has hosted over 20 free coding workshops and tech events, attracting over 500 attendees. These events have provided a platform for individuals from diverse backgrounds to learn, network, and gain access to resources and opportunities in the tech industry. The organization has also partnered with local businesses and organizations to provide mentorship and job opportunities for program participants, helping to bridge the gap between education and employment.

Since its inception, it has served as a connection between founders and tech entrepreneurs and the people and communities they serve with their products and services.

The organization’s accomplishments were celebrated at a special anniversary event featuring keynote speakers, panel discussions, and a networking

reception. The event brought together community members, partners, and supporters to reflect on the organization’s progress and look toward the future.

“We’re thrilled to see the impact Black Tech Saturdays has had in just one year,” said Johnnie Turnage, co-founder and executive director. “Our goal is to create a sustainable and inclusive tech ecosystem in Detroit, and we’re proud of the progress we’ve made so far.”

The organization has received support from local and national organizations, including the Detroit Tech Foundation and the National Association of Black Journalists. Additionally, the organization has been recognized by local, state, and federal government agencies, the NAACP, and other national tech organizations for its pursuit of disrupting the tech industry. This support has helped to amplify the organization’s impact and reach even more communities.

As the organization looks to the future, the Turnages plan to expand its programming to reach even more communities and continue to push for greater diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. They aim to establish partnerships with more businesses and organizations, providing even more opportunities for mentorship, employment, and education.

“Representation matters, and we’re committed to creating opportunities for underrepresented voices to be heard,” said Alexa Turnage, co-founder and program director. “We’re excited to see what the next year brings and look forward to continuing our work towards a more inclusive tech industry.”

The anniversary celebration also featured a panel discussion with local tech professionals during the 2024 NFL Draft celebration. The panelists shared their experiences and insights on the importance of diversity and inclusion in the industry while emphasizing the need for more organizations like Black Tech Saturdays.

The event concluded with a networking reception, where attendees could connect with each other and learn more about the organization’s programs and initiatives. The reception was a testament to the organization’s impact, as individuals from diverse backgrounds came together to celebrate their shared passion for tech and their commitment to creating a more inclusive industry.

As Black Tech Saturdays looks to the future, it is clear that the organization has made a significant impact in its first year. With its commitment to diversity and inclusion, it is poised to continue making a difference in the tech industry and beyond.

12 Michigan Chronicle | Small Business Month | May 2024

How AI is Revolutionizing Small Business Operations

In the fast-paced world of business, staying ahead often means embracing innovative technologies. One such technology that is transforming the way small businesses operate is Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI offers small business owners powerful tools to streamline operations, improve customer service, and boost efficiency. Here are several ways AI is making a significant impact:

Enhanced Customer Insights: AI-powered analytics can help small businesses understand their customers better. By analyzing data from various sources, such as social media, website traffic, and purchasing behavior, AI can provide valuable insights into customer preferences and trends. This information can help businesses tailor their products and services to meet customer needs more effectively.

Improved Marketing Strategies: AI can revolutionize marketing efforts by offering personalized and targeted campaigns. By analyzing customer data, AI can help businesses create more relevant and engaging content, leading to higher conversion rates. AI can also automate various marketing tasks, such as email marketing and social media management, saving time and resources for small businesses.

Efficient Operations: AI-powered automation can streamline business operations, reducing the need for manual intervention. For example, AI can automate repetitive tasks like data entry, inventory management, and customer support, allowing employees to focus on more strategic tasks. This can lead to increased productivity and cost savings for small businesses.

Enhanced Customer Service: AI-powered chatbots are becoming increasingly popular for small businesses looking to improve their customer service. These chatbots can provide instant responses to customer queries, improving the overall customer experience. Additionally, AI can analyze customer interactions to identify trends and improve service quality over time.

Predictive Analytics: AI can leverage historical data to make predictions about future trends and outcomes. For example, AI can help small businesses forecast sales, optimize inventory levels, and identify potential risks. This can enable businesses to make more informed decisions and stay ahead of the competition.

AI offers small business owners a wide range of benefits, from enhanced customer insights to improved operational efficiency. By embracing AI technology, small businesses can gain a competitive edge and position themselves for long-term success in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape.

May 2024 | Small Business Month | Michigan Chronicle 13


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14 Michigan Chronicle | Small Business Month | May 2024 L et’s do business.
CHAMBER, THEY HAVE ACCESS TO: Small Businesses are the Heartbeat of Southeast Michigan.

Identifying the Warning Signs:

Entrepreneurs often wear their dedication as a badge of honor, pushing themselves to the limit. This can mask the early stages of burnout. Here’s what to watch out for:

Physical exhaustion: Frequent headaches, trouble sleeping, and changes in appetite are all physical signs of burnout.

Emotional depletion: Feeling constantly irritated, cynical about your work, or losing motivation are emotional red flags.

Reduced effectiveness: Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or feeling a lack of accomplishment are signs your mental well-being is impacting your work.

Strategies for Recovery and Prevention:

If you’re experiencing burnout, don’t despair. Here are actionable steps to get you back on track:

Prioritize self-care: Your well-being is the foundation of your business. Ensure you’re getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly. Schedule time for activities you enjoy, whether it’s reading, spending time in nature, or connecting with loved ones.

Set boundaries: It’s tempting to be constantly available, but this blurs the line between work and personal life. Establish clear working hours and stick to them. Turn off work notifications outside of those times.

Delegate and outsource: You don’t have to do everything yourself. Delegate tasks to employees or outsource them to freelancers. This frees up your time and energy for strategic thinking and activities that require your unique skillset.

Reassess your workload: Are you taking on too much? Be honest with

Coping with Entrepreneurial Burnout: Strategies for Success

The entrepreneurial journey is exhilarating. You’re your own boss, building something from the ground up, and the potential for success is intoxicating. However, the relentless drive and constant pressure can lead to a dark side: entrepreneurial burnout.

Burnout isn’t just feeling tired. It’s a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged or excessive stress. It manifests as cynicism towards your work, a sense of reduced accomplishment, and emotional detachment. Recognizing the signs and taking action is crucial to regaining your passion and propelling your business forward.

yourself about what you can realistically achieve and adjust your goals accordingly. Learn to say no to requests that drain your time and energy.

Seek support: Surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Talk to friends, family, or a therapist about what you’re going through. Consider joining a mastermind group or online forum for entrepreneurs to connect and share experiences.

Rekindle your passion: Reconnect with what initially sparked your entrepreneurial journey. Reflect on your vision and purpose. Spend time working on the aspects of your business you find most fulfilling.

Building Resilience:

Burnout isn’t just about reacting; it’s also about prevention. Here are some habits to build long-term resilience:

Maintain a healthy work-life balance: Schedule dedicated time for relaxation and hobbies. Disconnecting from work allows you to recharge and return with renewed focus.

Develop stress management techniques: Techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing can help you manage stress in healthy ways.

Practice gratitude: Regularly acknowledging what you’re grateful for, both personally and professionally, can shift your mindset towards positivity.

Celebrate achievements: Take time to acknowledge your accomplishments, big or small. This reinforces a sense of progress and motivates you to keep going.

Remember, you are not alone. Entrepreneurial burnout is a common challenge. By prioritizing your well-being, setting boundaries, and building resilience, you can overcome burnout and achieve lasting success in your business journey.

May 2024 | Small Business Month | Michigan Chronicle 15
16 Michigan Chronicle | Small Business Month | May 2024 Celebrate Small Business Month by Supporting a Black-owned Small Business REAL TIMES MEDIA

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