LaunchGLOBAL, now in its second year as a Rotary sponsored pilot program, was spearheaded by Rotary volunteers from Rotary District 6400 who initiated LaunchDETROIT in 2012. The pilot was expanded this year to form additional group lending partnerships.

The Rotary Club of Detroit sponsored five entrepreneurs in 2018 and recently formed a second group of four Detroit area entrepreneurs.

Through LaunchGLOBAL, eligible participants receive five free small business training classes provided by International Strategic Management (ISM). Following successful completion of the classes, entrepreneurs are formed into groups to help each other grow their businesses while receive mentoring and networking opportunities along with the opportunity to apply for a loan of up to $2,500.

According to Margaret Williamson, chair of LaunchGLOBAL, entrepreneurs in each group have the responsibility to award loans to their respective businesses. “This means taking the time get to know each other, build trust and have confidence that the loan will be repaid on a timely basis,” said Williamson.

This year, the Rotary Club of Detroit’s four qualifying entrepreneurs are Khella Young of Bee Buzzed, Lilllian Quickley of Small BIZness Research and Development, Dazmonique Carr of Deeply Rooted Produce, and Timara Wheeler of Rose Royalty Collections, LLC.

At their first group meeting, the entrepreneurs named themselves “2020 Visionaries” and set up a timetable to meet at least twice a month in person and also talk as needed using group chat or web conferencing.

Entrepreneur Young volunteered to be the group’s treasurer. “I am not in need of a loan just yet, and I’d like to help others with more immediate needs to expand their business,” said Young. “The business classes we attended gave us a great start and provided information that I hadn’t previously considered. I feel it was really great for everybody.”

Bernadette Durkin, a Detroit Rotarian and retired clinical psychotherapist, who served as a mentor to the group of five entrepreneurs in the first year of the pilot program, volunteered to mentor the 2020 Visionaries. Durkin, who credited business organization classes to help her manage a large psychotherapy practice, shared that the diverse backgrounds of entrepreneurs in the LaunchGLOBAL program make it especially interesting.

LaunchGLOBAL strategic partners include ISM, Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School fo Business, the Rotary Clubs of Detroit, Taylor, Trenton and Toronto, and Level One Bank. For more information about LaunchGLOBAL, visit or email