Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
Inaugural Woodward Dream Show Opens Friday
The inaugural Woodward Dream Show at M1 Concourse in Pontiac, a marquee companion event to the Woodward Dream Cruise, begins Friday when the gates open at 8 a.m.
Attendees on Friday can experience driving exhibitions, show cars on display, the Taste of Woodward Hospitality Pavilion, and a special Rev Up the Grill with Cars and Cigars event in the evening. The Automotive Heritage Awards will be presented at 4 p.m. and M1’s “Insiders’ Garage” program takes place at 5 p.m.
The show continues Saturday from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. and features a Dream Show Parade at 11 a.m. and the Peoples’ Choice Award Show at 2 p.m.
Unlike other Dream Cruise-related events, the Woodward Dream Show includes juried vehicles driving on M1’s 1.5-mile Performance Track and the opportunity for guests to get up close with more than 250 cars that helped shape the Woodward cruising and American car culture.
Tickets for the Woodward Dream Show are $100 per day for adults, $50 for 13–20-years-old; and free to those 12 and under. Two-day adult passes are $180. Cost includes parking, food, and all beverages. Tickets can be purchased here.
State Puts $2.5M Toward Helping Businesses Address Talent Shortage
The state of Michigan has launched a competitive request for proposals to develop and launch the Michigan Industry Cluster Approach 3.0 (MICA 3.0) initiative, a total of $2.5 million in grants to support the development of an employer-led collaborative to address the state’s talent shortage.
“These grants will expand opportunity for Michiganders statewide as we continue our economic jumpstart and help small businesses emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever,” says Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Employer-led collaboratives help small businesses entice talented employees, create better training programs, and offer critical wraparound services including childcare. By funding these programs, we can help businesses thrive and ensure workers get bigger paychecks and better benefits.”
Successful applicants must be focused on the creation of opportunities in agriculture, construction, energy, health care, hospitality, information technology, manufacturing, or mobility, in professional and skilled trades. The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) anticipates funding 10-15 awardees, ranging from $150,000 to $250,000 each.
“These grants will ultimately support the growth of opportunities for Michiganders statewide,” says Susan Corbin, acting director of LEO. “It offers a brighter, more secure future for workers who will receive the training and support needed to succeed in the 21st century global economy.”
An employer-led collaborative is a group of businesses coming together to solve a common or shared workforce problem. Employer-led collaboratives bring together employers, education and training institutions, workforce development organizations and other applicable partners such as economic development organizations and government, to create solutions to fill identified talent gaps.
“Employer-led collaboratives are uniquely poised to address a wide variety of workforce issues, including talent recruitment, creating customized training programs, and providing support services such as transportation and childcare,” says Stephanie Beckhorn, director of LEO’s Office of Employment and Training. “Through this approach, we support the growth of our state’s businesses while creating opportunities for credential attainment and bigger paychecks for Michigan workers.”
There are currently more than 60 formally identified employer-led collaboratives throughout Michigan. LEO creates statewide policy and provides technical assistance to support employer-led collaborative activities.
Request for Proposal submissions are due by Sept. 21, with awards announced on Nov. 17. To assist applicants in completing their proposal submissions, an informational webinar will take place Aug. 25 at 9 a.m. Potential grant applicants can register to attend the webinar and learn more about this RFP opportunity by visiting Michigan.gov/MICA.
Four Local Companies Join Apple’s Impact Accelerator
Four local companies have been selected to join the Apple Impact Accelerator, a new program for minority-owned businesses that are creating environmental solutions focused on climate change, resource conservation, and smarter chemistry.
The four Detroit-area companies, out of 15 selected nationwide, include Diversified Chemical Technologies Inc., VMX International, and RFG-MPW Environmental & Facility Services in Detroit, and Dunamis Clean Energy Partners in Southfield.
Diversified Chemical Technologies is a technology, specialty chemicals, and services company with manufactured product lines in adhesives, process chemicals, CIP/COP cleaners, facility cleaners, metal working fluids and lubricants, and MRO service solutions.
VMX International is an environmental services company that provides solid waste collection, recycling, regulatory, and project management services to government, commercial, industrial, and construction customers across the U.S. and Canada.
RFG-MPW is a provider of integrated, technology-based industrial cleaning, facility management, water purification, container management, and environmental services. It assists in enhancing operational efficiencies, improving reliability, and minimizing costs to ensure their clients have a safer and cleaner work environment to deliver high-quality products.
Dunamis Clean Energy Partners is a technology, manufacturing, and engineering firm focused on energy efficiency and environmental service solutions. It’s founder and CEO, Natalie King, led the company to become a multimillion-dollar corporation with more than 150 employees throughout southeast. Michigan.
“We are thrilled to welcome our first Impact Accelerator class, and look forward to seeing how these innovative businesses will expand their work to protect the planet and our communities,” says Lisa Jackson, vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives at Apple. “On our journey to our 2030 carbon neutral goal for our supply chain and products, we’re determined to help create a greener and more equitable future for all people. The businesses we’re partnering with today are poised to become tomorrow’s diverse and innovative industry leaders, creating ripples of change to help communities everywhere adapt to the urgent challenges posed by climate change.”
As part of the three-month Impact accelerator program, the companies will participate in courses, live sessions, and one-on-one meetings with Apple team members to identify opportunities to align with Apple’s environmental goals. With ongoing mentorship from Apple and an expanding Impact Accelerator network, participants will have access to continuous growth and net-working opportunities with alumni companies that share a commitment to the environment.
Cement, Iron Ore, Steel Boost Great Lakes Shipping in July
U.S. Great Lakes ports and the St. Lawrence Seaway handled a deluge of cement, iron ore, pet coke, and steel in July supporting the continuing resurgence of manufacturing both in North America and globally.
According to the latest figures, St. Lawrence Seaway cargo volumes from March 22 to July 31 totaled 16.7 million metric tons, up 5 percent over the same time period a year ago. With total grain shipments from Canada and U.S. down (12 percent) from 2020, the overall totals reflect the diversity of the Great Lakes-Seaway system and the breadth of commodity segments and markets that are served.
Within the dry bulk cargo category, pet coke shipments are up 93 percent.
“Pet coke is being exported from the Port of Duluth-Superior and the Port of Toledo to the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and other countries for both steel and cement production,” says Bruce Burrows, president and CEO of the Chamber of Marine Commerce.
Meanwhile, year-to-date iron ore shipments through the Seaway hit 3.5 million metric tons through July, an increase of 23 percent from a year ago. And cement shipments have topped 1 million tons, up 25 percent from 2020.
July was a busy month for the Port of Monroe. Among the ship traffic into the port was the tug New York with barge Double Skin 509A also delivered a cargo of liquid asphalt, while the tug Undaunted with barge Pere Marquette 41 received a load of gypsum for transport to Port Colborne, Ontario.
“We also continue to see vessels call on the DTE Monroe Power plant with coal and scrubber stone shipments,” says Samuel Hankinson, port development coordinator for the Port of Monroe. “We typically see the Paul R. Tregurtha at the power plant, but recently welcomed its fleetmate, the James R. Barker.”
The Port of Toledo continued to roll through the month of July with tonnage surpassing 2020 totals by more than 30 percent. Iron ore tonnage increased by 57 percent to more than 2.4 million tons primarily feeding the Cleveland Cliffs mill in Middletown, Ohio and the new hot briquetted iron facility at the Ironville marine terminal in Toledo. Coal and dry bulk also were up approximately 30 percent over the 2020 totals with total cargo shipments for all commodities approaching 5 million tons for the season.
“We are certainly in a better place than we were last July when many of our region’s industries were in limbo due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Joseph Cappel, vice president of business development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “I believe we will continue to see strong demand for raw materials throughout 2021 and, if we can couple that with a good fall grain harvest, our tonnage numbers will reflect a productive year for our terminal operators and the shippers and industries they serve.”
“Cement is being transported from manufacturing plants in Ontario and Quebec to ports across those provinces, as well as across the border to Cleveland, Buffalo, and Toledo,” says Burrows. “We are even seeing cement imported from overseas to Duluth-Superior.”
At the Port of Duluth-Superior, 4.2 million tons of cargo was transported in July, the largest July tonnage total since 2015. For 2021, cargo shipments have topped 15.2 million tons. That represents a 40 percent increase over last year’s pace and is 6 percent above the five-season average.
“It’s been a good first half of the shipping season and a vigorous rebound from the COVID challenges of 2020,” says Deb DeLuca, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. “It’s been especially good to see iron ore tonnage jumping back above the five-season average, because it’s a bellwether of positivity for our port and our region as a whole. Each ore ship carries between $7 million and $8 million in ore value, so while they’re moving a key raw material of everyday life, they’re also moving a sizable amount of commerce for our communities and the North American economy.”
For the season, iron ore shipments have topped 9.5 million tons to finish July 12.6 percent above the five-season average and 31 percent above the same time period a year ago.
Walled Lake’s Zolli Candy Among Fastest-growing Companies
Zolli Candy in Walled Lake, founded by 16-year-old Alina Morse, is America’s fastest-growing candy company and among the nation’s fastest-growing private companies, according to Inc. Magazine.
This is the third consecutive year that Morse’s company has made the annual Inc. 5000 list. Zolli’s revenue growth has been 437 percent during those three years.
Zolli Candy products are certified sugar-free by Sugarwise, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, non-GMO, and free of the top seven allergens. Zolli Candy is a woman-owned and cause-based company, committed to giving 4-MM products through the “Million Smiles Initiative” to help fight America’s most chronic childhood disease — tooth decay.
“It’s always an honor to make the Inc. 5000 list, but especially this year given 2020’s unprecedented challenges,” says Morse. “My company and everyone on my team were resilient and flexible as we approached how to move the company forward during a challenging time.
“We expanded our retail footprint from 20,000 stores to 24,000 stores, our Zolli Ball Popz are in over 4,000 stores, and my latest invention, Zolli Peanut Butter Cups, hit stores nationwide later this month. The future is bright for Zolli Candy.”
For more information, visit here.
Foundations Partner with Agencies to Launch $5.7M Detroit Residents First Fund
The Ford Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, and the Skillman Foundation have joined forces with the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency and Community Development Advocates of Detroit to establish the Detroit Residents First Fund (DRFF) to aid a wide range of neighborhood-based efforts.
The $5.7 million fund was established using a framework of participatory grantmaking where nonprofit and community leaders partner with foundation representatives to determine how grant funds are dispersed. The fund prioritizes support for Detroit-based grassroots nonprofit organizations whose leaders are Black, indigenous, or other persons of color working to transform neighborhoods in Detroit with the least access to power and social capital.
The DRFF is one of few partnerships to exist in Michigan where foundations, nonprofits, and community leaders have created a formal structure and process for sharing decision-making power.
“Grass-roots organizations — many who have never received funding directly from a foundation — need access to funding for philanthropy to be truly equitable,” says Daija Butler, assistant director of planning for Wayne Metro who oversees the DRFF. “The guidance of community leaders on the DRFF Steering Committee has been invaluable to learning how we can remove barriers in the grantmaking process while simultaneously building the capacity of grassroot organizations to influence change so that the lives of Detroit residents are improved long-term.”
Fifteen organizations were selected to participate in the DRFF’s pilot program — a funding relationship with the potential to last three years. DRFF granted a total of $700,000 among the organizations during the first year, supporting projects focused on expanding resident engagement, building resident power, and developing other skills helpful in guiding the future of Detroit neighborhoods.
These organizations include: 360 Detroit, Avalon Village, Bailey Park Project, Canfield Consortium, Chadsey Condon Community Organization, Community Movement Builders, Denby Neighborhood Alliance, Force Detroit, Georgia Street Community Collective, In Memory of Community Garden, MECCA Development Corp., North End Woodward Community Coalition, Southwest Pride, People’s Water Board, and We the People of Detroit.
Participatory grantmaking, an emerging philanthropic model, recognizes nonprofit community organizations as the impetus for shaping the future, and invites community and nonprofit leaders to work together to share power and resources to make decisions on how money is spent.
Comerica Bank Planning Women’s Business Symposium Oct. 21
Comerica Bank will be presenting its virtual Women’s Business Symposium from 12:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. EDT Thursday on Oct. 21.
Designed with women in mind, this event provides business owners, executives, and professionals the opportunity to “learn from inspiring speakers, connect with like-minded individuals, grow their personal development, and celebrate their potential.”
Speakers will include Natalie Nixon, a creative strategist and president of Figure 8 Thinking, and Cassey Ho, founder and CEO of Blogilates.
The deadline to receive an early bird registration discount is Aug. 31. Register here.
Motorcycle Raffle to Benefit Volunteers of America
The Call Sam Chopper Shop in Southfield and Bad Pig Customs in Hazel Park are raffling off a custom-built motorcycle with proceeds directly benefiting Volunteers of America Michigan’s (VOA) veteran services.
Those interested in purchasing a $25 raffle ticket can register online here or purchase a ticket in-person at the following locations:
- Volunteers of America Michigan Office, 21415 Civic Center Dr., Suite 306, in Southfield.
- Imlay City Bike Night’s Call Sam Chopper Shop Booth (every Thursday 5-10 p.m.), 234 W Third St. in Imlay City.
- Bad Pig Customs, 1806 E 9 Mile Rd., Hazel Park.
Drawing for the winner will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 24 at Imlay City Bike Night.