How Amazon and the Detroit Pistons joined forces to help small businesses around the SHOP313 program

Miranda Moy opened Detroit-based Moy’s Hair Essentials in 2018 to produce an all-natural hair care line.

The Detroit Pistons’ SHOP313 program is designed to help entrepreneurs like Moy.

Moe joined more than 100 pre-selected vendors, entrepreneurs and small business owners at Detroit’s Pistons Performance Center earlier this week for the Small Business Summit presented by Amazon.

Leaders’ goal is to support small business owners like Moe’s, whose store is located in northwest Detroit near the Rosedale Park Historic District. Last year, Moi was a SHOP313 program grant recipient.

“The Pistons really help,” Moy said. “It was very helpful to receive information during the panel discussions on how to grow your business and how to get on Amazon. Getting invited to events by them will help you get exposure and grow your business.

During Small Business Month, the day-long event featured workshops, panel discussions and opportunities for questions from Piston marketing experts and Amazon’s business development team.

According to Howard Wright, Amazon’s vice president and global head of startups, the conference aims to promote best sales practices and support small businesses in brand marketing.

“It’s persistence, dedication, preparation and teamwork,” said Wright, who played several seasons in the NBA. “Here at AWS (Amazon), we like to focus on those same key metrics, the capabilities of our partners in the startup community, and we do that every morning with compassion and a little coercion.”

The Pistons created the SHOP313 program in 2021 to promote local entrepreneurs and provide participating businesses with educational seminars, resources, grant opportunities and networking events.

Last year, the Pistons program was recognized by the NBA after more than 800 small businesses applied for the SHOP313 program. During the 2021-22 season, the program helped get 82 small businesses to Little Caesars Arena through games, community events and digital assistance. SHOP313 proved to be an asset to Detroit-based companies Bea’s Squeeze, a lemonade company, and K. Walker Collective, an apparel brand that partnered with the Pistons’ G League team, the Motor City Cruiser, to design the uniforms.

“The SHOP313 program puts our businesses in front of people who might not have seen us before,” April Anderson, owner of Good Kekes and Bakes, told last fall. “The initiative has helped because they go outside of the program and use us for other events.”

According to Michigan Governor Whitmer’s office, Michigan will be home to more than 900,000 small businesses by 2022.

“I think small business is really the epitome of Detroit,” said Sara Barnes, Pistons’ director of corporate partnerships. “If you just look at the numbers related to small businesses, the economic impact and the cultural impact they have on our community; it’s really important to take our platform and use the game to unite people through basketball and take that platform for good.”

Following the panel and fireside chats, the afternoon concluded with a professional marketing photo opportunity, networking and happy hour. “Throughout the season we have business that we deal with on game days, but this is our off-season, our post-season is a great way to develop the rest of the summer,” Barnes said. “We want to integrate small businesses where we can.”

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