What is your organization’s target area?
We are a city-wide organization that helps people turn their business ideas into reality by providing them with the necessary tools, resources, and support network in Detroit. Whether its our classes, networking events, mentorship, or connections to resources we’re here to provide a nurturing community that allows ideas to develop and flourish over time.
We currently have program graduates representing over 100 zip codes in Detroit and Southeast Michigan.
Build institute is an idea activator and small business accelerator focused on equitable entrepreneurship. Our approach is strongly rooted in the entrepreneurial mindset as a philosophy and way of doing things (for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs). We take this very seriously and vet our facilitators and speakers carefully to make sure they have small business start-up experience. We have seen this approach to be extremely effective in building confidence in program participants, connecting to resources and creating a supportive community within which to start and grow a business.
Build Institute takes its programs into the neighborhoods and conducts classes at small business establishments. This allows for the business owner, who is also a build grad and facilitator, to develop their identities within the neighborhood and create a hub of economic activity. This methodology also allows the participants to see the potential for their own business and get authentic feedback from their peer facilitator.
What are some of your organization’s proudest accomplishments?
To date, we’ve graduated nearly 800 participants from our entrepreneurial education classes in the four years Build Institute has existed.
A University of Michigan marketing class study of our annual alumni survey found that 505 of our alumni are collaborating with one another, and those who do make an average of $10,000 more a year in revenue.
Equitable Entrepreneurship through Diversity
Build’s visions statement is to be a nurturing organization that delivers programs to support Detroit as the global leader in equitable entrepreneurship. The diversity of our participants speaks to the accessibility and effectiveness of our programming.
Seventy percent of our program participants are women, and nearly 60 percent are minority.
What have been your top lessons learned through your work in your community?
We are very aware of the challenges and obstacles associated with being a minority and/or woman small business owner and we work very hard to break down barriers and offer solutions and support. We offer classes at various locations and times across the city of Detroit to be as accessible as possible to our participants. We are consciously curating our speakers and mentors to be representative of the population of Detroit and our class participants.
At Build, we believe in teaching the whole entrepreneur, not just a business plan. The peer-to-peer learning and camaraderie allows Build’s participant to share and grow together, forever developing a support network that they can rely upon. Build stresses the value of these resources and teaches program participants how to leverage them to achieve greater success. We know that it takes a village to raise and entrepreneur and it’s equally as important as the education. The entrepreneurial community we have developed is what set us apart from other organizations and is key to the regeneration of Detroit’s commercial corridors.
How can others get involved/support your work?
We’re always looking for passionate and talented professionals to share their time, resources and expertise with our BUILDers. Whether you want to be a guest speaker in a class, provide low-cost professional services (accounting, legal, marketing, design, etc.), or be a mentor to an aspiring entrepreneur, we invite you to give back and get involved!
Another opportunity is with the events we produce throughout the year. These include events such as Open City, Build Bazaar’s pop-up markets and special events. These events require volunteers to help set up, run registration and check-in and clean up.
CLICK HERE to learn about Build Institute’s role in fostering entrepreneurship.
CLICK HERE to see how the organization is making an impact.