The Detroit Development Fund’s 25-Year Journey




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DETROIT’S ECONOMIC RENAISSANCE-The Detroit Development Fund’s 25-Year Journey Towards Inclusive Prosperity

In the heart of Detroit’s vibrant entrepreneurial landscape, the Detroit Development Fund (DDF) has emerged as a devoted ally for local businesses, catalyzing economic growth and fostering lasting community development. Over the past 25 years, this organization, originally known as ShoreBank Enterprise Detroit, has evolved into a certified nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), leaving an indelible mark on the city’s east side community and beyond.

DDF – Board

A Legacy of Empowerment:
Founded in 1996, DDF’s initial focus was on servicing Detroit’s east side community. Fast forward to today, and the organization has seamlessly transformed into a beacon of hope, providing financial products and services that stretch across the entire city– with their microloans even reaching the neighboring cities of Hamtramck and Highland Park, Michigan.

Their commercial loans have been instrumental in weaving a financial safety net for businesses, underscoring their commitment to fostering economic stability. DDF’s mission goes beyond mere financial transactions; it’s about enhancing the quality of life for Detroit residents, particularly those in underserved neighborhoods. What sets them apart is their dedication to relationship building and customer empowerment. Success, for DDF, is not measured solely by the number or value of approved loans, but by the enduring success and sustainability of their clients. To date, DDF has injected over $92 million in Small Business Loans into the city, catalyzing the creation of more than 8,000 jobs.

A Vision for Economic Equity:
Striving for economic equity in a city like Detroit requires a multi-faceted approach, and DDF has risen to the challenge. The Entrepreneurs of Color Fund (EOC Fund), established in 2015, is a testament to their commitment to addressing the systemic issues faced by BIPOC entrepreneurs. This initiative not only provides access to capital, but also addresses the crucial aspects of technical assistance and business knowledge.

Since its inception, the EOC Fund has been a game-changer, providing over $22 million in loans to BIPOC entrepreneurs, with a significant focus on Black-owned businesses. Notably, 49% of these businesses are owned by Black women, exemplifying DDF’s commitment to gender diversity in entrepreneurship. Through this fund, nearly 3,000 jobs were created and retained, contributing to the revitalization of underserved communities.

DDF – Team

A Celebratory Milestone:
In May 2023, The Detroit Development Fund marked the 7-year anniversary of the Entrepreneurs of Color Loan Fund at the prestigious Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. This momentous occasion brought together over 250 black-owned and BIPOC entrepreneurs, stakeholders, and City of Detroit officials in a joyous celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit within Detroit. The event, filled with food, fun, and inspiration, underscored the collective success of Entrepreneurs of Color in the city.

Financial Products Powering Progress:
DDF’s financial products are designed to be a safe haven for entrepreneurs, offering alternatives to predatory products. The primary services they provide include:

  • Small Business Loans: Ranging up to $250,000 for working capital, expansion, equipment financing, and various other needs, with flexible repayment terms of 24-84 months.
  • Contractor Lines of Credit: Tailored to specific contracts, supporting additional working capital for projects, with credit lines reaching up to $200,000 and typical repayment terms of 6-12 months
  • DDF Micro Loans/BizLoan Small Business Loans and Lines of Credit: Offering term and working capital lines ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 for small businesses and contractors.
  • Late-Stage Pre-Development Loans: Bridging the gap between early predevelopment stages and project qualification for construction
    financing, with amounts ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 and repayment within 12-60 months.
  • Pre-Construction Loans: Dedicated to projects in or adjacent to Detroit low-to-moderate income neighborhoods, creating housing units priced for low-income users, with loan amounts between $50,000 to $200,000 and repayment within 6-24 months

As Detroit Development Fund continues to spearhead innovation, their journey becomes an inspiring narrative of resilience, empowerment, and sustained community impact. In their relentless pursuit of economic equity, they stand as a testament to the transformative power of community-focused financial institutions.

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