Originally created to bring small businesses together, the New Economy Initiative was able to raise millions of dollars through their NEIdeas Competition to benefit over one hundred businesses in their local community.
It’s no secret that small businesses are the backbone of most communities and the United States economy as a whole. According to research by JP Morgan Chase, small businesses in the U.S employ close to half of the work force, and account for an additional 45% of the GDP. Based in Detroit, the New Economy Initiative recognizes the vital importance of small businesses to the country, and to the local communities they operate in. The goal of this organization, through the NEIdeas network, is to provide a community for small businesses to utilize and benefit from.
NEIdeas hosts a yearly competition for small businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park, Michigan. The competition consists of two challenges: The$10K Challenge and The $100K Challenge, for businesses that annually gross under $750,000 and between $750,000 – $5 Million, respectively. Each year, the competition benefits 32 small businesses with big ideas through monetary awards. However, the NEIdeas program prides itself on helping all applicants, not just those who win. Because the original intention of the organization was to help grow the local community and give small businesses the tools they need to prosper, “all businesses that apply are welcomed into the NEIdeas network, where they may access further opportunities in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.” Through this program, every eligible applicant receives:
- Connections to small business service providers
- Growth-centered workshops
- Connections to other small businesses in the community, and NEIdeas Ambassadors
The New Economy Initiative is a perfect example of how community-mindedness can have major impacts. Creating positive environments for small businesses to expand and develop can create countless jobs and increase opportunities for the communities to grow. For instance, one winner of the $100K prize, the Detroit Training Center plans to purchase new tractor-trailers so that their students will be able to earn their Commercial Drivers License. Another winner, Louisiana Creole Gumbo, will be spending their winnings on a fleet of food trucks. Both of these endeavors will create jobs in both the short term and the long term.
But, it doesn’t stop there. The jobs created in the small business sector can then enable larger companies to obtain resources more efficiently, transport goods quicker, or even provide better lunch options for employees. The impact that the small business sector can have, not only on small communities, but on larger corporations, is vast and can be difficult to fully measure.
When organizations recognize this, the potential for community growth becomes limitless. If you’d like to learn more about what the New Economy Initiative is doing, visit their website here!
By: Emily Dietz, Business Development Strategist