By Sherri Welch
- Detroit Development Fund to make $1M in loans to healthy food businesses in Detroit through Michigan Good Food Fund partnership
- New funding expands loan pool available to healthy food companies in Detroit
- Complements Detroit Development funds focused on entrepreneurs of color, small businesses
The Detroit Development Fund has joined the Michigan Good Food Fund as its second intermediary lending partner.
It will deploy $1 million in loans over the next five years to support Detroit entrepreneurs engaged in healthy food production, distribution and processing, and retail projects that benefit undeserved communities throughout Michigan.
As an intermediary lender, the Detroit Development Fund will underwrite loans of less than $250,000 to healthy food businesses in Detroit.
There is a growing food entrepreneur movement in Detroit, Michigan Good Food Fund spokesperson and manager Mary Donnell of Capital Impact Partners, said in a release.
“With Detroit Development Fund on board, we can support more entrepreneurs in the city with the capital and additional business assistance support they need to succeed and thrive.”
Michigan Good Food Fund is a $30 million public-private partnership loan fund supporting good food enterprises that benefit underserved communities in Michigan.
Partners includes Capital Impact Partners, which underwrites larger loans; Fair Food Network; Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems; and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, with lenders Northern Initiatives and now the Detroit Development Fund.
Since its June 2015 launch, the Michigan Good Food Fund has invested $11 million in loans and grants and provided business assistance to more than 47 businesses. Those businesses have gone on to create nearly 400 jobs across Michigan.
Projects that have garnered support include:
- A $180,000 loan to Feast LLC, a processing and co-packing company in Inkster formed by three local food companies, to purchase equipment.
- A $35,000 loan through Northern Initiatives to support Fresh 101 in founding a permanent kitchen and café in Detroit’s West Village.
- A $3.64 million loan to support the $42 million Diamond Place project in Grand Rapids, which will bring together more than 100 units of affordable housing plus 22,000 square feet of retail space anchored by a community grocery store.
- A nonprofit, certified community development financial institution, the Detroit Development Fund provides loans and technical assistance to Detroit small business owners, developers, building owners, contractors and subcontractors that cannot obtain all of the capital they need from traditional financing sources.
Over the past 19 years, it’s made $47.4 million in small business loans, with 65 percent going to minority-owned businesses and 42 percent to women-led companies.
Teaming up with the Michigan Good Food Fund to increase financing opportunities for healthy food businesses in Detroit “compliments our Entrepreneurs of Color Fund and other small business loan funds providing a much-needed niche for good food businesses,” Ray Waters, Detroit Development Fund president, said in the release.
First posted on Crain’s Detroit Business December 7, 2017.