On Tuesday, January 10th, Vice President Joe Biden came to our building at 1759 West 21st Street in Detroit. As a part of the proceedings surrounding the Motor City Match award ceremony, Joe Biden gave remarks. He spoke about the importance of small businesses and the integrity of neighborhoods to the functioning of cities. As a small business owner, his message resonated with me.
The Motor City Match program helps business develop from idea to open. When I began my idea generation with Plum Health, I wrote a business plan. I submitted that business plan to the Motor City Match Round 3 on January 1st, 2016. In that round, we received $4,000 worth of grant funding for our business. We were able to use these funds to pay for different services in the small business ecosystem in Detroit, from marketing support, to legal advising, to architectural renderings.
From there we applied to the Round 4 of the Motor City Match program, but unfortunately, we did not receive any funding. But, we always persevere and re-applied, this time to Round 5. In October 2016, we received a $50,000 grant from the Motor City Match and this will help us grow Plum Health into a more permanent location.
I really enjoy attending these events with the Motor City Match because I get to meet the like-minded entrepreneurs who are in a similar place as where I am with Plum Health. It's a good place to make connections and network. But this most recent Motor City Match event was like no other. The Detroit School for Digital Technology hosted the event and the space was filled by Mayor Mike Duggan, some of his key staff members, business leaders, the awardees, funders, and many others. Here's a few pictures from the event:
After the small businesses received their awards from the Mayor and from the Motor City Match team, Joe Biden entered the room to a standing ovation. He spoke, and discussed the importance of cities, the leadership of Mayor Duggan and his administration, and he reflected on the past 8 years in office. All of this took place prior to his travel to Chicago to attend President Obama's Farewell Address later that evening. Here's the beginning of his speech:
After Vice President Biden's remarks, he took the time to greet members of the crowd and pause for several pictures. Here are a few more pictures:
For me, listening to and shaking hands with the Vice President is something that would have never happened had I not pursued my passion of starting Plum Health. I can't help but to think of a quote from Steve Jobs: "You can't connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path."
In my case as a Family Physician, the well worn path would have been taking a job with a large hospital system, having a career with a paycheck and benefits. Instead, I have chosen to pursue my passion, a role in society that I am excited to fill. I know there are risks of failure, but delivering affordable and accessible healthcare services in Detroit has been challenging and fulfilling, and I hope to continue to serve people in the community and create value for the community through this role.
Thanks for reading!
- Paul Thomas, MD