2022 Salute Award Winners

Get ready to raise a glass for TechTown Detroit’s 2022 Salute Award winners! Three outstanding, local entrepreneurs are set to receive TechTown’s highest honor for their embodiment of the entrepreneurial spirit and leveraging the many resources found at TechTown and across Detroit’s small business community: Maribel Martinez, owner of Mangonadas del Barrio, M. Kay Willingham, owner of Art in Motion, and Keith Young Sr., founder of Ecotek Lab. Chanell Scott Contreras, executive director of ProsperUs Detroit, will receive the Marlowe Stoudamire Small Business Champion Award for exemplifying Stoudamire’s legacy of building community to create opportunities for all Detroiters.



From Sept. 29 – Oct. 6, the community will get a chance to vote for the 2022 People’s Choice Award. This year, six TechTown community members are nominated to be honored as the fan favorite.

Chanell Scott Contreras


Chanell Scott Contreras

Executive Director, ProsperUs Detroit

ProsperUs Detroit supports entrepreneurs with opportunities and capital needed to build businesses, generational wealth and vibrant neighborhoods. Incubated within Southwest Economic Solutions, Chanell Scott Contreras guided ProsperUs through the rigorous process of becoming an independent certified Community Financial Development Institution. She and her team knew this move would bring critical resources to Detroit’s talented residents. From five to 11 employees and a fivefold increase in the number of loans made, Chanell and her team are growing their support for Detroit’s entrepreneurs daily.  

Maribel Martinez


Maribel Martinez

Owner, Mangonadas del Barrio

Mangonadas del Barrio is a family-owned business that the Hernandez Martinez family started with a box of mangos. It has since grown to two locations specializing in the mouthwatering dessert known as a mangonada! As a TechTown client and alum, Maribel has taken advantage of every opportunity she’s been provided to grow and improve her business. From accounting and marketing support to implementing COVID-19 safety measures and installing a beautiful new mural at her storefront, Maribel made a great business even better. Maribel has also been an outspoken advocate for her Southwest Detroit small business peers so that they can receive the customized business support that she did.

M. Kay Willingham, owner, Art in Motion


M. Kay Willingham

Owner, Art in Motion

Kay Willingham followed her passion for ceramics to launch Art in Motion, a ceramics gallery and studio on Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion. Since her initial coaching engagement in 2015, Kay has remained active in the TechTown alumni community. She regularly shares her knowledge with peers at the alumni Break Room and has even sublet space to a fellow alum. In 2020, she received a Stabilization Fund grant and re-enrolled in one-on-one coaching to navigate a location change to refocus her business on ceramics. Now in 2022, she has settled in her new location and revenues have nearly doubled! 

Keith Young, Sr, founder, Ecotek Lab


Keith Young, Sr.

Founder, Ecotek Lab 

Inspired to provide his children with the skills to compete in the global economy, Keith Young founded the nonprofit Ecotek Lab to bring the spirit of entrepreneurship to STEM education. Keith harnessed the low-cost lab space and culture of innovation at TechTown Detroit to help his student scientists launch 15 startups since 2005. With additional locations in Orlando, Baltimore, and sites in Miami Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston on the way. Ecotek’s venture-based model for STEM education has helped 3,000 student scientists access an average of $150,000 in college scholarships! 

Vote for People's Choice Award

Now, it’s your turn to weigh in on the Salute Awards! Vote from Sept. 29 – Oct. 6 for your favorite TechTown community member to receive the 2022 People’s Choice Award.

2022 People's Choice Award Nominees

Candice Fortman

Executive Director, Outlier Media

Candice has led the incredible evolution of Outlier Media, a Detroit-based service journalism organization and TechTown building tenant. After our community faced a “crisis of information” in 2020, Outlier has evolved to identify, report and deliver valuable information to empower residents to hold landlords, municipal government and elected officials accountable for longstanding problems. In the process, she developed an innovative model for the journalism industry. 

Marlin Hughes

Chef/Owner, Detroit Pepper Co.

Marlin always wanted to create a restaurant where he could work alongside his son, who has nonverbal autism, without worrying about the kinds of food he might eat. He utilized support from TechTown’s SWOT City (now called 313 STRONG) and Detroit’s small business community to do exactly that. Detroit Pepper Co. specializes in vegan-friendly stuffed peppers and opened in 2019 in East English Village.  

Jordan Morgan and KT Maviglia-Morgan

Cofounders, CEO and COO, On Arrival

Jordan, a professional athlete and engineer, and KT, a pageant queen turned entrepreneur, founded On Arrival to share their love of travel with others. Start Studio helped them validate their idea and refine their value proposition. Now, they’re piloting how to scale delivery of personalized travel guides in partnership with boutique hotels across the country with support from the TechTown Startup Fund. 

Darren Riley

Cofounder and CEO, JustAir

Darren Riley launched JustAir to help establish a world where no matter what neighborhood someone is born in, they have access to breathing clean air. Detroit Urban Solutions helped him organize a civic studio with community stakeholders that led to growth and a model for community workshops. Darren is also a founder of Commune Angels, which launched in 2020 to expand access to angel investing and capital because diversity is essential to transformative innovation. 

Alyssa Space

Founder and CEO,  ForHerCosmetics

Alyssa founded ForHerCosmetics to create more inclusive beauty products for women of color while educating the next generation of scientists. ForHerCosmetics is a STEM-based natural, vegan and cruelty-free cosmetic line. Alyssa has leveraged the diversity of TechTown programs, including Retail Boot Camp, The SHOP and Traction, and remains an active alum as her business continues to grow. 

Ken Walker

Head Designer and Founder, K. Walker Collective

Ken is a passionate designer and entrepreneur who has steadily built his Detroit-based clothing brand of street comfort and refined looks. He has been diligently searching for the right location for his flagship store, implementing lessons learned from his 2020 Retail Boot Camp cohort. This year he designed a custom uniform for the Detroit Pistons’ G League affiliate the Motor City Cruise for Black History Month. Be sure to visit K. Walker Collective at 4161 Cass when they open in early 2023. 

Presented by:

Venture 313 logo

With support from:

Accenture logo
Bank of Ann Arbor Logo
Detroit Future City

Jill Ford

Creators of HoneyCure

Renaissance Venture Capital
First independence bank