BuyDetroit Marketplace brings national exposure to Detroit businesses

BuyDetroit is a one-of-a-kind marketplace only for businesses in Detroit to connect those small businesses to national companies

A trade show is going on to help give a boost to Detroit businesses.

DETROIT – We’re used to seeing trade shows at Huntington Place, the former TCF Center, all the time, but Thursday was different.

BuyDetroit is a one-of-a-kind marketplace only for businesses in Detroit to connect those small businesses to national companies.

Detroit Economic Growth Corporation has a BuyDetroit program to help business owners get the resources they need while offering an online portal for those businesses to network with large companies.

The marketplace is a chance to have those same networking opportunities face-to-face.

DEGC invited more than 15 investors from companies in Michigan and across the country.

“A lot of these businesses do not have access to be able to talk to a Target, to talk to a Walmart, or talk to a DTE, and we wanted to create a space where they can do that,” said Keyra Cokley, associate director of the BuyDetroit program.

Detroit entrepreneurs like Harold Lasenby, CEO, and president of Infinite Technologies, said the event is extremely valuable to his business.

“Buyers who you typically call or email, and sometimes unsuccessfully, they’re here,” said Lasenby. “They come up to your booth sitting here talking with you.”

Before the marketplace, DEGC sent those major companies, also known as buyers, information on the Detroit businesses that were attending.

Lasenby said, “They have a little history on you. So the conversation is not so starter in nature, but it’s ‘Hey, you provide a service that we have an interest in, can you elaborate on those services and how it could benefit our company?’”

At each booth, there is a QR Code that buyers scan to show interest. It’s also how DEGC tracked engagement and transactions between buyers and Detroit vendors.

“We’re also looking at the actual spending miles,” said Cokley. “Even Huntington Place, the place we’re sitting in, actually spent $795 with one of our small businesses to procure some beverages for another event that they have.”

In the end, DEGC’s President and CEO Kevin Johnson said the event not only gets the word out on what Detroit entrepreneurs have to offer, but it’s investing in the local economy.

“If we can recirculate dollars that are spent locally, It provides an opportunity for more growth, for more employment, for more tax-based expansion, and it also grows entrepreneurship,” said Johnson.

About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.