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Build Institute takes its Open City forum into three Detroit neighborhoods this summer to help small businesses grow


There is nothing small about small businesses. They are the big engines that make neighborhoods grow. They are local job creators and community hubs that tie residents together.

The Build Institute helps create those small businesses by giving people the tools, resources and support they need to turn their ideas into realities.  So far it has graduated more than 700 aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs from its Build classes, many of whom have gone on to start successful businesses in Detroit.

One of its other programs is Open City, a forum that helps small business owners learn, network, and exchange information.

This summer it will take Open City into three neighborhoods — Osborn, Livernois, and Northwest Detroit neighborhoods.

“We recognize the importance of building communities, especially in the small business sector,” says April Boyle, Build Institute executive director. “We’ve had graduates from our program in every Detroit zip code and see the need for small businesses to take part in opportunities in districts outside of Downtown and Midtown, which is why we’re taking Open City to three neighborhoods.”

Build Institute In Action from Build Institute on Vimeo.

Here are the details for Summer Open City on the Road. Each event will feature a panel of experts speaking on relevant small business topics, followed by casual networking. Events take place on the third Monday of every month through August and are free and open to all with no reservation required.


 Attendees will hear panelists discuss how they have sustained their businesses and built up their neighborhoods during challenging times.

  • WHEN – Monday, June 20 from 6-8 pm
  • WHERE – Detroit Blues Café at 14493 Gratiot Ave.
  • PANEL – Paul Garrison, business initiative manager at Osborn Business Alliance; Candice Meeks of Craft Café;, Dasia Holloway of Dasia Financial Services; Sam Anderson of B.O.M.B.Z Music, and Belief Emadamerho of Pharmacy 4 Less


Making the leap from operating a business out of your home to operating out of a storefront can be intimidating, but knowing when to make the move and preparing for the increase in customers and overhead can make the transition smoother and rewarding. Panelists will share their stories and techniques for transitioning beyond a home-based businesses.

  • WHEN – Monday, July 18 from 6-8pm
  • WHERE – Live6 Detroit, 16647 Livernois
  • PANEL – Lauren Hood, Live6 Executive Director, others TBD


Whether you’re starting from scratch, or you have a brand that is already established, it is important for you to know what your brand is saying about how and why you do business. Creative minds and business owners with powerful branding and effective design will share their knowledge. After the discussion, there’s a chance to network and discuss best practices learned from the panel.

  • WHEN – Monday, August 15 from 6-8 pm
  • WHERE – Artist Village, 17336 Lasher
  • PANEL – Detroit Creative Corridor’s entrepreneur-in-residence Meredith C. Kerekes, others TBD

BUild Bazaar

The Build Institute will also continue its Build Bazaar, a rotating pop-up marketplace that features emerging entrepreneurs from the Build program. You can shop the bazaar and find anything from artisanal candles and soap to fresh baked goods and handmade wares and keep your dollars in Detroit’s small business community. Every event features an exciting and diverse range of 10 to 20 local vendors.

Here’s where you can find them this summer.


Build Institute is partnering with MASH Detroit to celebrate the opening of their lower Eastside establishment. MASH hosts curated retail, pop-ups, meetings, and events in a 6,000 square-foot storefront. This free weekend event will feature retail shopping courtesy of Build grad Good People Popcorn, Bohomodern, and the Comfort Café food truck. All ages are welcome.

  • WHEN – Saturday, June 25, 10 am-7 pm
  • WHERE – MASH Detroit at 14711 Mack Ave.

Click here for more information.

CONCERT OF COLORS The Concert of Colors is Metro Detroit’s free annual diversity-themed music festival. The goal of this five-day festival is uniting the region’s diverse communities and ethnic groups by presenting musical acts from around the world. Over its 23-year history, the festival has become a beloved highlight of Metro Detroit’s summer festival season, and one of the few free-admission music festivals remaining locally.

  • WHEN – July 14th through July 17, 1 pm-8 pm

Click here for more information.

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