DBusiness Daily Update: Motown Museum to Reopen for Tours on Feb. 22 Amid Expansion Construction, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
Tours of the Motown Museum in Detroit will begin again Feb. 22. // Courtesy of Motown Museum
Tours of the Motown Museum in Detroit will begin again Feb. 22. // Courtesy of Motown Museum

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Motown Museum to Reopen for Tours on Feb. 22 Amid Expansion Construction

The Motown Museum in Detroit will reopen for tours on Feb. 22, once again offering immersive, interactive tours.

Guests again will be able to view curated exhibits, the actual apartment Berry Gordy lived in with his family during the label’s earliest days, along with original recording equipment and the legendary Studio A, the recording studio where Motown artists recorded some of the greatest songs of all time from 1959 to 1972.

Each tour is led by a knowledgeable guide, who will share the history, anecdotes and stories that took place at Hitsville U.S.A., now home to Motown Museum.

As guests return to Motown Museum for tours, they will see ongoing construction on the museum’s campus as the highly anticipated $65 million expansion project continues toward completion of Phase 3.

“Welcoming guests back into Motown Museum is like welcoming family back home,” says Robin Terry, chairwoman and CEO of the Motown Museum. “We know this year will be unlike anything we’ve experienced before as we continue to make progress on the expansion. We appreciate the support of the community and Motown fans around the world as we continue to build a lasting legacy.”

Visit motownmuseum.org for more information and tickets.

Motor City Match Awards $1.3M+ to support 32 Detroit Businesses

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. (DEGC) have awarded more than $1.3 million in grants to 32 new and existing Detroit businesses selected as recipients of Motor City Match’s Round 21 awards.

The funds will be used to help Detroit entrepreneurs start new brick-and-mortar businesses and existing businesses make physical improvements to their building.

This year’s awardees include a community-owned grocery store, training hub for construction trades, and a production and education facility for a national fashion brand, as well as an array of restaurants, bakeries, and personal care services, among many more.

The 17 new businesses receiving grants are distributed across 15 Detroit neighborhoods, including Warrendale, North Campau, Chalfonte, University District, and Martin Park.

“The impact Motor City Match is having on neighborhoods across the city is remarkable,” Duggan says. “Neighborhoods that have lacked basic services and amenities for years are now seeing a real diversity of high-quality businesses opening along their commercial corridors, within walking distance of many residents. This program has been a major part of our strategy to strengthen and rebuild our neighborhoods.”

In Round 21, a total of $965,000 in grants have been awarded to 17 new businesses to open a brick-and-mortar location in the city. Another $341,000 in cash grants was awarded to 15 existing businesses for improvements to their current space, the latter made possible by funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

In addition to the grants, the program confirmed awards to 48 additional businesses in its Business Plan, Develop and Design tracks. These awards offer technical assistance, including business services, workshops and one-on-one consulting for Detroit businesses still developing their projects.

In total, 80 Detroit businesses representing all seven council districts received assistance through Motor City Match’s 21st round.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and communities,” says Kevin Johnson, president and CEO of DEGC. “They provide a tax base to fund our schools and city services, they provide jobs, and they provide goods and services within residents’ own backyard. If we want a strong, functional economy, then we need the small business community to thrive.”

Since 2015, Motor City Match has awarded more than 1,600 businesses, resulting in 143 new brick & mortar businesses currently operating throughout the city. Starting with Round 20, the program leverages federal funding from the city’s ARPA allocation to increase both the number of grants and scope of services available. The quarterly grant pool has been increased to $1 million for new businesses and offers $250,000 in grants to existing businesses that have been operating in the city for at least one year.

Integrating ARPA funding into the program represents a continuation of the city’s efforts to support businesses in combatting the negative economic impact of the pandemic. The DEGC administered over $15 million in Covid relief grants between March 2020 and March 2021 and introduced the Detroit Means Business platform to provide wrap-around services for Detroit businesses. ARPA funding, which was approved last year by Detroit City Council, has allowed Motor City Match and the DEGC to continue those efforts and target support to underserved Detroit entrepreneurs.

Michigan Works! Southeast Receives $3.6M to Assist Area Businesses

Michigan Works! Southeast will receive up to $3.6 Million from the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity (LEO) to train workers at 66 companies throughout the region.

Collectively, these 66 companies will train 1,883 employees, which includes 789 new hires and 330 United States Department. of Labor Registered Apprentices.

Elm Plating Co. in Jackson was granted the largest award at $517,880. The next-largest grant, $221,704, went to Wolverine Glass in Dexter. The smallest grants, $3,745, were given to Advance Turning and Manufacturing Inc. and Jackson Tumble Finish, both in Jackson.

The grant awards are part of the state’s Going PRO Talent Fund, which is in its ninth year. The fund provides competitive awards for training that enhances talent, productivity, and employee retention while increasing the quality and competitiveness of Michigan’s businesses. It is designed to ensure that employers have the talent they need to compete and grow, and so that employees have the in-demand skills they need to be successful.

“These grants help both new and existing employees at these companies gain the skills they need to perform their jobs effectively,” says Tom Robinson, business services manager for Michigan Works! Southeast. “We are excited to increase the number of registered apprenticeships, for which we can offer additional services through our new Apprenticeship Works program.”

Visit here to view the recipients of the 2023 award.

Atlas Space Operations Works with Amazon to Expand Ground Station Coverage

Atlas Space Operations in Traverse City is the first Ground Software as a Service provider to join the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Solution Provider Program (SPP) to resell AWS Ground Station.

AWS Ground Station is a fully managed ground station infrastructure that lets customers control satellite communications, process data, and scale their operations. The SPP is an official AWS program allowing specific AWS Partners to resell AWS services to end customers as part of their unique offerings.

The SPP will expand Atlas’ global federated network, a network of networks that work together seamlessly through Freedom, Atlas’ proprietary software that integrates its global ground network with partnered ground antenna sites.

Atlas clients now will have access to 11 additional ground sites, giving customers low-latency and low-cost access to AWS services so that they can quickly store and process their data. The Freedom software abstracts complexity through features such as flex scheduling, streaming metrics, pass insights, status updates, and one endpoint for all TT&C. This facilitates automation and integration into existing architectures.

AWS Ground Station lets space operators downlink and process their own satellite data without having to worry about building or managing ground station infrastructure. AWS Ground Station provides a global network of ground stations in close proximity to the global network of AWS infrastructure regions.

“This work with AWS is a validation of the federated network model, and an immediate boost to Atlas clients who can now access 11 new ground stations with zero software changes” says Brad Bode, co-founder and chief technology officer at Atlas. “We’re excited about our relationship because it offers an integration-friendly gateway to expanded space communication services for our clients. The aggregation of multiple networks under one SaaS offers lower latency, pricing flexibility, surge support, and increases operator options, through a common interface.”

Five Detroit Landmarks Competing in USA TODAY Annual 10Best Contest

Five Detroit institutions have been nominated for the USA TODAY’s annual 10Best awards. Travel experts select the top 20 nominees in 13 categories covering food, lodging, destinations, museums, public square, river walk, and many more. Then voters get to decide the top 10.

The Detroit landmarks in contention are:

  • The Detroit International Riverwalk has been voted the best river walk in the country two years in a row. Voting ends on Feb. 6.
  • Campus Martius is nominated for the best public square. Voting ends on Feb. 6.
  • The Detroit Institute of Arts, which has a collection of more than 65,000, pieces is nominated for the best art museum. Voting ends on Feb. 13.
  • The Michigan Science Center, which features an IMAX Dome, a planetarium, and more than 220 hands-on activities, finished second in 2022. It is nominated again for the best science museum. Voting ends on Feb. 13.
  • The Motown Museum is nominated for the best music museum. Voting end Feb. 13.

“Detroit is the place to be in 2023, and USA TODAY’s recognition of five of our great attractions demonstrates that the city is must visit global destination,” says Claude Molinari, president and CEO of Visit Detroit. “Our region boasts so many incredible treasures, and Visit Detroit calls on all Michiganders to show their civic pride and vote for our great cultural attractions.”

To vote for all five destinations, visit here.

U-M-Dearborn Names 95 Michigan Cities and Townships 5-Star Business Communities

The University of Michigan-Dearborn’s iLabs Center for Innovation Research has named 95 Michigan cities and townships 5-Star communities in its annual study tracking conditions for entrepreneurship and small business development.

These communities, according to the school’s eCities report, “are exemplary in their support of business growth.” Another 88 municipalities were named 4-star cities.

The 2022 eCities survey examined 11 publicly available data points relating to community growth and investment metrics. Researchers focused on the five-year changes in property values, community assets, and tax rates, which can demonstrate the growth, investments, and cost of doing business within the community. Data was collected on 277 Michigan communities from 54 of the 83 counties in the state. Communities were chosen based on population, geography, and relative size within counties. In terms of population, Detroit is the largest 5-Star city on the list, while the city of Reading in Hillsdale County is the smallest.

In addition to the quantitative data collection and analysis, this year’s report includes case studies of several communities who discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their city or township.

“Small businesses are essential to Michigan’s economic future,” says Timothy Davis, director of iLabs. “While there are many differences among our 5- and 4-Star Cities, they each employ smart strategies to foster small business growth and can serve as models for other communities across the state and the nation.”

Visit here to download the full report.

HGTV’s ‘Bargain Block,’ Local Credit Union Partner to Make Homebuying More Attainable

NINE Design + Homes, the Detroit-based retail store and design studio behind HGTV’s “Bargain Block show,” has partnered with Community Financial Credit Union (CFCU) to help more Michiganders attain affordable housing.

The recently launched partnership is dedicated to helping first-time, often-overlooked homebuyers navigate Detroit’s changing real estate landscape.

Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas of NINE Design + Homes host “Bargain Block,” an HGTV program in which the partners restore rundown or abandoned Detroit homes into affordable, stylish starter homes for first-time buyers. Bynum and Thomas have renovated more than 40 homes with more than 32 of them appearing on “Bargain Block,” which is in its second season on HGTV.

To expand the impact of Bynum and Thomas’ efforts, they have selected metro Detroit-based, $1.5 billion CFCU as their official financing partner. The partnership’s shared vision is to ease the barriers to homeownership for first-time homebuyers.

With Bynum and Thomas’ expertise in preparing homes for market, blended with CFCU’s commitment to financing that serves the needs of first-time homebuyers, the partnership plans to pursue projects over the coming months that will address the current pain points in metro Detroit’s housing market. The partnership also will explore a possible charitable foundation.

“As Detroit’s single-family home market has started to cool, it is allowing many first-time homebuyers previously priced out of the market to revisit their goal of achieving homeownership,” said Bynum and Thomas in a statement. “With the power of a financial partner like CFCU by our side, we’re eager to take our efforts to the next level. By elevating our abilities to bring the dream of homeownership to more people, it will positively impact our community and give a boost to metro Detroit’s economic development efforts as a whole.”

As a first step, CFCU has developed a special purpose credit program called Path to Homeownership. The credit union developed the program for buyers who may not qualify for conventional loans, with unique elements including no minimum credit score, low or no down payment, consideration for consistent rent payments, and valuation options.

Path to Homeownership emphasizes fast decision-making, understanding the challenges many homebuyers face with closing on mortgages given the often-lengthy approval process amidst market or valuation fluctuations. This latest product builds upon CFCU’s offerings to help buyers secure financing and homeownership, including its signature 0 percent down payment program.

Wayne State to Host Black Italian Film Showcase Feb. 17-18

Wayne State University’s Irvin D. Reid Honors College, its Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, in conjunction with the Consulate of Italy in Detroit and the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago, are presenting a free Black Italian Film Showcase Feb. 17-18 to celebrate Black History Month.

The Black Italian Film Showcase is the first celebration of Afro-Italian talents in film, showcasing new features, documentaries, and short films and illuminating the historical, social, and cultural aspects of Black life in Italy through film, offering the opportunity to see a diverse representation of Italy.

Curated by Italian-Ghanaian-American producer-director Fred Kudjo Kuwornu, this retrospective of Italian of African descent filmmakers deals with questions of colonialism, diversity, global black diaspora, gender, race, and identity that are best answered by those who live Italy’s integration day to day.

On Feb. 17 at 5:30 p.m., movie director Antonio Dikele Distefano will be present for a public conversation, presenting the screening of his new movie “Autumn Beat,” produced by Amazon Studios and co-produced by Indiana Productions, and presented in Detroit for the first time to the public.

All Films will be screened in Room 150 of WSU’s General Lectures building (5045 Anthony Wayne Dr.). Parking Structure 2 is the closest parking garage to the General Lectures building.

“Va Pensiero, Walking Stories,” directed by Dagmawi Yimer, will be shown at 3 p.m. Feb. 18. “Blaxploitalian: 100 Years of Blackness in Italian Cinema,” directed by Fred K. Kuwornu, will be shown at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 18.

For more information on the films, directors, actors, and the event itself, visit here and here.

Mike Morse Law Firm is Official Adoption Partner of Michigan Humane

Mike Morse Law Firm (MMLF) in Southfield has signed a three-year partnership agreement with Michigan Humane to become the agency’s official adoption partner for 2023-2025.

As the official adoption partner, MMLF will support Michigan Humane’s effort to achieve an ongoing 100-percent adoption rate for the thousands of healthy and treatable animals that come through its doors annually.

To further aid in pet adoption awareness, MMLF’s partnership will support regular, on-air, “pet features” with metro Detroit television stations, monthly social media spotlights of adoptable animals, and sponsorship of the “Spotlight Dog” kennel at Michigan Humane’s Mackey Center in Detroit, which houses and highlights a dog in special need of a family.

Additionally, on May 20, MMLF will host the third annual, “Meet Your Best Friend at the Firm” pet adoption event at its headquarters; and will sponsor Michigan Humane’s first “Meet Your Best Friend at the Shelter” event at its adoption center locations on Sept. 8-9.  MMLF also will serve as Silver Sponsor of the Michigan Humane annual Day of Giving Telethon, and as an ongoing supporter of Michigan Humane’s Cruelty Investigation and Rescue team.

“Safe, loved, and well-cared for pets are an integral part of our wellbeing and quality of life,” says Mike Morse, founder of the firm. “At MMLF, we are moved by Michigan Humane’s tireless dedication to building a more humane community by touching the lives of nearly 100,000 families and their pets. It feels like an easy decision to partner with and provide support to an organization built on compassionate care, community engagement and advocacy for humane treatment.”

Matt Pepper, president and CEO of Michigan Humane, says: “At Michigan Humane, we know firsthand what is needed to support the people and pets in our community. We simply can’t do it alone. We rely on the support of generous community partners, like Mike Morse and his team at MMLF, to continue to do what we do every day. Thanks to this important partnership, thousands of animals will now know the healing power of having a home.”

Career and Technical Education Activities Fill Calendar at Washtenaw Community College

Washtenaw Community College (WCC) in Ann Arbor will start February — Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month — with events designed to connect students to career and technical education opportunities.

CTE Month is a public awareness campaign that takes place each February to inform students and the community about what CTE is and how it directly prepares students for high-wage, high-demand careers. CTE impacts a wide variety of fields including health care, information technology, advanced manufacturing, management and more.

WCC offers more than 30 associate degrees and 40 certificates in CTE career fields, fueling a pipeline from a post-secondary education directly into a high-paying job. Many of WCC’s academic programs align with the state of Michigan’s recent “Hot 50 Jobs Outlook,” including those requiring applied health sciences, business, computer science and STEM-related certificates and degrees.

Among the scheduled events are:

  • The annual invitation-only Auto Service Competition/Skills USA Regional competition will take place Feb. 3.
  • A virtual event highlighting non-traditional careers for women will be from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Feb. 8.
  • Two CTE-themed movies during February, including “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” at 3 p.m. Feb. 15 and “The Founder” at 4 p.m. Feb. 21. Both movies will be shown in Garrett’s in the Student Center.
  • An internship fair from 4-6 p.m. Feb. 16 in the Morris Lawrence Building.
  • An employer discussion panel will run from 3-4:30 p.m. Feb. 23 in Garrett’s, on the ground floor of the Student Center.

For more information, visit here.

Anyone interested in more information about the CTE Month® events, including how to register, can visit the CTE Month @ WCC webpage. https://www.wccnet.edu/succeed/cte/cte-month.php.

WCC students can register for CTE Month events through the Handshake platform.