Hatch Detroit: Powered by the People

Wayne State’s economic impact extends beyond our academic mission. In partnership with TechTown Detroit, a business incubator and accelerator closely aligned with WSU, we strive to prepare and connect our students to good, household-supporting jobs through purchasing, research enterprise and entrepreneurship programs – like Hatch Detroit by TechTown. 

About Hatch Detroit 

Hatch Detroit was founded in 2011 to give residents and aspiring entrepreneurs an opportunity to have a voice in neighborhood retail development. In 2022, Hatch joined TechTown Detroit’s suite of entrepreneurial programs and services, providing a sustainable future for the program. 

Anchored by the annual, popular Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest, Hatch awards one entrepreneur with $100,000 and a package of in-kind services to open their brick-and-mortar business in Detroit, Hamtramck or Highland Park. Hatch also provides continued technical assistance and coaching for contestants through TechTown’s entrepreneurial education and small business services programming. 

Community Impact  

Independent small businesses create the character and personality of a city’s neighborhoods. They are also drivers of the local economy. For over a decade, Hatch Detroit has supported the launch of 50 beloved brick-and-mortar storefronts across the city, resulting in job creation and significantly contributing to economic growth.  

Hatch alumni have invested over $13M into storefront retail businesses that serve their neighborhoods and employ over 500 people, most of whom are Detroit and Hamtramck residents.

The Top 10 semifinalists of the 2022 Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest by TechTown
The 10 semifinalists of the 2022 Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest by TechTown gather at last year's Top 10 Reveal

From elevator pitch to execution  

This year, Hatch Detroit by TechTown will continue to elevate local entrepreneurship with its Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest. The 2023 Contest season kicked off in January, and over 150 entrepreneurs submitted their businesses to compete. As the TechTown and Hatch team narrows down the top applicants, the community is invited to participate and support the entrepreneurs at two key Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest events: the Top 10 Reveal on April 4 and the Hatch Off on April 26.  

“This is the chance for our community to get a glimpse at what the future of the city’s small business landscape could look like,” said Christianne Malone, assistant vice president for economic development at Wayne State University and chief program officer of TechTown Detroit. “We’ve reimagined the Top 10 Reveal event and are excited to showcase these incredible entrepreneurs, then let the community decide which business they want to see open in Detroit, Hamtramck or Highland Park.” 

The Contest will also include two rounds of public voting – Top 10 and Top 4 – allowing the community to vote for their favorite business to be crowned the winner. 

Top 10 Reveal 

The Top 10 Reveal is on April 4 from 5-8 p.m. at TechTown Detroit. Attendees will get to know the 10 semifinalists via a fireside chat from 5-5:45 p.m. followed by an open house from 6-8 p.m. where they can mix and mingle with the entrepreneurs. The event will feature a cash bar with complimentary small bites provided by Hatch alumni businesses. Tickets are free will a suggested donation to support the next generation of Detroit retailers.  

Hatch Off 

The Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest Hatch Off is on April 26 from 6-9 p.m. at the Wayne State Industry Innovation Center. The final four contestants will have a chance to make one last pitch, “Shark Tank-style,” in front of a panel of judges and attendees. The evening will culminate with one entrepreneur being crowned the winner and awarded $100,000, courtesy of Comerica Bank, to open the brick-and-mortar storefront of their dreams. 

To purchase tickets for the Top 10 Reveal and Hatch Off, or to learn more about Hatch Detroit, visit hatchdetroit.com

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