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May 11, 2021

Detroit Entrepreneur Life: Stories from the Community

By Michelle Janssens Keller

In 2020 we launched our Detroit Entrepreneur Life Contest because we saw that Detroit small business owners were different. Even in the throes of a pandemic they live and love the entrepreneur life to the fullest. And they don’t believe in every entrepreneur for him or herself, but rather every entrepreneur for each other. They pull up, show up, and just hustle harder.

We knew Detroit doers were special, but we were blown away by the stories that were submitted. Young upstarts. Business veterans. Neighborhood favorites. Community game changers.  

Motown, Motor City--whatever you call Detroit, there’s a spirit here, a sense of true community.

It has been and continues to be a tough year, but there are brave, dedicated people starting up businesses, getting creative with operations and marketing, and finding new ways to reach out to customers and colleagues. We’re excited and honored to tell three of these unique stories through Detroit Entrepreneur Life moving forward.

Our subjects each launched or started a business in 2020. This year, we’ll follow along with their new business journeys to see what they’re accomplishing as well as what challenges they’re facing. Who do they turn to for help? What resources have they found? What others do they lack? What motivates them to keep going?

It’s our hope that other entrepreneurs and owners will be able to see themselves in these audacious doers and learn from them as they go, too.

Introducing Detroiters rocking the Entrepreneur Life:


Dayna Peoples and Lexi Zeidan met teaching 3rd grade at a Detroit charter school, where they witnessed a broken, underfunded system failing their vibrant, bright students. Determined to fight for racial equity and do better, they founded Detroit Kids Matter, an apparel label created to advance the highly intellectual Detroit youth.

Their direct-to-kid business model lets them “bypass the grapevine and give funds directly to youth organizations,” and customers are taking note. Since launching in the summer of 2020, DKM has held a Back-to-School Supply Drive with Target, donated funds to local youth organizations and partnered with community centers on student programming. Inspired by the community support, Peoples and Zeidan are dreaming up big plans for DKM’s future.

Find out about Dayna Peoples and Lexi Zeidan’s future goals for DKM in the next installment of Detroit Entrepreneur Life.

When Stacey A. Walker found herself furloughed from her IT career last June in the middle of the pandemic, she saw a silver-lining opportunity for change. “I thought, this is my time, my moment to add value to our society,” says the founder of Alamode Apps Agency and Tech Solutions.

Her full service app business builds, supports and markets mobile applications for small businesses navigating the ever-progressing age of technology. A single-mom entrepreneur in a stereotypically male tech realm, Walker wakes up excited to slay challenges every single day.

Follow Stacey A. Walker’s challenges and triumphs with Alamode this year through Detroit Entrepreneur Life.

Kevon Butler grew up in a neighborhood where fresh produce was scarce and people lined up down the block for affordable fast food. Raised by a single mom, he watched neighbors struggle to eat well in a community with limited resources. “I wanted to take the guesswork out of healthy eating and make it fun,” says the founder of Pantry Pal LLC, an app business currently in the development stage that helps customers find food for all types of nutrition-based diets. It’s no surprise that Butler plans to kick off with restaurants and groceries that serve his childhood neighborhood.    

Stay tuned to learn how Kevon puts his plans in action.

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