One of the ongoing services Grand River WorkPlace offers is free, one-on-one meetings with TechTown consultants for small business owners. Heather Levine is the TechTown consultant, or portfolio manager at Grand River WorkPlace, and she comes with a great deal of experience in small business. A business owner herself, Heather knows well the challenges and opportunities particular to small business owners. Heather can put small business owners in touch with a variety of professional service providers, everything from legal aid to architects, marketing to grant opportunities. For the most part though, Heather spends the majority of each one hour consultation listening. “The most important thing I do is listen to what business owners need. I listen to their road blocks, their concerns, needs and steer them in the right direction for the guidance and/or support they need.”
Heather works with business owners who are just starting out, and those who have been in business for years. TechTown’s overall objective is to strengthen neighborhood commercial districts. TechTown has consultants in a number of other Detroit neighborhoods such as Southwest Detroit and the Osborne community. Heather shares her insight and expertise with small businesses in the University District as well.
Small business owners know that there are many important details that need to be attended to in order for a business to succeed. While a small business owner may make the best ribs in town, that doesn’t mean that they also know all the ins and outs of taxes or licensing. That’s where Heather comes in. She offers entrepreneurial education and networking opportunities. She helps businesses work with the city to simplify the process of business ownership. “I connect small business owners with the right people,” she says.
Heather co-owns the Chartreuse Restaurant in midtown and a cocktail bar in Ferndale, and she is also an attorney, so she understands the challenges small business owners face and how to overcome those challenges.
Heather sees many benefits to holding her consultations at the WorkPlace. She can directly and immediately connect her clients to the other small business services that also hold sessions at WorkPlace. According to Heather, “CEED Lending is here collaborating, and talking about neighborhood resources. I also get lots of ideas from Larissa (the Grand River WorkPlace manager).” Heather frequently uses the conference rooms that are available at WorkPlace to discuss financial matters in confidence. “Not all neighborhoods have such a place as WorkPlace – in fact none do. I often have to have these conversations in less comfortable, less private surroundings.”
WorkPlace is a great match for Heather and for several small businesses that come to the WorkPlace for resources. “It’s a dream job for me. I love being here at WorkPlace! Everyone here is extremely welcoming and the facility is perfect for this kind of work. Everyone here is an entrepreneur!”
TechTown was one of the first resources to set up shop at the WorkPlace, and they have helped out a number of small businesses in Grandmont Rosedale and beyond. For Heather, working at the WorkPlace has had the additional benefit of being introduced to Grandmont Rosedale. “This is my first experience with Grandmont Rosedale. What a great community, a special community!”
To find out more about the Grand River WorkPlace and all that it offers, go to http://www.grandriverworkplace.com
Written by Kathy Garrett