Art In Motion

Art in Motion is a ceramic studio and gallery located on Detroit’s famous Avenue of Fashion. After participating in Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s REVOLVE Detroit program, which matched businesses with empty storefronts, owner Marlynne Kay Willingham became one of TechTown’s first SWOT City clients, where she gained the resources needed to further grow and sustain…

Learning to Pivot: DTX Launch Grads EnBiologics

EnBiologics is the perfect example of a pivot. The three Wayne State University biomedical engineering graduate students who make up the team– Gregory Apers, Sean Carrol and Ramy Habib–began exploring their idea for a medical hydrogel for human burn treatment last summer in the DTX Launch Detroit student accelerator. After developing their business model, conducting customer discovery and defining their value proposition, they recognized that the road to FDA approval—and thus to profit– was very long. Less so, though, for a veterinary product. So now, the trio is refining HoneyCure—the first scientifically proven, honey-based, all-natural veterinary wound care product. As winners of the On the Mark award at the DTX Launch 2015 showcase, EnBiologics was awarded a spot in the TechTown Business Incubator, where they continue to move HoneyCure forward.They are focusing on the equine market to start, as further customer discovery has revealed this market holds the most initial promise.

Who founded EnBiologics and why?

Ramy: Sean and I had a part in it. A year ago we did a medical class for engineers and as part of it, Sean would do observations for surgeries. One of the observations was at a hospital where there was a burn patient.

Sean: We had to do dressing changes in the ICU, and it was archaic to say the least as to how they were doing the dressing changes. Most of those dressing changes were based on 1950s technology.

What led you from this to veterinary care?

Ramy: The human track to approval is painful. We have to go through a lot of clinical trials, FDA approvals, we have to file a lot of applications, and doing that with federal bureaucracy can take almost four years.

Sean: It can take seven years at its most painful.

Ramy: And as a small company, we won’t be able to withstand it with no revenue coming in. And we’re fresh out of college so we have debt.

Sean: It costs a couple million dollars to do, and we don’t have that kind of money lying around.

Gregory: Also, with the veterinary track, there aren’t nearly as many regulations. While you still have to communicate with the FDA, it’s less about getting approved and more about acknowledging that we exist.

Where do you plan on taking this venture?

Sean: We have been going to events in the local area to market the product and build a following. We’re building research data behind our product and are actively making a brand for ourselves. HoneyCure will be the first natural brand backed by scientific research and made available on a large scale. As we get research and sales results back, it will help us move forward in the veterinary markets and plan for how we expand further and whether we expand back into the human markets.

Applications for the DTX Launch Detroit 2017 student accelerator are open through April 7. Read more about the program here

Gary Wozniak: RecoveryPark Farms

Gary Wozniak founded RecoveryPark Farms (RPF) in 2013 to grow specialty produce on vacant Detroit land. Gary was raised in a farming community, and during his early 20s he struggled with drug abuse and ultimately served time in prison. In 1987 he became clean and sober and graduated from Self-Help Addiction Rehabilitation (SHAR) Inc., a…

Ronnie Golightly: Motor City Popcorn

Why did you choose popcorn? I was looking to open a soul food restaurant, and as I was prepping to do that, I went to Chicago for another business, and that’s when I came across Garrett’s Popcorn. So I look at the line for Garrett’s, and it’s wrapped around the building. My friend and I…

Abess Makki: CITYINSIGHT

In the summer of 2014, the City of Detroit’s Water and Sewerage Department faced widespread scrutiny after shutting off water to more than 20,000 residential customers unable to pay their water bills. Abess Makki wanted to help the City counter the negative attention while providing residents with tools to better manage water usage and costs.…

Answering the Call – Aisha Warren of Posh Fashions

Aisha Warren believes fashion is her calling. Her business is Posh Fashions, a women’s boutique on East Jefferson. A TechTown SWOT City client, Aisha celebrated the grand opening of Posh Fashions on May 6. Aisha began her career with the national chain Dots, serving as a store manager for over 21 years and learning about…

Jason Wolfe-Greer: CarePRN, LLC

Like many entrepreneurs, Jason Wolfe-Greer’s startup idea stemmed from personal experience.Training to be an RN while caring for his fiancee’s grandfather in hospice, Wolfe-Greer recognized that stressed and overworked family caregivers need a break. So he developed Care PRN, an app that matches caregivers with qualified respite providers. Greer’s journey with CarePRN is a true…

Following Your Passion: Detroit Fiber Works

Mandisa Smith of Detroit Fiber Works is a Detroit native artist whose vision has brought an incredible corps of local artists together under one roof. DFW hosts classes, exhibitions, and events on top of being a working studio and boutique within the University District on Livernois. We chatted with Smith about her involvement with SWOTCity…

A crazy, perfect idea

by Ned Staebler It’s been a busy two months since I became CEO of TechTown, succeeding the indomitable Leslie Lynn Smith. And in this time, there is one refrain I have heard more than any other: “Are you crazy?” Not because this isn’t a great gig, mind you. But because it is a demanding position,…

Hacking Health in the Name of International Collaboration

By Joanna Dueweke Day One Immediately as the event began on Friday afternoon, TechTown was filled with the hum of excited developers, designers, healthcare professionals, business-minds, and volunteers. They were all gathered in this place, together, because they are believers in making a difference in human lives. Hacking Health is a Canadian-born event that brings…

TechTown Detroit goes to Tunisia

Last month, Paul Riser represented TechTown in a Detroit Delegation for the Tunisia Investment and Entrepreneurship Conference in Tunis, Tunisia. As one might imagine, he’s been hearing a lot of the same questions since his return, so we thought we’d organize his thoughts into a overview of the trip coupled with a brief interlude on what…

No victory without inclusion

Thriving economies will carry innovation from city cores to neighborhoods  By Leslie Lynn Smith, president and CEO, TechTown Detroit   Albert Einstein described insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” It’s my general observation that those of us engaged in urban economic development strategies suffer bouts of insanity…

Michigan Celebrates Small Business on May 6

Michigan Celebrates Small Business (MCSB) is an annual awards program created by six founding organizations to recognize the importance of successful small businesses across the state of Michigan MCSB honors those businesses, whether second stage or recently launched, and their supporters who greatly contribute to the overall growth of Michigan’s economy. On Tuesday, May 6,…

Failure: Learning from your “uh, oh” moments

Failure is generally defined as a lack of success. I prefer Seth Godin’s refined view of failure as a learning event. By discussing our personal and professional failures as events of reflection, enhanced understanding and opportunities to pivot, we were able to expose our raw and most vulnerable selves. Exposed – not as victims – but as victors.

Meet Charlie Moret

Haven’t met Charlie Moret? He’s TechTown’s managing director of entrepreneurial programs, a veteran of the technology innovation and entrepreneurial space, and is opening his office door twice a month to discuss your business questions. Anything related to tech-based entrepreneurship is fair game.

Launch Detroit applications are now open!

Hey, college students and recent grads: Are you considering launching your own technology-based startup? Check out Launch Detroit – a highly competitive, 10-week boot camp designed to help you test out your entrepreneurial dreams this summer – complete with stipend and more!

Sometimes, breaking up is the best thing to do

Bear with me, this won’t be easy, but it is absolutely essential to scale, survival and success. Dig through that pile. One by one, decide if each relationship, task or event is worthy of your attention, acknowledging each time that it will distract you from the prerogatives you’ve just identified.

Year of change, growth paves the way for 2013

The TechTown team has been blessed with the opportunity to do amazing work in an extraordinary city. We have learned, adjusted, grown, contracted and expanded as needed to target our efforts. Through it all, we’ve remained committed to being an indispensible participant of an entrepreneurial ecosystem working tirelessly to catapult Detroit into a vibrant future filled with opportunity and promise.

  Congratulations to TechTown client Protean Payment on its $25,000 win at the 2012 Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition. The Ann Arbor-based startup snagged the product and service sector award for Echo, a reprogrammable card that can turn into any payment, loyalty or gift card of the user’s choosing with a touch of a button. Echo…

Talk of the TechTown

Detroit is home to the third highest concentration of design professionals in the U.S., attracts entrepreneurs by the minute and has one of the best platforms for turning ideas into companies. Curtis Johnson, president of the Citistates Group, tells Model D why TechTown is one of the catalysts for this growth.

TechTown to host Boston-born marketing hackathon for startups

TechTown today announced that the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange (MITX), an organization representing Boston’s digital marketing, media and Internet technology community, has selected the Detroit-based nonprofit incubator and accelerator to host the first MITX Up Detroit, an event that will pair TechTown startups with veteran marketers for a free two-hour mentoring session on Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Techonomy Detroit: Is Detroit the Next Berlin?

On Wednesday, Sept. 12, innovators, executives, entrepreneurs, academics and thought leaders from technology, business, government and design will assemble at Wayne State University to discuss the far-reaching potential of technology-enabled change to accelerate economic, urban and social progress at Techonomy Detroit.

Startup SOUP: Pitches for cash stir up promise

Soup. Startups. Two seemingly disconnected ideas, right? Wrong. In Detroit, the most disparate concepts can come together to make magic, and this past Friday night they did exactly that. TechTown, in partnership with the committed folks from Detroit SOUP joined forces to highlight start-up entrepreneurs in the city and give them some critical seed funding.