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Announcing our Kiva SOUP winner: Always Brewing Detroit

Amanda Brewington, founder of Always Brewing Detroit, shares her story of presenting and winning our recent Kiva SOUP event for social entrepeneurs in Detroit.
By Amanda Brewington

On January 17th I attended and participated in my first ever Kiva SOUP. I loved the concept of people coming together eating soup and supporting an idea, literally with their $5 donation. When I started talking with Michigan Corps about ways to fund my business through Kiva Detroit, I was excited to learn they were partnering with Detroit Soup to take the event to a new level, helping community-minded entrepreneurs get funding to grow their businesses. They asked if I would like to apply to present my business, Always Brewing Detroit, at the Kiva SOUP event. OF COURSE I did! Win or lose, I would be telling people about my new business and interacting with people I wouldn't otherwise have the chance to meet - since I am currently closed for renovations.

Once accepted to Kiva SOUP, I glanced over the guidelines and tucked them away; I would finesse a presentation later. It only had to be 3 to 5 minutes...

The day of the event I landed on my couch, after work, at about 4:15pm. I took about 20 minutes to collect my thoughts. I glanced over notes and my blog entries from that time. I visualized the framed note at the shop "coming soon: a community space featuring coffee, music, art..." I realized I didn't need a prepared speech. I just had to go be myself and talk about opening a business in the city of Detroit.

Once at the event, we began serving coffee. We made 20 cups by hand with my pour-over station and handed out over 100 cups from the airpots!

Soon, it was my time to speak. There had to be over 300 people there! I started by welcoming those that came out from Grandmont Rosedale, an amazing Detroit neighborhood where I am opening my business. I talked about my experience as a pop-up business and how it had convinced me to open a permanent location. I introduced myself, my business and why we needed the money - we need an espresso machine. After that I wanted to make sure I explained why I was doing this: to create a community space for gathering, while supporting musicians, artists and local food vendors in a Detroit neighborhood. I don't remember the exact words I said, but I felt comfortable explaining my business, in front of a lot of people.

After I spoke there were three other presenters: The Social Club Grooming Company, Motown Freedom Bakery and Pro-Windshield Repair. Sebastian from The Social Club talked about the way they recycle hair clippings while helping the environment. Katie from Motown Freedom Bakery talked about her dedication to creating allergen friendly sweets. Lastly two ladies spoke about Elias from Pro-Windshield Repair and his participation in the new Thrive Detroit micro-franchise program.

After all the speeches I returned to serving coffee and talking with folks one-on-one about Always Brewing Detroit. It was great to meet people and see some folks from the shop I hadn't seen in a few weeks! 

Now, here's the result. This was the highest attended Soup event ever. $1,770 raised and the winner: Always Brewing Detroit! I was in shock! I walked to the front of the room and thanked everyone! We packed up the coffee station. My family came back to my small downtown apartment and we toasted to the evening over cheap champaign. My niece just lay staring up at our goblets and clapping. It is an evening I will remember as the night Detroit said - 'we support your dream.'
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