Since its formation TechTown Detroit, the organization I have worked for this summer, has powered several smaller initiatives to help pursue a revitalization of Detroit. One of the organization's initiatives is Hatch Detroit. Hatch Detroit was founded in 2011 to give residents and aspiring entrepreneurs an opportunity to have a voice in neighborhood retail development and joined TechTown Detroit’s suite of entrepreneurial programs and services in 2022. The partnership with TTD has provided the nonprofit an opportunity to support small businesses in and around Detroit, all the while giving it a long and hopeful future.
Every year since 2011, Hatch holds a contest where entrepreneurs present their startups to win awards, cash grants, and other technical services. The Contest is an opportunity for one savvy entrepreneur to win a cash grant & package of in-kind services to open their brick and mortar retail business in Detroit, Highland Park, or Hamtramck. The contest is the biggest part of the nonprofit and works on the idea of something the organization calls “Crowd Entrepreneurship.” Once entrepreneurs submit their applications to the program, the top ten pitches are presented to the people of Detroit. Then once votes are submitted the top five pitches are presented once again for the community to vote on a winner.
Over 49 Hatch alumni businesses have opened retailers across the Detroit Metropolitan area, crediting the contest as a major accelerator in their launch. Hatch Detroit alumni have also employed hundreds of local Detroiters since 2011. This is why I have found so much interest with the organization. Not only is the organization opening new retailers within the city of Detroit, but it is also providing opportunities for locals to work in these stores. As a child I have seen the ins and outs of the retail business from my family and thus the combination of retail and nonprofit is unlike anything I have ever seen before. Hatch Detroit is doing exceptional work for Detroit and I hope TechTown continues to partner the organization for years to come.