Who has access to cash in the city? Black Leaders Detroit aims to widen the pot

Founded in 2019, Black Leaders Detroit offers grants, no-interest business loans to Black entrepreneurs and small business owners working or living in Detroit.

Photo credit: Ryan Hooper

Dwan Dandridge founded Black Leaders Detroit in 2019 to help increase access to cash for Black entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders in Detroit.

The issue is a systemic one in the Motor City and around the country. A survey conducted last year by the Bank of America showed that 56% of Black business owners said they often faced obstacles obtaining credit. A whopping 82% of entrepreneurs of color said they often felt like they had to work harder to gain access to capital. About 1,050 small-business owners with annual revenue of $100,000 to $5 million were surveyed for the report.

Dandridge says that starting to offer no-interest business loans earlier this year has opened up a wave of applicants looking to grow their small businesses in the city.

“In three months time, we received $2.2 million in requests,” he says. “People who have not and would not apply for funding are applying [with us] because they know that if they get denied, they’re not gonna worry about it being because they were Black.”

Visit blackleadersdetroit.org for more information or to support their cause.

Listen: Dwan Dandridge aims to provide inclusive access to capital for Black entrepreneurs with Black Leaders Detroit.


Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • Ryan Patrick Hooper
    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host and producer of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.