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WE Build Program

Women Empowered to Build

The Women Empowered to Build (WE Build) program was created to accelerate the fundability, stability and growth of the women-led businesses and women-led nonprofit organizations in real estate development. This initiative, developed by Cinnaire and Women’s Sustainable Development Initiative (WSDI), is committed to helping women developers forge a new path in their communities, fostering local wealth building and inclusive economic opportunities, by cultivating collective resources. The program accomplishes this by:

  • Leveraging the expertise of the dynamic local industry leaders in real estate development.
  • Providing a practical approach to learning based on a real-world curriculum.

We Build is an 11-month intensive training program designed to assist participants with completing pre-development activities and preparing them to apply for project financing. The program includes live and virtual interactive courses, group learning experiences, site visits and ongoing mentor support. Training topics include understanding local real estate trends, assessing the suitability of a property for development, and evaluating micro and macro factors affecting the market. Participants will have the opportunity to receive up to $50,000 recoverable grant funds to support their work in the program.

Thank you for your interest in the WE Build program. Applications for the 2024 cohort have closed. If you have any questions about the program, please contact Jessica Hinton at jhinton@cinnaire.com.

Dannis Mitchell Alum Headshot

Be Inquisitive. Never stop learning. You'll gain more confidence in how you approach any project

The WE Build program provides a more extensive approach for new developers, as well as seasoned developers, providing technical assistance on formulating deal structures, identifying the right properties--helping those who are seeking to grow to be very specific and focused."

- Dannis Mitchell, WE Build Alumna

Program Details

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for participation, attendees must:

  • Be affiliated with a woman-owned, real estate development business or
    woman-led nonprofit.
  • Have at least two years of commercial real estate or business experience
  • Have site control of an active housing development project.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to responsible and sustainable real estate development with a development project or development business.
Ten women developers posing around a table

Program Commitment

  • Commit to attending programming over the course of the 11 months,
    commencing with a graduation ceremony in December.
  • Commit to in-person training for up to 6 hours once per month and virtual technical assistance for up to 2 hours twice per month during the program term.
  • Commit to a minimum of one active site visit during the program term.
  • Attend 90% or more of in-person and virtual programming to successfully meet the program requirements.
  • Submit an application for a recoverable grant up to $50,000 for pre-development activities.
  • Commit to continuing real estate development project funding with Cinnaire.

Disclaimer: All program training and materials are Michigan-based and follow Michigan laws. 

Logo for Cinnaire Community Connection
Logo for Womens Sustainable Development Initiative

Who We Are


Cinnaire Community Connection (CCC) works to bring equitable development, economic opportunities and investment capital to disinvested communities. With offices in Detroit, Michigan, and Wilmington, Delaware, CCC takes a comprehensive approach to advance community-driven development by strengthening the impact of local community-based organizations, increasing local developer capacity, and providing opportunities for homeownership designed to reduce the wealth gap and revitalize communities. Cinnaire offers a similar program in Wilmington, DE, called Jumpstart Wilmington.

Women's Sustainable Development Initiative (WSDI) is a Michigan nonprofit corporation whose mission is to support emerging women commercial real estate developers working on projects located in low-income communities that incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) components, with a priority focus on women developers who are Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC).

WSDI provides funding, educational resources, and meaningful networking connections to women commercial real estate developers, primarily those who are Black, Indigenous or People of Color.

Contact Us

For more information on the We Build Program, please contact Jessica at jhinton@cinnaire.com

Cinnaire In Action

Dogwood Estates was developed by the federal government as temporary housing for factory workers in Walkerton, IN, during World War II. Forty years later, some of the poorest people in the county were still living in these plywood houses, plagued with issues: Ceilings were caving in. Floors had holes. Uninsulated walls caused pipes to freeze.

Developers worked with the Town of Walkerton, Cinnaire, First Source Bank, the Federal Home Loan Bank, Neighborhood Development Association and others to secure a complex financing package that allowed them to tear down the existing 86 homes and develop 40 beautiful, affordable, lease-to-purchase homes. The project has provided an unprecedented impact on the small community, spurring economic development, improving the school systems and changing the lives of over 200 families.

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