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ProsperUS Staff

ProsperUS Staff
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Chanell Scott Contreras, Executive Director of ProsperUS

Chanell Scott Contreras - Director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives - ProsperUS Detroit

Driven by her empathetic nature and passion for entrepreneurs of color, Chanell is deeply committed to increasing economic equity throughout Detroit. As the Executive Director of ProsperUS, she collaborates with a rich network of partners to strategically grow and develop training, business services, and microlending 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 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.

 

Matthew Bihun, Senior Loan Officer

matthewbihun2-bwA 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.

 

Crystal King, Associate Loan Officer

A west-side Detroit native and Michigan State University alum, Crystal has a passion for urban geography and working to address economic disparities minority Detroiters face.
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Crystal is an Associate Loan Officer and works one-on-one with the entrepreneurs of ProsperUS’ programs as a financial coach to empower them to have power over their finances, as well as prepare them for loan readiness. Crystal is passionate about bringing financial security and generational wealth to the native Detroit community, and giving people the tools and resources to achieve that.  
 
Crystal has prior experience in nonprofit work in DC, venture capital in NYC, and financial services. In their free-time, Crystal enjoys being outside in warm weather, listening to a good podcast, and live music performances.
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Emeric Dongmo, Portfolio Manager

Emeric Magloire Dongmo Tsakem is a finance professional with over 10 years of experience in the industry. Emeric was born and raised in Africa, where he obtained a Master degree in Banking and Finance from the International Relations Institute of Cameroon. He has always been passionate about helping vulnerable people improve their economic and social well-being. His served as portfolio manager, National Loan officer and District Manager with Afriland First bank, Unity Cooperative Society LLC, and CEFAC Yaoundé.  In 2014, he moved to the United States of America, and he intends to fully contribute to his new community. With ProsperUS Detroit, Emeric hopes to apply his background and skills in a deep and meaningful way. There is already a great connection between his personal aspirations to serve the less privileged and the mission of ProsperUS and he is excited to inspire and support the Detroit community via his work at ProsperUS.

 

 

Chris Butterfield, Small Business Advisor

chrisbutterfield-bwDuring 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, Program Manager

Like many Michiganders, Andrew [He/Him] appreciates A Primer by Bob Hicok, going for a dip in the lake, and a fresh blanket of snow.

Andrew works as the Program Manager at ProsperUS and helps run the Entrepreneur Training Program. Some other highlights from Andrew’s entrepreneurial experience include helping grow LOUD in Chicago, volunteering in Nicaragua with Peace Corps’ Entrepreneurship Training program, and his ongoing freelance creative work.

Although he is an avid traveler, Andrew loves Detroit and seeks every opportunity to grow with the community. Andrew spends his free time expressing his creativity in any way possible, most frequently through photography.

 

 

 

 

Anna Gotskind, DukeEngage Fellow

Having grown up in Chicago, Anna loves live music, the bustling city life, and the innumerable different types of food the city has to offer. However, she also hates the cold which is why she chose to head south.

Anna is Junior at Duke University studying psychology with a minor in economics and a certificate in innovation and entrepreneurship. On campus Anna enjoys writing for the Duke Research Blog and performing with Hoof ‘n’ Horn, the oldest student-run theater program in the south. She is also part of the Duke Consulting Club that provides pro-bono consulting services for local non-profits and startups.

This summer Anna is excited to return the Midwest and intern at ProsperUs where she will be creating a tool to help graduates of the Entrepreneurship Training Program network. She is looking forward to learning more about the incredible small business owners in Detroit.

 

 

 

Weyman Cohen, DukeEngage Fellow

Weyman, a St. Petersburg, FL native, will be interning at ProsperUS this summer.  Weyman, a senior in college, has worked for his Floridian Congressman in Washington, as well as two summers working construction in Black Mountain, North Carolina.  Weyman utilized his background with the Spanish language to collaborate on a project that documented local Honduran construction workers’ lives and contributions to society through the Migrant Workers and American Dreams Showcase.  Weyman is a Rays baseball fanatic that plays ping pong and fishes on the side.  

 

 

 

 

 

Mackenzie Hewitt, DCERP Intern

After enrolling at the University of Michigan to pursue Art and Design, Mackenzie discovered her passion for social justice—finding she not only wanted her art to address social issues but also to work to change them. This shift led her to dual major in Sociology, with a Law, Justice, and Social Change sub-major. She was inspired to study abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, to learn about human trafficking.

In her time at U of M, Mackenzie has collaborated with Detroit high school students, creating a footwear brand that aimed to transition the students from consumers to creators. Mackenzie has led an art workshop with inmates at a county jail to support a traditionally outcasted population. She will be continuing to collaborate with this community in her senior year, along with leading the Women’s Ice Hockey Team as a co-captain.

As an intern at ProsperUS, Mackenzie is eager to learn more about non-profit work and to continue to engage with the Detroit community.

 

 

 

 

 

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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