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.
A small business advocate working to make the entrepreneur experience in Detroit feel less like a solo mission. Founder of Always Brewing Detroit a community gathering space that also serves coffee in the Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood in Northwest Detroit. Amanda was able to own and operate her own business for four years, but sole proprietorship was a journey not a destination. After paying back $20,000 in loans and receiving business awards from Detroit SOUP, FoodLab Detroit, and Motor City Match, Amanda sold her business in November of 2016. Amanda has two Bachelor of Arts’ degrees from Michigan State University, one in Communication with a specialization in Public Relations and a second degree in Telecommunication Information Studies and Media with an emphasis in audio production. She now spends her days behind a desk instead of behind a bar (as she did for over 15 years in the service industry) and you might just catch her some nights behind a mic as a stand-up comedian. For entertainment Amanda runs half marathons, belongs to a few creative writing groups, and creates themed playlists for friends.
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.
Dedicated to helping Detroit’s neighborhoods thrive, Joanna Dueweke is the Program Manager for ProsperUS Detroit where she commits her energy to fostering relationships, empowering entrepreneurs, and supporting community development. Before coming to ProsperUS and while achieving her Master of Library and Information Science from Wayne State University, Joanna devoted her efforts to being an information advocate and community activist working on a neighborhood crowdfunding project, Detroit SOUP. Before venturing into community development, Joanna began her love of stories and small businesses as a Senior Associate Editor for The Awesome Mitten, an online publication dedicated to showcasing all that is awesome in Michigan. Over the last several years, Joanna has participated in several community projects working with small businesses and nonprofits planning events andcreating greater accessibility for Detroiters.
In her free time, Joanna serves as a co-captain for her Detroit City Futbol League team, is an avid Detroit City Futbol Club fan, loves to collect too many books, travel whenever possible, and ride her bike all around the city.
Devin Kuziel is the Program Support Specialist for ProsperUS, excelling in data entry and community outreach efforts. As a SouthWest Detroit native, descendant from Mexican and Polish families, watching the community flourish and grow is close to her heart . She is inspired by the driven and tenacious entrepreneurial spirit of Detroit. With a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from Loyola University Chicago, social justice and the protection of natural resources have greatly influenced her life. Before coming to ProsperUS, Devin has worked in a variety of outreach and environmental positions, having served as On-Site Coordinator for Lafayette Greens, and as a Forest Ranger for the USDA. As a Spanish-speaker, she hopes to increase the accessibility of entrepreneurial and educational resources throughout Detroit.
Born and raised in Mexico City, Alexandra is an Atlas Corps and America Solidaria Fellow that has become passionate about Detroit, the inspiring and creative people in the city, the sense of community and welcoming spirit. Most of her professional experience and academic background has been with nonprofits, philanthropy and international cooperation for development. Before coming to Detroit and to ProsperUS, Alexandra dedicated many years working to advance rights for women, migrants, indigenous population and human rights defenders in Mexico as Institutional Development Coordinator at Center Prodh.
She is passionate about listening to people, supporting empowerment and opportunities for economic and social justice, and believes in strategy, partnerships, teamwork and effective communication as ways to advance the biggest challenges in today´s world. She enjoys cultural exchanges and learning processes in all ways. Her role at ProsperUS is towards the integration and innovation programmatically and technologically within SWES programs, supporting latino participants and assist all areas at ProsperUS while she learns from the amazing people and community development in Detroit.
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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