Amina Daniels seems like a New Yorker – she talks fast, she moves fast, she thinks fast. Yet those same traits – speed, dexterity when moving between topics or locations, quickness of mind and body – are the same reasons she is, most certainly, of Detroit.
Daniels and her business partner Jackie Palmer are now something else – they are the 2015 Hatch Detroit winners. Their business, Live Cycle Delight, will receive $50,000 in funding as well as business support from Comerica Bank and other sponsors, including Opportunity Detroit.
Live Cycle Delight aims to become be the first contemporary cycle studio in downtown Detroit. According to those in the know, they are dedicated to providing the residents of Detroit an opportunity to find delight through cycling and creating an environment that makes working out fun.
As I noted from first meeting her, Daniels is a force to be admired; she might wear Oprah out with her enthusiasm. I appreciated her desire to get people of all ages and fitness levels on a bike to exercise. She’s a “no excuses” kind of fitness guru.
What I truly admired during her Hatch Detroit appearances and in her social media was that she was unafraid. She asked for votes. She demanded attention. She got into your face and in the best possible way. She and Palmer worked the room Friday night at the Hatch Detroit Hatch Off event, making sure everyone knew who they were and what they wanted – they wanted $50,000 and a chance to open their cycling lab and wellness center in Detroit.
Hatch Detroit is many things – a business-plan generator, a think lab about whether you really have the guts (and ovaries) to open a business, a place to work out the kinks of whatever dream you think you have and take a bite of reality that is this strange and wonderful city.
What I appreciate the most about Hatch is that it gives people an opportunity to meet the kind of people who want to hang a shingle in Detroit. Everyone in the Top Ten deserved the money in a serious way – they showed up with only two days to spare with good presentations. They will get help to open a business in Detroit, Hatch Detroit founder Nick Gorga promised Friday night.
The Final Four deserves a special kind of recognition as well because they have to go even further to get your attention. They have to know how to work a room. They have to press the flesh, so to speak. They must be bold and demand loyalty. It’s hard work, and there can be no apologies. Social media was Live Cycle Delight’s best asset, I hear. They not only go out in to the community, but they asked their community to go out for them. And it worked.
I appreciated Palmer’s hard focus as well when she spoke Friday night as part of the Hatch Off presentation. She and Daniels were honest – they know the grind of working a business in the first year. They understand that all of the money has to go back into “your baby.” They get the challenges ahead. They’ll be fine stewards of this money, and I believe their business has a place in the city.
“We’re going to help make Detroit a healthier place,” a tearful Daniels said Friday, shortly after Live Cycle Delight was announced the Hatch Detroit winner.
More importantly, she is going to make Detroit a success. She and Palmer had applied for three different business grants/funding opportunities. The first was a bomb. Then they heard about Hatch and that they had made the Top 10. From there, they admitted that they put “all of their eggs in one basket” and threw themselves onto the task at hand. And it showed. They pounded the streets. They begging on Twitter and Instagram. They demanded that friends take all of their friends out at lunch and vote at Hatch booths around the city. That’s the grind, right there.
One minor complaint, though. I only wish as an observer that the Final Four got more than two minutes to introduce themselves at the Hatch Off. I wish they had more than a couple paltry questions from the (great) panel of judges to answer. That portion of this contest seemed phoned in this year, although I know that a lot of prep work goes on behind the scenes. I long for more information and more of a dog-and-pony show. But that’s just me.
Congratulations to Live Cycle Delight. And congratulations to all of the finalists as well as the more than 200 others who wrote up business plans for this year’s Hatch Detroit contest. That’s a lot of people who want to be part of Detroit. It’s something to admire and to support.