What is NEIdeas: Rewarding Ideas for Business Growth?
We believe that a great idea can help a good business grow. NEIdeas is a program that celebrates existing businesses in the cities of Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park – rewarding those with the best ideas for growth. There will be a total of $400,000 in cash awards, in addition to business support, to more than twenty businesses. NEIdeas has two types of awards:
The $10k Challenge will provide awards of $10,000 each to 20 businesses that gross less than $750,000 annually with ideas to grow.
The $100k Challenge will provide awards of $100,000 each to 2 businesses that gross more than $750,000 and less than $5 million annually with ideas to grow ‘big.’
NEIdeas is a program of the New Economy Initiative (NEI) and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM), operated with assistance from Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC).
What types of businesses are eligible to apply?
Businesses across all industries are encouraged to apply as long as they are an existing for-profit business physically located in the cities of Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park. See Eligibility Requirements in the Program Guidelines for detailed information.
What is there to gain from NEIdeas, aside from a cash award?
NEIdeas is about more than just the money. NEIdeas is intended to help all applicants – those that win and those that do not win. All businesses that apply are welcomed into the NEIdeas network, where they may access further opportunities in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. NEIdeas All-Applicant Assistance offers (1) catered match making to small business service providers; (2) workshops around business growth topics; and (3) connections to other applicants and NEIdeas Ambassadors.
What is an ‘existing’ business?
An existing business is one that is at least three years old by the application deadline of June 1, 2017. If a business has moved to Detroit, Hamtramck or Highland Park from elsewhere, NEIdeas requires at least one year in those locations before being eligible to apply.
What does it mean to grow ‘big’?
The $100k Challenge is for existing businesses with ideas to grow ‘big.’ Growing ‘big’ means a potential gross revenue increase of 20% or more per year in coming years. To be considered, a business must presently demonstrate growth.
Is applying to a challenge a lot of work?
The NEIdeas application process is catered to the busy business owner. Whether a business owner has participated in a challenge before or not, this is a chance to practice pitching an idea for growth through a very simple application process.
Applicants can get help completing an application at NEIdeas Ambassador locations throughout Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park. Designated Ambassador locations are listed on page 12 of the Program Guidelines and online at NEIdeasDetroit.org.
Are there any tips for applying?
NEIdeas is not interested in just giving out cash. NEIdeas is interested in inspiring and enabling your ideas. The best applications will consider the purpose of the program and have ideas for growth that are Impactful, Courageous, Interesting, Achievable, and Understandable. We do not know your business like you do, so whatever the idea, it’s up to you to tell us. Follow the directions and make sure your application is complete. Be concise, specific, and honest. See Building a Strong Application in the Program Guidelines for detailed information.
Where can an Applicant find help completing an application?
Applicants can get help completing an application at NEIdeas Ambassador locations throughout Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park.
Applicants are encouraged to attend an NEIdeas Info Session & Workshop. Please visit our News and Events page for the most up-to-date schedule.
Applicants can also call (844) NEI-DEAS during regular business hours for assistance.
Who should applicants contact with technical difficulties online?
Email [email protected] or call (844) NEI-DEAS during regular business hours.
What is the timeframe for NEIdeas?
Applications for the $10k Challenge and $100k Challenge open on May 1, 2017 and close on June 1, 2017.
What happens after submitting an application?
If applying online, Applicants will receive an automatic confirmation email after submitting. If applying by mail, or in person, Applicants will receive a confirmation email once applications are processed. It may take several weeks to process applications. Please note that an email address is necessary in order to receive confirmation that an application has been received.
After the application period closes, the NEIdeas Jury will make recommendations for Finalists and, later, Winners. Jury recommendations will be reviewed by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM) which will make the final determination of all Winners.
CFSEM will officially notify all Applicants by mail.
I applied to NEIdeas in the past and did not win an award. Am I eligible to apply in 2017?
Yes. Previous applicants that did not win are encouraged to apply to NEIdeas 2017.
How many times can a business apply to NEIdeas?
Businesses are limited to one application per business. If a business submits multiple applications, they will be removed from award consideration.
Can a business apply to both the $10k Challenge and $100k Challenge challenge?
No. A business can apply to either the $10k Challenge or the $100k Challenge – a business cannot apply to both. If a business submits multiple applications, they will be removed from award consideration.
Can a not-for-profit organization apply?
No. Not-for-profit organizations are not eligible to apply.
Can a Low-Profit Limited Liability Company (L3C) apply?
No. Low-Profit Limited Liability Companies are not eligible to apply.
What is required of finalists?
Finalists will be asked to submit additional information for final consideration:
$10k Challenge Finalists will be asked to submit (1) their most recent tax return, (2) a completed 2015-16 financial questionnaire, and (3) additional information about their proposed use of the award.
$100k Challenge Finalists will be asked to submit (1) their most recent tax return, (2) a completed 2015-16 financial questionnaire, (3) a 2-year plan that outlines timeline and budget, and (4) additional information about how the business will grow ‘big’ through the award.
Finalists will have a limited amount of time to turn in the required additional information. If information is not turned in on time, an applicant may be disqualified. The Jury will use this information, along with original applications, to recommend $10k Challenge and $100k Challenge Winners. (Please note that Jurors do not directly handle sensitive financial information.) Jury recommendations will be reviewed by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM) which will make the final determination of all winners.
CFSEM will officially notify all finalists by mail.
What is expected of winners?
Award winners will be expected to attend events where they will be connected to other award winners and resources. They will also be asked to share their story through a variety of media opportunities. These types of opportunities will be determined after winners are announced.
$10k Challenge Winners are expected to use their award within 1-year of payment and provide a final report on the use of the award.
$100k Challenge Winners are expected to use their award within 2-years of payment and provide periodic reports on the use of the award.
Are NEIdeas awards taxable income?
Yes. All awards are taxable income.
I am a past winner of the NEIdeas Challenge, am I eligible to win?
No. Past winners will not be considered eligible to win NEIdeas 2017.