TechTown Detroit’s annual fundraiser ‘Toast of the Town’ showcases partnership between TechTown and the Wayne State Office of Economic Development

TechTown Detroit hosted its annual premiere fundraising event “Toast of the Town” on Sept. 30, 2021 in front of a virtual audience of over 1,000 people. For the first time in the event’s history, the 6th Annual Salute Awards broadcast live from two locations — the Wayne State Industry Innovation Center and the Southwest Detroit Ford Resource and Engagement Center — with simultaneous interpretation in Spanish. 

The in-person and virtual crowds experienced an event like no other; TechTown President and CEO Ned Staebler laid out an ambitious vision for an equitable economic future; two Black-owned tech startups, Bar Drop LLC and Raxplay, were awarded inaugural Startup Fund grants of $10,000 each; Juan Carlos Dueweke-Pérez, Javier Evelyn and Raquel Ramirez de Lozano received Salute Awards for their embodiment of the entrepreneurial spirit; Urban Docz won the People’s Choice Award live vote; and Carla Walker-Miller, founder and CEO of Walker-Miller Energy Services, received the Marlowe Stoudamire Small Business Champion Award for exemplifying Stoudamire’s legacy of building community to create opportunity for all Detroiters.

In addition, Toast of the Town celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Wayne State Office of Economic Development (OED) and showcased how OED and TechTown work in close partnership to catalyze businesses in Midtown and across Detroit.

Wayne State President and TechTown Board Chair M. Roy Wilson premiered a video looking back at the 10 years since his predecessor, President Allan Gilmour, hired Staebler to run OED, animating President Irvin D. Reid’s vision of Wayne State as an economic engine. 

“As we celebrate this milestone anniversary, we acknowledge that Wayne State University benefits from its location in the great city of Detroit as much as the city benefits from the university’s presence,” Wilson said. “We also know that our work is more important than ever. TechTown and Wayne State are helping our community emerge from the economic challenges of today, and we are ready to embrace the economic opportunities of tomorrow.”

To watch a replay of Toast of the Town, visit To watch the Office of Economic Development’s video “10 Years of Excellence,” visit







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