New Business Development


Are you new to the Detroit area and interested in starting a new business in Metro Detroit? Whether you are a newly-arrived immigrant or a native Detroiter, new businesses in the Detroit area are a welcome addition to the community to provide goods and services, create jobs, and add tax base and economic growth to the region. There are many resources available to assist you to start a new business. The International Institute is a member of the Detroit Regional Chamber (of Commerce). We will be happy to assist you by putting you in touch with our contacts there, where they have many resources for new business entrepreneurs. Below is a list of initial considerations and a list of helpful links:

  • You may wish to consult a corporate attorney to assist you in establishing a legal business entity and assumed name for your business, as well as give you general business law advice.
  • You may wish to retain a certified public accountant, tax attorney, or other tax professional to give you advice on tax matters and assist you with tax filing requirements.
  • You should contact the city, township, or village government offices where your business will be located to determine if your proposed business location is allowed by zoning and to determine what permits and licenses may be needed. You should also review the local ordinances to determine what laws may impact your business. As an example, there may be a sign ordinance regulating commercial signs on the outside of your building. If your business is based in a residential home, you need to determine if the proposed business is allowed by zoning and other ordinances.
  • You may wish to contact the offices of your local government’s planning department or planning commission. They may be able to assist you in locating a spot for your business based on their knowledge and experience and their data involving transportation, demographics, business trends, etc.
  • You need to contact an insurance professional to obtain insurance to protect you and your business. This includes casualty, premises liability, workers compensation, business interruption, flood/water damage, errors and omissions insurance, etc.
  • You need to determine if the State of Michigan requires you to have a State license or certification for certain occupations or professions.
  • You may wish to consult a real estate agent or professional to assist you in finding a suitable building to buy or lease for your business. You may then wish to consult a real estate attorney to draft or review proposed leases or contracts for purchasing land or buildings and assist with the real estate closing. It is always important to review property deed covenants/deed restrictions to make sure your proposed business use is allowed. (This is different from zoning restrictions, which must also be considered.)
  • You may wish to consult a bank or savings and loan institution regarding business bank accounts, business loans, lines of credit, or mortgages.
  • You may wish to consult a labor law attorney to make sure you comply with all applicable labor laws. These could include issues about creating an employee manual, hiring practices, minimum wage laws, health care benefit requirements, working conditions, working hours, child labor laws, labor union negotiations, employee discipline and discharge, work permits required for non-U.S.itizens, etc.
  • You may wish to consult with experienced businessmen in this area for advice and tips learned from their years of experience. Many communities have local chambers of commerce and local or industry-specific business groups.

Helpful Links:

Detroit Regional Chamber

City of Detroit New Business Assistance

City of Detroit Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department

City of Detroit Planning and Development Department

City of Detroit Planning Commission

Tech Town Technology Park

Detroit Local Initiatives Support Corporation

Macomb County New Business Assistance

Oakland County New Business Assistance

Wayne County New Business Assistance

Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association

Useful Websites for foreign business professionals:

Imprint” is a coalition of organizations active in the emerging field of immigrant professional integration

Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education

Upwardly Global

Welcome Back Initiative

World Education Services