- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 16, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - Detroit government, development and philanthropic leaders launched a grant program Wednesday intended to help boost small businesses in the city and the two communities it surrounds.

Mayor Mike Duggan announced the plans Wednesday with officials from the New Economy Initiative, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. They said NEIdeas: Rewarding Ideas for Business Growth will give $500,000 to 32 existing small businesses in Detroit and the enclaves of Hamtramck and Highland Park.

Organizers say the goal is to recognize businesses that have been cornerstones of their communities.

“Today there are thousands of small businesses in the city of Detroit that employ only one or two people,” Duggan said in a statement. “Receiving a strategic infusion of cash like this can be just the boost an existing small company needs to grow and create more jobs for our local economy.”

Entry for applications opens May 8 and closes in June. Thirty applicants will be awarded $10,000 each and two higher-grossing businesses will be awarded $100,000 each.

The New Economy Initiative is a $140 million philanthropic plan to assist small businesses and entrepreneurs. It was started by the regional community foundation and is supported by several local foundations.

Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history last July.

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Online:

http://www.neideasdetroit.org