Detroit-based businesses buying more from each, strengthening the city’s economy


Detroit-based companies are buying more and more from each other. In fact, there was a 31% increase in local business-to-business purchasing in Detroit compared with a year earlier, according to an annual survey recently released by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC). That comes out to $200 million more spent with Detroit-based companies compared with the previous survey results.

This is largely due to the D2D program, which allows suppliers to connect with buyers without leaving the Detroit city limits.

“The scale of the increase shows how deeply committed major Detroit purchasers are to look for quality suppliers here in Detroit,” said Brian Watkins, D2D program manager at DEGC. “It also demonstrates that Detroit-based suppliers have a lot to offer — not just to other Detroit companies, but customers anywhere.”

D2D_logo_wtagA business-to-business database, supplier workshops and other programs are all used by D2D to strengthen the relationships of business within the city. By strengthening the connections, the city as a whole will hopefully strengthen as well.

“One of the best tools we have for growing the economy is the purchasing power we have right here in Detroit,” said David Egner, executive director of the New Economy Initiative. “We’re thrilled to support D2D as they not only help employ that purchasing power, but ready the small businesses community to better take advantage of it.”

When the D2D program launched last year a Hub story pointed out that if Detroit business bought more from each other they could add 7,700 more jobs and increase their revenue by $2.5 billion over the next ten years, and help rebuild the city’s economy.

A study by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) found that increasing Detroit-to-Detroit business transactions could add 7,700 jobs to the city’s economy over the next ten years. The study also projected that the new activity could help attract new businesses by concentrating suppliers here for some industries.

Ford FieldOne of the partnerships is between Ford Field and Motor City Propane.  Motor City Propane has aided For Field since the construction phases of the facility by offering heating, cement drying and gas for lifting trucks.  This partnership has remained strong and ongoing throughout the stadiums existence even through the events held on the Field.

When Motor City Propane looked to expand to other companied in Detroit, the D2D was recommended by Ford Field.

Another partnership within Motown is between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the architectural firm Hanna-Neumann/ Smith, which was hired for architectural services on the Blues downtown campus.

“Hiring Hannah-Neumann/Smith supports our core belief in supporting minority and female-owned businesses,” said Tricia Keith, BCBSM senior vice president, corporate secretary and services. “Hannah-Neumann/Smith has become a valued business partner and resource in developing our space requirements with a sense of urgency as well as innovation.”

WSU Main Campus

Picture credit: Karpov the Wrecked Train

Along with networking with fellow Detroit procurement professionals, D2D has assisted Comerica in such areas as benchmarking, sharing information and identifying suppliers to work with, said Teresa Lefevre, vice president of supplier diversity.

“D2D supports our commitment to the diversity program we have in place,” she said. “The increased focus and conversations about Detroit business collaboration has resulted in an increased spend with Detroit-based suppliers and helped to further strengthen our community.”

Wayne State University’s commitment to Detroit spend predates the D2D program. According to Ken Doherty, assistant vice president of procurement and strategic sourcing, it dates back to when it began as an initiative with Henry Ford, the Detroit Medical Center and Wayne State University.

“Our involvement with D2D has been very positive,” he said. “We’ve had a significant increase in spend in Detroit since this initiative began. The leadership team has brought new life and energy to the program.”

Buying local is going big through the Detroit 2 Detroit program.

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