Published: December 16, 2015



Donald Snider 2015

Donald Snider has been named interim executive director of the Detroit Micro-Enterprise Fund, a company that provides microloans to new and established small businesses in cities throughout southeast Michigan.

Snider, of Canton, is an executive board member and former senior vice president of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and former president and CEO of Metro Business Connect LLC, a consulting firm that provides access to capital and comprehensive services for growing small businesses and start-ups.

Throughout his extensive career, Snider has been a consultant for organizations such as the Michigan Department of Transportation, Detroit Renewable Energy LLC, and Main Street Bank in Bingham Farms. Snider was also owner and CEO for Ann Arbor-based Walden Foods, Papa John’s Pizzas, and Detroit-based Paper-Plas Converting Inc.


Donald Snider

President and CEO – Paper-Plas Converting Inc.

By Gerda D. Gallop. November 1999

Donald Snider is quite familiar with the term “going out on a limb.”

During his lifetime, the 47-year-old has been a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchisee, a science teacher, a gas station attendant and an account manager for Randolph-General Medical, a medical supply company in Livonia, Michigan. In 1992, he was introduced to the paper conversion business as a consultant for Midwest Paper in Detroit, and was soon on the road to owning his own business.

Snider became interested in manufacturing, and learned that Midwest Paper had gone into bankruptcy in 1994. He attempted to purchase the converting division of the firm, but the selling price was too high. One year later, Snider made a successful bid but he didn’t have the capital to purchase the company. Undaunted, he changed his strategy; if he could convince one of the Big Three automakers that he could produce packaging paper (used to protect auto glass during shipping), one of them would finance his new business. As it turned out, Midwest had supplied most of its paper to Chrysler, which was looking for another minority firm to take over the contract.

“You have to sell yourself to those automotive companies you want to do business with,” Snider says. “If you fail, they don’t want it to come back on them. It prevents them from giving other opportunities to other minorities.”

After many months of wooing, Snider landed a five-year contract worth $750,000. But one problem still remained. He didn’t have a facility or the equipment to fulfill Chrysler’s contract. Through loans and borrowing against his credit cards, Snider was able to finance a building himself and equip it with the machines he needed to produce automotive packaging materials. Paper-Plas Converting Inc. was born in 1995.

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