DETROIT (WXYZ) — It is a story of positivity and collaboration for a better future.
City and business leaders are working together to address a pervasive, systemic issue in Detroit to help grow economic mobility. They announced the creation of the Motor City Contractor Fund.
“I would say millions of dollars of opportunities are in my inbox right now,” said Deana Neely.
Neely is a licensed electrical contractor, founder, and CEO of Detroit Voltage. She says she mostly takes on small residential work, where she can charge a downpayment up front. She would like to take on bigger commercial jobs, but most require she cover costs upfront.
“You have to not only be able to float a job and pay for your electricians up front for 30 days before you get your first payment. You also have to pay for materials up front, supplies, things of that nature. Without even receiving a dollar,” she explains.
“And you can’t perform if you don’t have access to capital,” said Dannis Mitchell, Director of Community Engagement for Barton Malow.
Barton Malow is the largest commercial contractor in the State of Michigan.
Barton Malow, The Rocket Community Fund, Community Reinvestment Fund and Invest Detroit announced the launch of the Motor City Contractor
Fund pilot program on Tuesday. It will provide Detroit-based contractors with loans and mentoring, addressing systemic inequities in the business.
“And the problem is that minority-owned contractors have historically been turned away from traditional lending institutions. When they do receive loans they are often at higher interest rates,” said Bill Emerson Vice-Chairman of Rock Holdings.
“When you’re providing them with industry-leading role models, mentors as well as pairing them up with the proper capital needed, you are going to see that contractor roar,” said Dr. Nicole Parker, CEO Lifeline Global Consulting.
Neely stood on stage as the program was announced. She says she sees barriers to her success disappearing before her eyes.
“Now this allows me to go after that work that’s there, really just waiting on me,” she said.
You can learn more about applying and resources available at https://motorcitycontractorfund.org.