ProsperUs Detroit supports minority, immigrant small businesses

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A local non-profit is giving local small businesses a boost, one micro-enterprise at a time.

It is called ProsperUs Detroit, helping to make dreams come true in underserved communities.

One example is the owner of Cutz Lounge: The Grooming Shop beams with pride as he shows off his new business venture.

"An Internet cafe feel intertwined with a barbershop," said owner Dante Williams.

Williams says opening his business was not easy because of lack of financing so he turned to ProsperUs Detroit.

"For me the money just wasn't there and through ProsperUs Detroit we were able to build the space out," Williams said.

ProsperUS Detroit is a program of the Southwest Economic Solutions, it works to support low income minority and immigrant entrepreneurs starting businesses in one of five target areas in Detroit which includes the Grandmont-Rosedale community.

"Any Detroit resident can apply to take training for program but also small businesses located in target neighborhoods can apply for resources and technical assistance," said Kimberly Faison of ProsperUS Detroit.

ProsperUs Detroit says it offers everything from business training to micro-lending for risky candidates.

"On an ongoing basis we provide free and low costs resources to entrepreneurs," Faison said. "Our lending is pretty unique in that it's high risk. We take a chance and overlook what assets look like."

ProsperUs participants say once they get involved in the program the great thing is that support continues for them and the business, it's called a forever relationship.

Willie Brake was able to open his computer business last year through ProsperUS Detroit and comes back for support

"I use technical assistance, stay in contact with my loan provider and he gives me up to date info on events and networking opportunities," said Brake.

ProsperUs Detroit is accepting applications for its next training program.

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"It's not just nuts and bolts of starting business," Faison said. "But how Detroit residents and Detroit based business owners get connected to all great things this city has to offer."