RACER Trust and UEP Detroit Team Up to Provide Opportunities for Minority Entrepreneurs

YPSILANTI, Mich. — The RACER Trust and the Urban Entrepreneur Partnership, Inc. (UEP) of Detroit, have initiated a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at increasing opportunities for qualified minority suppliers to participate in redeveloping properties sold by RACER.

The memorandum calls for RACER to seek minority-sourcing commitments where feasible from buyers with contingency pricing or other financial incentives.

The UEP, known locally as UEP Detroit, is based in Detroit but has members in a seven-county area of Southeast Michigan.

“Working to create job opportunities in hard-hit communities is central to the Trust’s mission,” RACER Trustee Elliott P. Laws said. “These efforts come in many forms, and we’re pleased to join forces with such a respected organization as UEP Detroit to support economic activity for highly capable minority enterprises.”

The RACER (Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response) Trust was created last year by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to clean up and position for redevelopment properties and other facilities owned by the former General Motors Corp. before its 2009 bankruptcy. When the RACER Trust was formed, it owned more than 44 million square feet of industrial space in 14 states, principally in the Midwest and Northeast.

UEP Detroit is a unique entrepreneurial education program that provides one-to-one business coaching to minority-owned automotive suppliers in Southeastern Michigan. These firms were adversely impacted by the retrenchment in the auto industry caused by the severe economic downturn.

UEP Detroit is a program of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City, Mo., the world’s largest foundation dedicated to entrepreneurship. The UEP seeks to encourage, accelerate and grow minority entrepreneurship in America. All costs associated with the services of UEP Detroit are covered by a grant from the New Economy Initiative for Southeastern Michigan.

“Our mission is to work with, develop and seek opportunities for minority entrepreneurs to grow their businesses in a sustainable way,” said Greg Farmer, Senior Business Coach for UEP Detroit. “Our goal is to help build excellent organizations that provide ongoing opportunities for communities and people to thrive.”

UEP Detroit helps businesses diversify into non-automotive industries with a comprehensive program that includes assessments of operations, finances and management. Once a business in the UEP Detroit Program successfully completes the assessment phase, it becomes a UEP Recommended Supplier.

Firms that provide property and facilities management, construction management, environmental services and program management services are among those likely to compete for work under the RACER-Detroit UEP agreement.

“Greg and his team have done an outstanding job helping their member companies strengthen and affirm cultures of excellence, and I am confident that buyers who contract with UEP Detroit affiliates will benefit and, in many cases, end up building working relationships that endure,” Mr. Laws said.

Among the incentives RACER may offer buyers are contingency pricing, in which a property’s purchase price is lowered in exchange for proof that the buyer has met contractual obligations with a contractor or contractors referred by UEP Detroit.

Once UEP Detroit makes a referral, contract terms are between the buyer and the contractor. UEP Detroit is not paid for its services by RACER, a buyer or any of UEP Detroit’s member firms.

RACER is one of the largest holders of industrial property in the United States and is the largest environmental response and remediation trust in U.S. history.

Distinguished by a unique and innovative one-to-one coaching model, the UEP offers a suite of business solutions that help entrepreneurs grow their businesses, create new jobs and help to revitalize the economy. Operating as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the UEP is a program of the Kauffman Foundation and is supported by public, private and nonprofit-sector resources.

For additional information on the Urban Entrepreneur Partnership Detroit 150 and other UEP programs, contact Jaime L. Simmons at (816) 581-2900 or JSimmons@uepkauffman.org or visit www.uepkauffman.org.

For more information about UEP Detroit, please visit www.uepdetroit.org.