Voting Begins for $10,000 Top Business Challenge


DETROIT— New Economy Initiative, a special project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, announced today that four small businesses in Detroit will have the opportunity to win two $10,000 grants for their business growth ideas in the first-ever NEIdeas “People’s Choice Awards.”

The contestants include: Above and Beyond Orthopedics, Dexter Quality Cleaners, Ellis Island Tea, and Motor City Java & Tea House. The four businesses were runners-up in the recent NEIdeas $10K Challenge: Rewarding Ideas for Business Growth, where 30 small businesses across Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park were awarded $10,000 grants to grow their businesses.

“We were impressed with so many of the ideas that came from our nearly 600 applicants, that we wanted to cast the net even wider and allow the community to have a voice in our next two NEIdeas winning businesses,” says Dave Egner, executive director, New Economy Initiative.

The finalists are:

Above and Beyond Orthopedics (Vote code: 945841)
Prosthetic Services – Detroit – established in 2011
Idea: Purchase an electric convection oven to allow for in-house custom prosthetic and orthotic fabrication.

Dexter Quality Cleaners (Vote code: 945840)
Dry Cleaning and Laundry Service – Detroit – established in 2002
Idea: Invest in physical improvements to the interior and exterior of the business, marketing, and maintenance and enhancement of their delivery van.

Ellis Island Tea (Vote code: 945839)
Natural Beverage Company – Detroit – established in 2008
Idea: Hire both a team of brand ambassadors and a marketing consultant to promote the company’s unique blend of hibiscus tea.

Motor City Java & Tea House (Vote code: 945838)
Coffee Shop – Detroit – established in 2010
Idea: Purchase a new espresso machine, a point-of-sale system, a video surveillance system, and marketing tools.

The public can begin voting for the NEIdeas People’s Choice today through three different methods: texting the six-digit vote code of the nominated business to the number 22333; tweeting the vote code to @poll; and by visiting the website and selecting the business name. Each person can submit a vote through each voting method once during the open voting period.
Voting will conclude at noon, Dec. 11 with the final opportunity to vote taking place live during a Detroit SOUP event beginning at 6 p.m. that evening at Jam Handy. The four business owners will present their ideas to the live audience and then the audience votes will be combined with the digital votes and the two grant winners will be announced that evening.