ProsperUS Detroit


ProsperUS Detroit

ProsperUS Detroit is an entrepreneurial training and small business lending program for Detroit residents, particularly those who are African-American, Arab-American or Latino.  By helping emerging entrepreneurs develop successful businesses, ProsperUS will help strengthen neighborhood economies, create jobs, serve residents with new goods and services, and cultivate community-based leadership.


ProsperUS Detroit is a collaboration between strong community-based organizations. We have joined forces to provide training and resources to aspiring entrepreneurs who want to base their small business in particular Detroit neighborhoods.

ProsperUS serves five neighborhoods:

  • Cody Rouge
  • Grandmont Rosedale
  • Lower Eastside
  • North End
  • Southwest Detroit

In each neighborhood, trusted and experienced community partners help program participants develop skills they need to start and sustain their businesses. ProsperUS offers ongoing support and the opportunity for small business loans and technical assistance.

Entrepreneur training

The Entreprenuer Training Program guides entreprenuers through the business planning process step-by-step. The program also provides entrepreneurs the opportunity to build a support system and apply for entrepreneurial supports. Training is offered by community partners in the five target neighborhoods. The training consists of:

  • 12 sessions spread over 20 weeks
  • 10 hours of one-on-one coaching with trainer

Small business lending

Graduates of our entrepreneur training program, who intend to locate their business in one of our five target neighborhoods, are eligible to apply for small business loans. The ProsperUS Detroit Lending Program provides access to capital for start-up and existing small businesses that otherwise might not have access through traditional sources. ProsperUS Detroit provides financing upto $15,000 for start up businesses and up to $25,000 for existing businesses.

Technical assistance

Graduates of the Entreprneur Training Program, who plan to open or expand their business in one of the five ProsperUS Detroit neighborhoods, are eligible to apply for technical assistance, offered in these categories: legal, marketing, accounting, HR and Personel, Design and IT.

Program Background

ProsperUS began in 2012. It is a collaboration between Global Detroit, Southwest Solutions and numerous community partners. The program is a place-based economic development strategy designed to empower ethnic and minority individuals and families. It is modeled after Neighborhood Development Center (NDC), a proven and highly successful initiative in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

The model features six principles that work together to cultivate homegrown businesses and revitalize inner-city neighborhoods:

  1. Find the untapped talent of entrepreneurs in low-income communities
  2. Eliminate barriers through highly accessible, multi-cultural programs and services
  3. Take a comprehensive, long-term approach that helps entrepreneurs succeed
  4. Work at scale while communities retain ownership and enjoy the benefits of success
  5. Link energy to place in order to create the critical mass needed to revitalize neighborhoods
  6. Build local and national capacity of individuals, organizations and communities

NDC staff will consult on the ProsperUS project to review, evaluate and refine its effectiveness.

Program Partners



More than 600 aspiring entrepreneurs have completed the training program since it began

And ProsperUS is on pace to train some 200 additional residents per year

ProsperUS has helped develop more than 140 small businesses in the five target neighborhoods.
ProsperUS has provided 25 small business loans amounting to $500,000. Businesses receiving these loans have created 100 new jobs.
The average credit score of an entrepreneur receiving a ProsperUS loan is 541.
93% of the ProsperUS graduates are minorities. 97% of those receiving ProsperUS loans are minorities.


To learn more about ProsperUS Detroit, visit its website, which contains detailed information about the program. Joanna Dueweke, program manager of ProsperUS, can be reached at 313.297.0093 or via email. To inquire about small business lending, contact Matt Bihun at 313.297.1381 or email. The ProsperUS office is located in the offices of Southwest Economic Solutions at the Welcome Center at 2835 Bagley, Suite 800, Detroit, MI  48216


Monica Echeverri Casarez (1970-2020)

April 13th, 2020

Southwest Solutions is grieving the death of our colleague Monica Echeverri Casarez. Monica passed away on Easter Sunday from COVID-19. Monica was a multi-talented individual…

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