The first nine businesses in the 100 Project to launch new websites on March 9, 2017.

Nine Detroit small businesses will launch new websites created pro bono by developers from San Francisco-based Automattic (the for-profit arm of WordPress) on March 9, 2017, part of a citywide initiative to get 100 businesses online by 2nd quarter of this year. The new websites were created during a 48-hour Super Bowl Weekend blitz as part of the 100 Project, program of Detroit-based Brand Camp University in partnership with WordPress and TechTown Detroit.

Brand Camp University’s mission is to help businesses tell their story via brand strategy, workshops and mentoring. Brand Camp’s 100 Project seeks to eliminate the digital gap that exists in so many communities that the Super Bowl weekend pilot project aimed to establish a digital presence for neighborhood businesses increasing their accessibility and their bottom line.

A talented WordPress team of developers flew in from around the country help put a diverse group of Detroit neighborhood businesses on the grid. The selections not only represented a variety of industries (arts, eateries, apparel, etc.) but also represented diverse ethnicities and economic levels. The Rebrand Detroit team facilitated a tour using a colorful art bus from The Detroit Bus Company, giving a glimpse of some Detroit landmarks. The developers then had the opportunity to tour the businesses and meet the business owners behind the websites they would craft to introduce or reintroduce them to the digital world.

The next forty-eight hours were used to create websites, connect, exchange ideas and create a dialogue focused on ideas on how to continue to improve the presentation and reach of their brand.

“More than 2.4 billion people use the internet every day, and some 90% of those have purchased something, or contacted a company, online in the last 12 months,” says Hajj Flemings, founder of Brand Camp.” There is a digital divide that inhibits businesses without websites to benefit from this ecommerce reality. Forty-six (46%) of small businesses in underserved neighborhoods are disconnected digitally. We aim to change that.”

Websites debuting on March 9, 2017: Art in Motion (http://artinmotiondet.com), Brix Wine and Charcuterie Boutique (http://brixdetroit.com ), La Posada (https://laposadadetroit.com ), Red Bag Detroit (https://redbagdetroit.com), El Salpicon Detroit (http://elsalpicondetroit.com/es/), Royal Fresh Market (http://royalfreshmarketdetroit.com), Mama Coo’s Boutique (https://mamacoosboutique.com), The Garden Bug (http://thegardenbugdetroit.com) and Motor City Java (http://justjavahouse.com).

Seven of the nine businesses are clients in TechTown’s SWOT City program, which provides customized, one-on-one consulting for small businesses in Detroit’s neighborhoods.

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