(PONTIAC, MI) – On Monday, March 25, Detroit-based small business incubator Build Institute celebrated the 18 graduates of the first-ever Build Basics Pontiac class. Build partnered with Flagstar Bank and T. Ramsey and Associates to bring this resource to small businesses and entrepreneurs located in Pontiac, Michigan. By piloting this core course in Pontiac, and casting a wider net to include a broader geography than its original Detroit footprint, Build Institute and partners are responding to regional demand, collaborating to help grow small businesses, and heading directly into the communities where interested entrepreneurs live and work.
“We were thrilled to partner with Build graduate Tameka Ramsey, Flagstar Bank and civic leaders in Pontiac to bring this exciting, inclusive learning opportunity to Pontiac entrepreneurs,” said April Boyle, Executive Director, Build Institute. “All across this region we see makers, creators and visionaries taking bold steps to start or strengthen in-demand businesses and invest in their communities. Build Basics – and other Build courses and resources coming down the pike in Pontiac – give us a chance to support and advance the activity that makes Metro Detroit so unique and a great place to live. To celebrate Tameka’s business, these entrepreneurs and this vibrant community is an honor.”
Build Basics is an 8-week class; and, often the first course Build entrepreneurs take. It fills in whatever gaps in knowledge or planning that might exist for someone getting an idea off the ground, or taking their startup to the next level – things like legal structures, mission and goal setting, money management and financial literacy, market research and competition, financing and lending, and more.
“We have seen a demand for Build Basics Pontiac growing for years,” said Tameka Ramsey, course leader and host, Build graduate, and founder of T. Ramsey and Associates in Downtown Pontiac. “It means a lot to have this pilot in motion, and to have had such a dynamic and visionary group in this first-ever class. Our entrepreneurs already have a lot of momentum and offer a lot to our community, and we are thrilled to be able to support them in this way. We are looking forward to all upcoming Build courses and to all that’s still ahead.”
Economic inequality, lack of access to professional opportunities and barriers to small business ownership remain a challenge for many local entrepreneurs. And many people with great ideas and an entrepreneurial mindset face daunting and often unexpected barriers to small business ownership, often because of decades- old systemic challenges. Build Institute and like-minded partners aim to shift the current paradigm that says small business success must be big and immediate; that taking risks outside of tech (on retail, services, the arts) is bad; and that investing in women or people of color comes with a lower ROI. A snapshot of the businesses already in motion for three of this course’s 18 graduates:
Known for her addictive, handcrafted egg rolls, Jennifer Corr is the owner and operator of Seoul Rolls On The Go! in Pontiac. You can find her at local pop-ups and community events serving up customer favorites, including chicken, shrimp and Mexican. “I took Build Basics for assistance with the knowledge and resources needed to build my brand.”
Renee S. Voit-Parath, creative and owner of RSVP Community LLC, has a passion for property renovation, rental and sales with a difference. “I took Build Basics Pontiac because I needed to go ‘back to school’ on business basics in order to turn my side gig into a legitimate and successful business.”
Bryan Killian is the owner of Pontiac-based businesses A’Mauri LLC and DBS Management LLC. His services include screen printing and embroidery, and creating custom t-shirt designs. “I took Build Basics to expand my knowledge and skills in business management and operations.”
About T. Ramsey and Associates
- Ramsey & Associates work hard for our clients because we know stronger companies and organizations build stronger communities. We work closely with a diverse group of clients on achieving their mission, while assisting them in growing in capacity. We engage business owners, directors and program managers in an intensive, collaborative process that allows their business to reach its fullest potential. T. Ramsey & Associates have been in business since 2015. We provide services to small businesses, startups and nonprofit organizations. Our office is located in Pontiac, MI, but our clients span across the United States and abroad.
About Build Institute
Build Institute serves as an incubator of small businesses and a champion of native Detroit talent, where we harness and encourage the entrepreneurial drive that is so unique to the region, and provide tools, resources and support for small business development that would not exist otherwise. Build Institute helps turn unique and in-demand business ideas into reality, with a particular focus on micro entrepreneurship. To learn more, visit www.buildinstitute.org.