Bolstering small business growth, entrepreneurship and opportunity is something we continually strive for at DTE Energy, and the Bright Ideas for Neighborhoods competition is one of the many ways we achieve that. 

DTE recently hosted the sixth installment of this competition at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit.  

At the event, nine small business owners and entrepreneurs from Detroit, Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor competed for a chance to win cash prizes – but this year was special.  

Not only was this the first Bright ideas For Neighborhoods competition that took place in person since the pandemic, but DTE also united to further support the participants and increase the winnings to $18,000. 

The pitches included a wide variety of businesses from a pickleball club to vegan food services and fashion design.  

The participants each had two minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of three judges, including:  

  • Charles Finneran, DTE director of Supply Chain Management  
  • Dana Williams, chief strategy officer, Detroit at Work  
  • Bishop Charles Ellis, spiritual leader of Greater Grace Temple  

In the end, the top three winners were named and are as follows:  

  • 1st place and recipient of $5,000: Tafari Roberts – The Tafari Group & Rove Soapsheets.  
  • 2nd place and recipient of $4,000: Celeste Ivey – Patisserie Ci Corp  
  • 3rd place and recipient of $3,000: Cathryn Coleman – Bouncing Around The Motor City  

To ensure we still supported all the small business owners, the rest of the participants received $1,000 each to support their business plans.