A small team of millennials hope to bring life into struggling NW Goldberg neighborhood in Detroit by opening a unique business.
The team consists of Chief Marketing Officer Daniel Washington, a 24-year-old Detroit native, his sister Victoria Washington, 27, as the general manager, and business partner Autumn Kyles, 24 of Farmington, the CEO. Additionally, the team also has the experience of their Executive Chef Theodore Washington, 29.
The team has ambitions of investing $400,000 into launching their new business, Detroit Dough LLC, which will serve edible, raw cookie dough. They plan to obtain the necessary funds through a combination of loans, accelerator grants, and private investments.
The young band of entrepreneurs plan on utilizing a number of local resources and competitions. Last Wednesday Victoria Washington and Kyles participated in the Dolphin Tank pitch event in Detroit hosted by the Michigan Women’s Foundation where they won $5,000 for second place lifestyle award and $1,000 for audience choice award.
On Dec. 1, they will pitch for a chance at $2,500 in seed money at Lawrence Technological University’s Detroit Center For Design + Technology Design Accelerator 10-week program. According to their website, it “helps aspiring business owners take an idea from concept to creation to grow new opportunities in the city of Detroit.”
The group is planning for a spring launch, and they hope to break even in the first two years before realizing $300,000 in annual sales. Additionally, they hope to bring life back into the dilapidated neighborhood, donating 10 percent of nonresident sales to organizations and programs that serve the community, while offering NW Goldberg residents a 10 percent discount on all orders.
“As a kid, I always loved to sneak a scoop of cookie dough when my mom made cookies. Today, I’m still in love with cookie dough and I know that most people still love it, too,” Kyles stated in Crain’s Detroit. “I think in today’s age there’s always that opportunity to push the boundaries and try new concepts that connect people together through food. This is my way of sharing my love with others while giving back.”
From the same source, he also states his desire to revive the local neighborhood, explaining, “We want to remove blight. We see the disparity between the downtown and the neighborhood. So that’s our mantra: Why not us? It’s a neighborhood that deserves the same love and investment as others.”
Detroit is not alone in its mission to reinvigorate depressed neighborhoods with entrepreneurship and funding. In Chicago, locals governments and businesses have taken it upon themselves to increase access to funding for minorities.
“Small businesses and entrepreneurs are the main job creators in neighborhoods so helping them get a head start through these terrific programs is a smart way to build a financially healthier future for the whole community,” said Whitney Smith, head of Midwest Philanthropy, JP Morgan Chase, in a statement Thursday.