About DNEP

Founded in 2016, the Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project was established to support neighborhood-based small businesses in Detroit while providing students with interdisciplinary learning experiences rooted in mutual respect, cultural humility, and reciprocity.

Since 2016, DNEP has worked to help close the resource gap for Detroit-based enterprises, most of which are minority-owned businesses, while providing U-M students with life-changing consulting experiences. DNEP does this by connecting entrepreneurs with faculty-supervised student teams to address entrepreneurs' legal, financial, marketing, operational, design, and technology challenges. Students gain valuable professional experience working with real businesses; business owners gain access to data and capacity that their business cannot yet afford.

In 2023, DNEP:

  • Recruited and placed 231 unique Detroit businesses with faculty-led student teams in 56 semester-long projects at seven U-M schools,
  • Provided free one-on-one accounting help to 40  businesses through DNEP Free Accounting,
  • Provided hands-on technology support to 135 business through its Community Tech Worker program (offered in partnership with Jefferson East, Inc.),
  • Conducted research, created new tools, and implemented recommendations for 12 businesses through the DNEP summer internship program.

As of 2023, DNEP has worked with 682 unique Detroit businesses, usually multiple times. 90% of our client businesses are minority-owned; 78% are women-owned. By leveraging student talent and business owners' commitment to mentoring our professionals-in-training, DNEP seeks to decrease the race/wealth gap that entrepreneurs of color still experience and build up the businesses that serve as the hearts of Detroit neighborhoods.

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 85 Interns