Initially founded in 2004 as a nonprofit to support tech-based spinoffs from Wayne State University, TechTown has evolved and expanded to support and strengthen small businesses and commercial corridors across Detroit. Over the years, TechTown has served more than 4,700 businesses, created 2,183 jobs, and leveraged more than $172.5 million in start-up capital. Originally supported by Wayne State University, Henry Ford Health System, and General Motors, Techtown has expanded its partnerships and network beyond Michigan and into Ontario, Canada. After the bankruptcy of Detroit in 2013 and the announcement of the city’s $18 billion debt, headlines predicting the downfall of the city defamed the city’s reputation as “The Motor City” and the world’s “Automobile Capital”. However, the citizens of Detroit did not give up. Countless people and various organizations worked hard to help Detroit thrive again, and among them was TechTown.
Starting with the city’s low-tech infrastructure and encompassing the whole picture of the economic ecosystem, Techtown has continued to contribute to the improvement of Detroit’s economy. TechTown believes in having stable micro-enterprises that are able to support the longer-term development of new businesses and the relocation of existing businesses to Detroit. As a result, initiatives like MedHealth, which focuses on serving the region’s medical ecosystem, were created. MedHealth works with the innovation of medical devices and digital health as a starting point for elevating the region’s health industry.
With my interest in healthcare and entrepreneurship, I was very excited to be working with this TechTown initiative. My project focuses on doing an environmental scan and analysis of the med-tech ecosystem to better understand focus areas and how different resources fit into the sequence of the commercialization journey. Using this knowledge, I am creating a comprehensive resource guide to help support and assist med-tech innovators working with MedHealth.
With so many resources out there in the world, it can oftentimes be overwhelming and time-consuming to comb through and find the right opportunities to pursue. In efforts to continue growing the economic ecosystem in Detroit, MedHealth aims to help small businesses and startups thrive by providing them with resources catered specifically to their needs. My project will be able to help connect entrepreneurs in the med-tech field to organizations and resources that can best assist them. One thing I have learned and observed during my time with MedHealth thus far is the importance of partnerships and collaborations in making significant impacts.
As noted by the chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase &Co., who made a $100 million investment in Detroit’s economic recovery back in 2014, the city needs more than just an investment. Instead, the city also needs “partners who could provide expertise in human resources, technology, finance, and running a business better”. The fruits of various collaborations with various businesses, nonprofits, and community groups are immeasurable. I see this through TechTowns various collaborations, including its most recent partnership with Hatch Detroit, which gives residents and aspiring entrepreneurs an opportunity to have a voice in neighborhood development. My project would be able to help provide entrepreneurs in the med-tech field with these vital partnerships and collaborations. The resource guide would provide an organized way for various med-tech innovators to find the connections and opportunities that best fit their needs.
In order to keep these resources updated so that MedHealth can continue to be well informed of changing offerings, the final part of my project consists of designing a methodology for staying current on these resources. I am excited to continue reading into and connecting with various healthcare stakeholders to learn more about the existing resources available in the region of Southeast Michigan and Southwest Ontario. I hope that through my work and my project, I will be able to contribute to the continuously growing economic and healthcare ecosystem.