Hello! Thanks for checking out this FAQ! We took the time to compile answers to some of the most common questions about what we do, how you can apply, and what makes for a strong application! This FAQ is organized as follows:
- General Questions
- Entrepreneur Training Questions
- Business Services Questions
- Micro Lending Questions
What is ProsperUS?
ProsperUS Detroit is a place-based economic development strategy designed to empower low and moderate-income, immigrant, and minority individuals. Through our culturally competent range of services, we strive to support the entrepreneurial spirit and small business community that exists in Detroit’s neighborhoods.
What services does ProsperUS offer?
ProsperUS offers step by step support for small business owners and first-time entrepreneurs. The ProsperUS Entrepreneur Training Program teaches general business skills and offers individualized feedback. The ProsperUS Business Service Program supports small businesses with almost any need imaginable by offering grant money for specific projects. The ProsperUS Micro-Lending Program ensures funding is available to people who may not qualify for a traditional loan. Between these three programs we strive to help build equity, knowledge, and healthy communities in Detroit.
What other programs does ProsperUS collaborate with?
There are other lending institutions in Detroit that ProsperUS partners with such as Invest Detroit, Michigan Women’s Foundation, Kiva, and the Center for Empowerment and Economic Development (CEED).
ProsperUS also collaborates with community partners and other institutions including Techtown, The Accounting Aid Society, Lakeshore Legal Aid and Lifeline. We also make referrals to the Free Accounting Fridays program through the University of Michigan. Learn more here: http://www.prosperusdetroit.org/community%20partners/
Additionally, ProsperUS you must be a for-profit company to access ProsperUS services as we do not support nonprofits. Those seeking services for non-profit organizations should contact Michigan Community Resources or Nonprofit Enterprise at Work.
What is the Entrepreneur Training Program?
ProsperUS Entrepreneur Training is taught by professional business consultants and designed for people with minimal business experience. The 15-week program includes 12 two-hour-long class sessions and 10 one-on-one sessions. We work with community partners to host multiple cohorts each spring and fall in neighborhoods across the city of Detroit. Each cohort contains 10 to 12 participants. Additionally, participants are encouraged to meet with an in house personal financial coach to assess credit, budget, debt, and other personal financial goals.
Who can apply for the Entrepreneurship Training Program?
Anyone over 18 years old who lives in Detroit, Hamtramck, or Highland Park can apply. You can also apply if you own a business located in Detroit, Hamtramck or Highland Park.
How do I apply for the Entrepreneur Training Program?
Applications are open now and available here: http://www.prosperusdetroit.org/entrepreneur-training/
What makes a strong Entrepreneur Training Program candidate?
We prioritize applicants who already operate a business, but it doesn’t matter if the business is legally registered or underground. We also look for applicants who have a clearly focused idea, some related experience, or otherwise demonstrate initiative and dedication to making their dream into a reality.
What will I learn in the Entrepreneur Training Program?
The program is designed to teach you fundamental business management skills and how to write a business plan. We also cover important information on how to register your business, create a business bank account, manage finances, and market your business.
What happens after I finish the Entrepreneur Training Program. Participants are encouraged to continue meeting with their trainers for at least six months in one on one meetings after the program concludes. You should also be well prepared to take advantage of ProsperUS Business Services and apply for a ProsperUS Micro-loans. Our community partners also offer various resources to support ProsperUS participants.
What does the Entrepreneur Training Program cost?
Each participant is asked to pay $75 – total. This is paid on the first day of class, although we can also make special accomodations in some situations. We thank our funders who help offset the true cost of over $800 and allow us to ensure the program is accessible.
What is the Business Services Program?
ProsperUS Business Services, sometimes referred to as technical assistance, is ProsperUS’s project-based approach to supporting businesses through specific services and comprehensive coaching. You apply to ProsperUS Business Services and we connect you with service providers and grant money – you don’t pay us back!
Our service providers are experts in their respective fields, however, you are welcome to propose your own preferred partner as well. The Business Service Program often comes with grant funding that covers up to 75% of the project cost.
Who can apply to the Business Services Program?
Anyone over 18 years old who lives in Detroit, Hamtramck, or Highland Park can apply. You can also apply if you own a business located in Detroit, Hamtramck or Highland Park. We will ask for various materials when you apply so please review the Business Services Readiness Checklist. You DO NOT need to take entrepreneurship training to apply.
What makes a strong Business Services Program candidate?
A strong candidate demonstrates an understanding of their business model, knows what support they need and operates with a sense of urgency. We will also look for certain information listed on the Business Services Readiness Checklist. A realistic, well-organized business plan helps and is required if your business has no previous financial transactions.
What specific things can I get help with through the Business Services Program?
We can support you with almost all your needs. Some popular areas of assistance are: Accounting, Bookkeeping, Personal Financial Coaching, Cash Flow Management Commercial Real Estate, Graphic Design, Human Resources, Legal, Marketing, Website Development, Food Consulting, and more. If you need support in areas not listed, fill out the intake form and we will respond to your unique needs.
How do I apply for the Business Services Program?
Anyone can apply for business services at the link provided here: https://www.tfaforms.com/4814770.
What costs are associated with the Business Services Program?
We ask you to pay a fraction of the service cost. Generous grants allow us to cover up to 75% of the cost.
What is the Micro-Lending Program?
ProsperUS Micro-Lending makes capital (money) available to people who wouldn’t bea ble to apply via traditional funding routes. ProsperUS is a non-traditional lender that makes high-risk loans of up to $50,000. We work with you through the application process to help you get approved, and offer additional support through our Business Service Program as needed. We regularly collaborate with other funders for loans larger than $50,000.
Who can apply to the Micro-Lending Program?
Anyone over 18 years old who lives in Detroit, Hamtramck, or Highland Park can apply. You can also apply if you own a business located in Detroit, Hamtramck or Highland Park. We will ask for various materials when you apply so please review the Micro-Lending Readiness Checklist. You DO NOT need to take entrepreneurship training to apply.
What makes a strong Micro-Lending Program candidate?
ProsperUS’s Micro-Lending Program is designed to help low-income entrepreneurs who would not be able to get a loan at a regular bank. A strong candidate demonstrates an understanding of their business model, knows what support they need and operates with a sense of urgency. We will also look for certain information listed on the Micro-Lending Readiness Checklist. A realistic, well-organized business plan helps and is required if your business has no previous financial transactions.
How do I apply for the Micro-Lending Program?
To begin the application process please fill out this intake form: https://www.tfaforms.com/4814770. Once you submit the intake form, a member of the ProsperUS team will help you with the next steps, all the way through getting your loan approved.
How long does the loan approval process take?
Depending on how quickly you can get ProsperUS the required information (see the Micro-Lending Readiness Checklist) the loan approval process can take anywhere from two weeks to two months.
What are the associated costs?
If you qualify for a loan there is a fee. The fee is $25 for loans under $25,000 and $50 for loans between $25,000 and $50,000