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Stories of Impact

Economic Vitality

Global Detroit Connects Immigrant Entrepreneurs to Critical Resources

“There are a lot of resources for entrepreneurs in Detroit, but if people can't access them, their outcomes aren't improved.”

–Dr. Alaina Jackson, Managing Director, Global Detroit

Detroit, MI (May 2024) - There was a time when Fardusee Jaigirdar, Tahira Lasker and Farjana Dali would get together as friends to create event decor just for fun. It was a passion that they hadn’t necessarily considered beyond a hobby. But when Global Detroit’s Gracie Xavier spotted the group’s talent, she pointed out that their skills could be turned into a business. As the women entertained the idea and brainstormed the possibilities with Xavier, they began to get excited. They realized this is something they wanted to do.

In 2022, Aynaa Events and Decor was born. The company’s focus is to provide quality services to the Muslim community, which is in need of more women event planners, photographers, makeup artists and other professionals. So far, business is booming.

Aynaa Events and Decor is just one example of an emerging immigrant-owned business that partnered with Global Detroit to bring its entrepreneurial vision to life. For nearly a decade, Global Detroit has been a trusted connector for immigrant-owned small businesses in under-resourced communities in Detroit. The team helps these business owners navigate complex systems and systemic barriers, ensuring they receive the resources and services they need to sustain and grow their businesses.

Global Detroit's Trusted Connectors help immigrant businesses with needed technical assistance. Photo courtesy of Global Detroit.Download a high-resolution version of this photo.

“Immigrants play a huge role in our local and regional economy, but a lot of their hard work goes unnoticed,” says Tariq Fanek, Program Director, Global Detroit. “We are about intentionally finding ways to include immigrant residents and business owners into the more formalized mainstream financial and business structures so that they gain more visibility and access to resources.”

In a Global Detroit survey, the organization found that 79% of immigrant business owners needed support when applying for funding and technical assistance. With a 2024 grant from Walters Family Foundation, Global Detroit aims to provide this support to more than 100 immigrant and minority entrepreneurs.

To do this, the Global Detroit team will create a network of referrals, offering personalized advice, pre-loan guidance, assistance with applications, document preparation and a Global Detroit team member to participate in meetings with lenders. Through the support of bilingual trusted connectors and a budget for translation and interpretation, each of these services will be available in the entrepreneurs’ native language.

Detroit has a robust small business ecosystem, but access is a key ingredient. Photo courtesy of Global Detroit.Download a high-resolution version of this photo.

“There are a lot of resources for entrepreneurs in Detroit, but if people can't access them, their outcomes aren't improved. A big pathway toward access is language inclusivity and understanding cultural responsiveness. How many programs are you aware of that offer their materials or their programming in languages besides English?” says Dr. Alaina Jackson. Managing Director, Global Detroit.

By providing equitable opportunities and positioning underserved entrepreneurs for success, Global Detroit strives to create an inclusive environment where immigrant businesses can thrive in Detroit. “It changed our lives,” Anyaa events co-owner, Fardusee, says about the success of their business.  “We were told, ‘Believe in yourself, you can do it, you can get there.’ It made all the difference.”