For our first challenge of the 2021-2022 program year, we were thrilled to partner with Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance (MBDDA), a recently launched nonprofit committed to advocacy, programming, and providing resources for Black businesses and entrepreneurs led by President/CEO Charity Dean and COO Kai Bowman. Eight teams of Fellows supported this project – learn more from the perspective of each team!

We are the Performance Assessment team (Selene Clark, Mosope Ismail, Christina Gleaton, Akash Raje, Hannah Rainaldi and Miranda Graleski), and we were tasked with exploring how to build out performance assessment tools. We believe that MDBBA is a great organization and is sincerely committed to the success of Black businesses and Detroit as a whole! Our team worked very hard from the beginning of the MDBBA project to learn all we could about the organization and how they measure success. We listened in our stakeholder interviews and analyzed different ways to capture performance data.

We built two main deliverables: a performance dashboard and an annual report. The annual report was created using Canva with inspiration from Skillman’s annual report. The performance dashboard was created in Excel and includes metrics in which MDBBA can use to measure its performance. We focused on qualitative and quantitative data to paint a complete picture of how the MDBBA performed over the year. This dashboard will be useful for both tracking the company’s data and comparing it to competitors.  Throughout this process we were able to meet with various partners and stakeholders. Pierre Batton, executive vice-president of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) said, “The most valuable people are the people you serve.” And we stand fully behind this. A partnership is not just another business deal, it is a test of one’s word and character. If people believe in you enough to do business with you, you are be honored and grateful for their trust.

Our team gained so much insight and value working with our partners. We were able to work alongside a startup nonprofit and gain valuable skills to add to our toolsets. A highlight of this project for our team was the stakeholder interviews and being able to feature the success stories of members in our recommended annual report framework. We learned so much throughout this process. We immersed ourselves in design thinking and came out stronger for it. The results of our work are deliverables we were proud of.

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