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After receiving more than 600 applications, volunteer entrepreneur judges have narrowed the field to 20 businesses that will present at Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day, eight of which will walk away with a share of $1 million in capital from Quicken Loans. In addition, WeWork and Quicken Loans have partnered and joined their events to build on the momentum in Detroit’s small business community. WeWork will be awarding $1.5 million in funds to Detroit-area entrepreneurs, artists and nonprofits. Through the collaboration, more than $2.5 million will go to Detroit’s small business community from this joint event.

The following companies will be competing for funding from Quicken Loans:

  • Ascape Audio – Premium wireless headphones
  • Ash & Anvil – Retailer specializing in clothes for shorter men
  • Detroit Is the New Black – Local retail co-op shop
  • Detroit Training Center – Vocational Education
  • Dr. Nitro’s Dessert Lab – Dessert Shop, Learning and Entertainment Center
  • Eli Tea – Independent tea shop
  • Flash Delivery – grocery and restaurant delivery
  • Good Cakes and Bakes – Locally sourced and organic bakery
  • GoPoint Technology – Driver safety technology
  • Hunt & Noyer – Handcrafted furniture
  • Life Magnetics, Inc. – Biotechnology company
  • Onyx Enterprise, Inc. – Engineering Consulting, Project Management and Construction Management
  • Phoenix Haus – Custom manufactured home builder
  • Pretch – Modular whiteboard panels
  • RecoveryPark Farms – Urban farms in blighted Detroit neighborhoods.
  • SignOn – Platform connecting hearing and Deaf communities
  • Social Sushi – pop-up restaurant networking experience
  • The Farmer’s Hand – Locally sourced pantry, market and kitchen
  • The Social Club Grooming Co. – Barbershop and meeting place
  • The TEN Nail Bar – Modern nail bar

These companies were selected from an impressive pool of nearly 600 applications. Assisting with the vetting of finalists were a panel of volunteer entrepreneur judges from businesses throughout Detroit. The judging panel was made up of:

  • Dennis Archer Jr. – CEO of Ignition Media Group and Owner of Central Kitchen and Bar
  • Phil Cooley – Owner of Slows Bar BQ and Founder of Ponyride
  • Edi Demaj – Co-Founder & COO of Rocket Fiber
  • Rachel Lutz – Owner of Peacock Room and Frida
  • Carla Walker Miller – President & CEO of Walker-Miller Energy Services and Founder & Executive Director of W.A.V.E.
  • Veronika Scott – Founder & CEO of The Empowerment Plan
  • Joe Spencer – Owner of Louisiana Creole Gumbo

“We want to show Detroit that anyone can be an entrepreneur. Quicken Loans, and all of our companies, were started with just an idea and a drive to bring a product or service to the clients who need it. Quicken Loans Demo Day is about celebrating all of the city’s entrepreneurs and providing support to a handful of our most passionate and successful business owners,” said Josh McManus, COO for Rock Ventures, part of the Quicken Loans family of companies. “Our companies operate as ‘for more-than-profit’ businesses – meaning we take our business success and reinvest it into our community. This partnership with WeWork allows us to deliver on this mission by providing more opportunities for entrepreneurs and promoting togetherness in Detroit’s business community.”

Starting at 4:30 p.m. on May 25, Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day and WeWork’s Creator Awards at Detroit Demo Day will take place concurrently at downtown Detroit’s Gem Theatre and Cadillac Square. The event will end with a party and concert in Cadillac Square featuring a Grammy Award-winning recording artist.

The top eight companies in the Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day competition, as voted by a panel of nationally-recognized business leaders, will receive capital in amounts ranging from $50,000 to $200,000 – totaling $1 million. The capital will be provided in the form of an interest-free business loan with a five-year term after a one-year payment-free holiday. A people’s choice award will also be presented. The people’s choice winner will be chosen by the audience at the event by voting with a mobile app. In addition, WeWork will be awarding grants to business and organizations in its incubate, launch and scale categories – totaling $1.5 million.

“We’re excited to partner with Quicken Loans to bring the Creator Awards to Detroit. The Creator Awards is a global initiative that will grant over $20 million to entrepreneurs, small businesses, growing companies, non-profits, artists and other creators having a positive impact on their communities,” says Jennifer Skyler,” Global Head of Public Affairs for WeWork. “This day-long event will feature a job fair, creators’ market, master classes, live pitches from candidates and will celebrate the entrepreneurship and innovation that has fueled the “Motor City” and its neighboring economic hubs for over a hundred years.”

Between the awards from both companies, Quicken Loans chairman Dan Gilbert will interview WeWork Founder and CEO Adam Neumann at the Gem Theatre. The fireside chat-style conversation will focus on both leaders’ business experiences, their thoughts on Detroit’s business atmosphere and advice for entrepreneurs.

Additional Activities:

Quicken Loans is sponsoring a “portal” in Capitol Park, connecting Detroiters to cities around the world. It provides one more way entrepreneurs can get guidance with their company, or just a way to talk with someone from another city and culture. The portal will be in a gold shipping container in Capitol Park. It will have a direct connection to nine cities across the globe. The portal will be available for all Detroiters starting May 19. Click here to book an appointment or see walk-up hours.

Quicken Loans also commissioned six murals that are being painted on businesses across the city to build on the excitement in Detroit’s small business community. For each mural, the business owner and artist have collaborated on the design, making the paintings unique and representative of the flavor and character of each business and neighborhood – as well as the artist’s unique style.

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