In our interview, this founder credited TechTown for helping them land a career in tech. Back when they first heard of TechTown, they only had an idea for a tech business in their mind. Going from the idea stage to traction was very intimidating because everyone else in the industry seemed very techy while this founder only had a background in retail. They told me that if people could be divided between the “techies” and the “fuzzies,” they would definitely be a fuzzy, or more soft-skilled oriented. But after they joined TechTown’s Start Studio program, they were inspired by other small business owners who took risks even if they were not confident. So, this founder decided to be courageous and pursue a business in tech, and TechTown had been pivotal to all the milestones of their journey from idea on their phone to an actual business. Through this experience, they became more curious and confident about their own tech abilities, and now, they lead a whole nonprofit, helping others get jobs and careers in tech just like TechTown helped them.
When I asked this founder what success or growth in a small business meant to them, rather than saying more traditional metrics of success like revenue and customer satisfaction, they said community impact. Giving back to their community and creating social impact was more important to them than profitability. Their answer really resonated with me and made me proud to be working with TechTown this summer, helping empower Detroiters to solve the issues they see in their own communities.