a program of Southwest Solutions
Hector Hernandez is the Executive Director of the Southwest Economic Solutions (SWES), and under his leadership, the ProsperUS Detroit program was successfully implemented after an inclusive design process with our partners. ProsperUS Detroit is a program of Southwest Economic Solutions whose services include a host of training programs, family support services, and community stabilization programs aimed at resident economic empowerment. SWES serves as a resource for program development, best practices, client engagement, and program delivery by integrating such programs as the Center for Working Families, GreenWorks Solutions, Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program, Adult Learning Lab, and Earn and Learn to name a few.
Driven by her empathetic nature and passion for local economies, Chanell is deeply committed to increasing economic equity throughout Detroit. As the Director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives, she collaborates with the ProsperUS team and a rich network of partners to strategically grow and develop training, business services, and lending for underserved entrepreneurs in Detroit’s neighborhoods.
Prior to joining ProsperUS, Chanell worked on a range of community and economic development initiatives with organizations such as Kiva.org in Detroit and the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland. She refined her skills in economic development as a National Urban Fellow at The Cleveland Foundation while completing a Master of Public Administration at Baruch College of the City University of New York. Before Chanell pursued a career in community economic development, she was a small business owner working to help independent producers of fair-trade and eco-friendly products market and grow their own small businesses.
Chanell’s commitment to equity and inclusion was strengthened during her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan and is rooted in the beautiful diversity of her friends and extended family. In her free time, Chanell is often playing outside or enjoying cultural events with her family, buying another pair of earrings, or listening to NPR.
A barstool intellectual with a master’s degree in small talk, Matthew Bihun joined the ProsperUS Detroit Micro-Loan Program in the winter of 2013. Matthew’s first task was to create the model, infrastructure, and processes for a loan program, specifically designed to serve the capital needs of low-income, minority, and immigrant entrepreneurs. Since then, ProsperUS Detroit has loaned over $500,000 in micro-loans to 28 entrepreneurs. Matthew believes that developing honest and high-touch relationships with borrowers is critical to mitigating risk, creating personal and family wealth, and promoting profitable businesses.
Outside of ProsperUS, Matthew is a co-owner of UFO Factory in Corktown, an art and performance space that also serves as a bar and restaurant. Matthew enjoys purchasing and rehabbing turn of the century houses in Detroit’s historic neighborhoods, taking Chris Butterfield’s predictable curveball deep (playing baseball), and traveling. He is on a quest to visit all 59 National Parks in the next five years. His best pal is Miles, his dog.
During an internship at ProsperUS Detroit, Chris Butterfield created the Open for Business Map in addition to applying his graphic design skills for businesses being supported by the program. Today, he serves as Small Business Advisor, advocating on behalf of driven entrepreneurs by providing access to resources through the Business Services program.
Prior to his time at ProsperUS Detroit, Chris invested four years building Found Sound, a vibrant record store in the heart of Ferndale. He served his community at City Year Detroit (AmeriCorps) by tutoring and mentoring Detroit youth as well as leading large scale community beautification projects. His volunteer experience spans over a decade, including preservation advocacy, political campaigns, and several public art/music events, including an organizing role with Hamtramck Music Festival. Having curated over 120 live musical performances of various genres, Chris’s commitment to the arts continues with his label and production company, Tool & Die. Chris is a diehard Tigers fan and throws a mean curveball. He enjoys bike rides from his eastside home in Detroit to nearby Belle Isle, attending concerts, and cheap concessions at his favorite cinema, Redford Theatre.
Andrew Kaplowitz (he/him) is proud to be back in his home state and excited about the future for the people of Detroit. Like many Michiganders, Andrew appreciates A Primer by Bob Hicok, going for a dip in the lake, and a fresh blanket of snow.
Andrew works as the Program Coordinator at ProsperUS. Some highlights from Andrew’s past entrepreneurial experience include growing LOUD in Chicago, volunteering in Nicaragua with Peace Corps’ Entrepreneurship Training program, and producing an international panel on hip-hop and social activism.
An avid traveler, Andrew is excited to put down roots in Detroit and grow with the community. Andrew spends his free time expressing his creativity in any way possible, most frequently through photography.
For opportunities to work on the ProsperUS Detroit team, visit the Southwest Solutions website.
Para una descripción general de ProsperUS Detroit en español, visite la página.
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