An example of social entrepreneurship would be not only my partner organization, TechTown, but also the myriad entrepreneurs and small business that TechTown has advised and supported throughout the years. TechTown is an incubator that helps startups ideate, grow, and scale. It provides consulting services, intensive training programs, and rentable space for entrepreneurs to use. The company also partners with Wayne State to encourage innovation from students there and hosts a tech-based startup competition, DTX Launch Detroit, where each participant has $2,500 to launch their startup. The winner receives $15,000 to further grow their company.
Through my time with Joanna, our supervisor at TechTown, I have seen two socially-minded startups that have come to TechTown for its services. One of these was a group called Einstein by Design, which focused on educating children about technology: robotics, AI, and computer programming. The founder, Tai Thibodeau, was preparing a speech for Detroit Demo Days, a pitch competition. Through their speech, Xin, Becca, and I got to listen to the story of a successful social entrepreneur, who spread her company’s influence across Michigan, and then across the U.S. Their program did not discriminate: lower income students and children of auto industry CEOs shared a classroom. Unfortunately, they did not end up winning the competition, but it was a wonderful experience to sit in on and advise a socially entrepreneurial pitch.
The other social entrepreneur I had the pleasure of meeting at TechTown was Rachel, who I saw previously at Detroit Soup. She presented one of her ideas, Motherhood Mentors, there. However, she has already seen multiple successes in terms of the other ventures she has had. Of course, all of them are focused on bettering the Detroit community. She came to TechTown to join the professional service network, as to get better connected with like-minded entrepreneurs.