There are a number of ways to spend $5 in Detroit; you could grab a bite to eat, spend time with friends at a great venue in the city, or simply park your car.
Now, you can do all three while helping local entrepreneurs fulfill their dreams.
On August 1, Michigan Corps and Detroit SOUP
held the second Kiva SOUP for social entrepreneurs, bringing Detroiters together in support of local small businesses. Making use of a recently restored theater space in Detroit, Kiva SOUP places four neighborhood-based small businesses on center stage with an opportunity to pitch their business idea and a funding need to an audience of discerning Detroiters. By offering $5 towards the evening’s soup and salad feast, each spectator that walks through the door secures one vote while contributing to a growing micro-grant fund. Near the end of the evening, the public decides on which of these four small businesses will walk away with a micro-grant resulting from everyone’s pooled $5 entry fee.
The event on Thursday began with a steady inflow of people, food, tables, chairs and even art sifting through the venue’s doors. This isn’t your typical business affair; the environment invites you to plunk yourself on the hard-wood floor with some friends, grab a soda at the bar and mingle with other audience members and entrepreneurs before the pitches begin. Our photos capture some of the essence of the inspiring environment!
The Kiva Detroit businesses who present have the community in mind, and are encouraged to speak about their mission-minded approach to business! The latest Kiva SOUP showcased a host of socially impactful business models including a Detroit community art studio, a city-wide recycling service, a business collaborative and incubation building, and a medical transportation service. ( Brandon from CANVAS Detroit, Marsha from Bright Recycling, Barbara at The Collective, and Marco’s MB1 Services, respectively.) After four heartfelt presentation, votes cast, and food devoured, the winner was announced with a crowd-sourced drumroll on tables and chairs.…
Marco from MB1 Transportation Services in Brightmoor claimed the SOUP grant to purchase a handicap-accessible ramp for his business. Here’s what MB1 is all about, in Marco’s words…
“Transportation is the life line to any city. MB1 encourages a no-one-left-behind attitude by transporting wheelchair bound individuals, medical equipment and medication for Detroiters with transportation issues. The best way to connect people is to create the means to be mobile, and organize environments where all walks of life can socially interact.”
This focus on community is ultimately what Kiva Detroit and Detroit SOUP strive for!
Kiva Detroit works with businesses in and around the city to provide a crowd-funded, zero-interest micro-loan through the web platform zip.kiva.org. Join Team Kiva Detroit to be kept informed of opportunities to nominate and lend to local entrepreneurs through Kiva! By collaborating with Detroit SOUP, even more can be done to support small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs with a desire to impact their surroundings in a big way.
By Jason Aoraha, Michigan Corps' Kiva Fellow