GREAT IDEAS START WITH BUILD
We help people turn their business ideas into reality by providing them with the necessary tools, resources, and support network in Detroit. To date, we have graduated over 1800 aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs from our classes, many of whom have gone on to start successful businesses in the city. In addition to classes, we offer networking events, mentorship, connections to resources and a nurturing community that allows ideas to develop and flourish over time. With a little support, a lot of hard work, and a friendly nudge, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running. Do you have an idea? Want to be your own boss? Dream of starting a business? Join us and get Building!
Build was started in January 2012 as a program of D:hive, a welcome center and resource hub located downtown. The classes, called Build Basics, are based on national standards for entrepreneurship education. The first class in Detroit was offered in the spring of 2012 and since then demand has grown tremendously. Classes are now offered every season and have expanded beyond the core curriculum to include Build Impact, Co.Starters, and Digital Marketing, with classes offered throughout the City of Detroit, Metro Detroit, and beyond.
As passionate, thought leaders our mission at Build Institute is to empower people to launch ideas and grow businesses. With a primary focus on Blacks, Latinx, under-represented, and under-resourced community businesses, we provide access to an equitable (w)holistic support system for ideators and early-stage business owners. We offer a safe and diverse co-working and meeting space. We can provide early-stage capital, continuous education, and access to customers. Head-quartered in Detroit, we serve Detroiters, other cities in Michigan, and we now have a national footprint.
We are a diverse culture with a creative and flexible work environment. Whether in the office or on the moon, we are leaning into support for small businesses. We believe that small businesses are the anchors for community revitalization and quality of life. We exist to strengthen the Black, Latinx, women-owned, and the minority microbusiness community. We provide support with state-of-the-art entrepreneurial education, capital access, and expert resources, tailored for sustainability and growth. One business at a time, our impact will result in vibrant commercial corridors in every neighborhood, where people love, live, work, and play.
We envision a world revitalized through entrepreneurial success – built one person and one micro-business idea at a time.
Heather Levine - Entrepreneur-In-Residence/Talent Manager
Over the last six years, Heather has coached hundreds of small business owners during open office hours, one on one engagements over a six-month period and through workshops held in the neighborhoods. Prior to that, Heather worked as a real estate attorney who successfully oversaw the leasing process from start to finish, including developing and maintaining relationships with small business owners, Fortune 500 companies and luxury European retailers. Heather drafted, negotiated, and reviewed 500+ contracts annually under strict deadlines. As a business owner, Heather and her husband have opened four new businesses over the last 11 years (two restaurants and two cocktail bars), including acquiring liquor licenses, negotiating lease agreements, managing the construction, and permitting processes, and hiring and training employees. Heather loves coaching small business owners because she has been in their shoes and understands the challenges of running a small business.
Laura Corp - Operations Director
Laura is a nonprofit professional that is passionate about supporting marginalized groups of people to break out of cycles they were born into, specifically through home ownership and other forms of equity. Most recently, Laura was the Operations Manager at Humble Design Detroit, where she oversaw the operations and team to ensure that houses were transformed into homes for families, veterans, and individuals emerging out of homelessness. While at Humble, Laura met several single moms that dreamed of starting their own businesses and gaining equity for their family, this experience allowed Laura to see what a large need there is for an organization such as Build Institute in the Detroit Region. Laura is skilled at making day-to-day processes more efficient, building and maintaining relationships within the community, and ensuring that an organization has the most optimal tech stack to allow for better access to data. Laura is a graduate of Rochester University and serves on the advisory board for the School of Business, which has allowed her to guest lecture as well as mentor students that are considering entering the nonprofit space. Outside of work, Laura is happiest when she is spending quality time with her friends, playing tennis, trying out a new restaurant, or on hikes with her dog.
Lisa Grace - Development Director
Lisa Grace is a non-profit professional with over 25 years of experience working for Detroit area nonprofits. She believes that small businesses and entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our local economies and now more than ever before, entrepreneurial education and access to capital plays a critical role in ensuring that our communities are thriving. While at Ecoworks, Lisa was able to raise the visibility of the Reclaim Detroit program, developing a market for reclaimed materials and securing funding to support the environmentally driven workforce development program. At GRDC and Ennis Center for Children, she secured much needed funds to increase and support operations and programming. Lisa is also a passionate volunteer working for several organizations, but her heart lies with the Redford Theatre. Currently, she serves on several committees and is the voice of the Redford Theatre’s social media. Lisa is a proud graduate of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of NonProfit Management. She is inspired daily by her husband, their children and grandchildren who say she is a great cook, an avid reader, and a subpar poker player.
Onni Stone - Capital Access Manager
Onni Stone is passionate about empowering marginalized people, specifically economically and through financial literacy. She is a lifelong Michigan native, now resident of Detroit. She has worked for and started a number of small businesses over the years and understands the micro and macro impact of providing resources for entrepreneurs. She works for the Build Institute in the capacity of Kiva capital access manager. She manages Detroit SOUP and Build Institute’s Capital Ladder Access Fund and is the in house finance subject matter expert. In her free time, she is a reader, learner, woodworker, and explorer.
Regina Ann Campbell- President and CEO
Regina Ann Campbell is the President and CEO of Build Institute, the nonprofit idea incubator for the Detroit Region. Before joining Build Institute, Regina was the Chief Program Officer for Epicenter Memphis. Regina was responsible for national strategic partnerships and a portfolio of programs, initiatives, and systems that ensured inclusive access and vibrancy of the entrepreneurial community in the Greater Memphis region.
To date, Regina has led teams and initiatives that provided access to $21.4M+ in funding and resources for minority small business owners. As an economic development thought leader Regina has a successful track record of creating economic growth by scaling place-based acceleration and incubation, working with hundreds of entrepreneurs, and assisting in the launch of multiple startups.
As a culture advocate, Regina champions entrepreneurship to drive economic empowerment for women and minorities; leverages shared cultural experiences to serve the “whole entrepreneur”; understands the ripple effect of entrepreneurship in urban/local communities; provides access to resources; revitalizes neighborhoods to create vibrant and thriving communities.
Regina is also a social entrepreneur as co-founder and president of 901 ROC Development, LLC.
Shenai Jackson - Programs Director
Shenai is a trusted economic developer and serial entrepreneur. Shenai has worked in entrepreneurship and economic development for over 8 years. Shenai is a proud Michigan State University graduate, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a concentration in Business. Currently, Shenai is completing a Master of Urban Planning with a specialization in Economic Development at Wayne State University. Given her background, she has developed a strong passion for supporting small businesses by leveraging connections, community resources, and investment tools to accelerate the growth and development of businesses. Before joining the Build Institute, Shenai worked in program management for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program for 5 years. As an entrepreneur, Shenai started a luxury clothing brand called Liu Lux, also known as the Living It Up Luxury Brand, to encourage all to live life abundantly and prioritize self-care and healing. Shenai is also a proud Build Institute graduate.
Torrance Campbell - Programs Assistant
Torrance is a creative that values diversity, innovation and quality service . Torrance supports the program team with Build Classes, Build Alumni, engagement, social media and technical things. Torrance has lived in Detroit, Michigan most of his life with the exception of three years in Memphis, TN where he attended the first accredited TSTEM High School. Torrance returned to Detroit Michigan and is a freshman at the College for Creative Studies aspiring to become an animator. Along with animation, Torrance has been coding for a lifetime and has a CompTIA certification.
Downtown Detroit Partnership
Detroit Development Fund
Detroit Economic Growth Corporation
Fifth Third Bank
MSU Product Center
Wayne State Law Clinic
& countless other community professionals.