Open City is a forum for Detroit’s aspiring and established small business owners to learn, network, and exchange information in a fun and lively atmosphere.

It was founded in 2007 by Claire Nelson and Liz Blondy and has since then evolved into a leading networking event for Detroit entrepreneurs, with local business leaders in attendance regularly.

Join us each month where a select panel of speakers will discuss relevant small business topics, followed by casual networking.  Events take place on the third Monday of every month from 6-8PM. Open City is free and open to all with no rsvp required.


2018 Open City Events

April 23 from 6-8PM / Getting to Yes

Networking 6-6:30PM / Panel from 6:30-7:30PM / Networking 7:30-8PM
Cliff Bells- 2030 Park Ave, Detroit, Michigan 48226

Eventbrite Event/Facebook Event / #OpenCityDet

Luck favors the prepared and 80% of getting funded happens before the first meeting.

Capital is the lifeblood of small businesses. But too often business owners find it difficult, if not impossible, to get the financing they need, when they need it most. Or owners take an incorrect approach applying for capital, and don’t really understand what funders are looking for. This Open City event will help you understand what options you have and how you can best prepare yourself for the process.

On Monday, April 23 join Build Institute and a diverse group of business owners and lenders to discover what gets them to the “yes”. You’ll leave with a better handle on:
– What lenders look for
– How to match the right financing program to your needs
– How to prepare for a meeting with a lender
– The issues that will “kill” your deal

The panel is sure to provide insight for entrepreneurs low on funds, denied by lenders, or exhausted other resources to grow their business. Understand the process of raising money for your business, which types of financing are most appropriate for your needs, what lenders look for in potential borrowers, alternatives to traditional bank loans, tips on improving your chances for success.

MODERATOR: Laura Sigmon, founder & CEO, Best Practices Consulting Services


  • James Chapman, Senior Project Manager- Small Business & Entrepreneurship , Rock Ventures LLC
  • Cassie Coravos, Capital Programs Manager, Build Institute
  • Matthew Binun, Senior Loan Officer, ProsperUS


(1) Complimentary beverage for each attendee.

Thank you to our sponsor: Comcast Business

Thank you to our venue partner: Cliff Bells

Bring your business cards! Not only will you need them for networking, but we’ll also draw a card before our panel discussion. Whoever is drawn has the opportunity to break the ice by presenting the audience with a small business concern.

New to Open City! If you have a business and would like an opportunity to promote your service or product, we are now offering opportunities to showcase at Open City. Limited space available at each event. Opportunity includes a post on Open City’s event page on Facebook. Email for more information.

A program of Build Institute, Open City is a forum for Detroit’s aspiring and established small business owners to learn, network, and exchange information in a fun and lively atmosphere. Join us each month this summer at a new Detroit neighborhood location, where a select panel of speakers will discuss a relevant small business topic, followed by casual networking. Events are FREE and open to all with no rsvp required.


2016-2017 Open City Event Recaps

Missed an Open City event? Watch each hour-long panel discussion below!

Sign up for our newsletter here to stay up-to-date with Open City news or follow Open City on Facebook.

2016-2017 season is presented by Comcast Business

Explore our programs

Build Basics


Build Impact

Build Next

Open City

Grow Peer Roundtables

Build Bazaar