Our core 8-week business and project planning class is designed for aspiring and established entrepreneurs. Classes are taught by local experts and cover all the basics of starting a business – from licensing to financial literacy, market research to cash flow and more. You’ll leave the class with a completed business plan, a cohort of fellow entrepreneurs in Detroit, and the knowledge and confidence to take your idea to the next level.

Build Basics sessions run quarterly and are offered on a flexible basis including daytime, evening and weekend sessions to accommodate busy schedules.

Spring registration is closed. Look out for summer classes!

Sign up for our newsletter or follow Build on Facebook to stay up-to-date on our next session of classes, entrepreneurial events, and resources.

Day/Time:  Saturdays, 10am – 3pm
Dates:  April 6, April 20, May 4, May 18
Location:  Build Institute – 2701 Bagley, Detroit MI 48216

Day/Time:  Wednesdays, 6pm – 9pm
Dates:  April 10- May 29
Location:  Good Cakes & Bakes – 19363 Livernois Ave, Detroit, MI 48221


Our curriculum is learner-centered, hands-on and activity based, so you’ll be doing as much as you’ll be listening. At the start of every session, we provide you with a Build binder that includes lessons, resources and a sample business plan for you to fill out as we go.

Class topics include:

  • Money Management & Life Skills
  • Legal Structures, Licensing & Personal Budget
  • Personal Credit, Start-up Costs & Overhead
  • Sales Unit & Break Even Point
  • Sales and Profit Goals & Cash Flow
  • Target Markets, Market Research & Mission
  • Research, Competition, Pricing & Goals
  • Financing Sources & Loan Process

What to expect during the course:

  • Courses are facilitated by experienced entrepreneurs who provide resources and necessary tools and are available to answer questions regarding your business plan during 1:1 sessions.
  • Cohorts consist of 12-16 participants, bringing a diverse range of business and project ideas.
  • Participants are at varying degrees of business development and best efforts are made to meet everyone where they are.
  • Expect to spend at least 3 hours each week outside of class working on your business plan, doing market research, creating projections, etc.
  • Class time is spent on the curriculum provided. Subject matter experts also attend several sessions to speak in depth on specific topics.
  • Given a participant completes all necessary work, one should expect to finish the class with a solid business plan (Build Institute does not write business plans).

Guest Speakers:

A large part of our curriculum includes guest speakers from a variety of backgrounds sharing their real world expertise and insight with our Builders. Below are some examples of previous speakers who have participated in our classes.

Why Build Basics?

We strive to provide a nurturing environment for Builders both during and after they graduate from our classes. From ongoing educational workshops to alumni networking events, we know that learning doesn’t stop in the classroom. Read testimonials from graduates about why they loved taking a Build class! We hope you’ll take the time to explore our recommended online resources and check out what we offer to our graduates below.

  • Ongoing workshops in partnership with local entrepreneurial support organizations
  • Marketing through Build Grad Profiles, social media, and newsletters
  • Open City monthly networking events
  • Build Bazaar pop-up marketplace for Build alumni
  • Alumni Engagement Events + Active Alumni FB Group
  • Access to Kiva advisor

Testimonials:  I Started with Build!

“Build helped me hone in on my market and the customer base that is here, and helped me put all my ideas into a business plan that made sense.” – Roslyn Karamoko, Détroit is the New Black (quote from The Five Year Anniversary Book)

“Build Institute helped me by providing the peer support and hands-on exercises necessary for me to first determine whether our business idea was viable, and secondly, to put together a business plan.” – Kirsten Ussery, Detroit Vegan Soul (quote from The Five Year Anniversary Book)

“The isolation and solitude of being a small business owner, especially at the very beginning, can be difficult to experience.  Being able to socialize with a group of people going through something similar was so helpful.  You felt like you wanted to do your homework for the people in your class, to help inspire and motivate each other.” – Lisa Ludwinski, Sister Pie (quote from The Five Year Anniversary Book)

“The city is coming back because of small businesses, and especially with the (robust) economy, people are looking to shop small.  I’m proud to be part of that movement.” – Lana Rodriguez, Mama Coo’s Boutique (quote from The Five Year Anniversary Book)



Sign up for our newsletter or follow Build on Facebook to stay up-to-date on our next session of classes, entrepreneurial events, and resources.


Explore our programs

Build Basics


Build Impact

Build Next

Open City

Grow Peer Roundtables

Build Bazaar