NEI funds new round of TechTown stabilization grants with broader reach


Date: April 8, 2020

NEI funds new round of TechTown stabilization grants with broader reach

DETROIT, Mich. — With support from the New Economy Initiative (NEI), TechTown will open a new fund to further support small businesses facing challenges as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

The TechTown Stabilization Fund – which evolved out of the earlier Detroit Small Business Stabilization Fund – aims to support the businesses most often left out of major city, state and federal relief efforts. It adds makers, service-based businesses, home-based businesses, freelancers and creative industries to the list of eligible business types and expands the footprint to include applicants from Hamtramck and Highland Park, in addition to Detroit.

NEI donated $500,000 to the fund to be disbursed by TechTown in the form of grants for qualifying small businesses and entrepreneurs, with additional support for technical assistance programs already provided by TechTown. Bank of America contributed an additional $75,000 to the grant fund and is also supporting continued technical assistance, which is critical to long-term success for small businesses.

“The first fund we deployed proved not only the need for this kind of support but also the willingness of funders to fortify our local small business community in the midst of crisis,” said TechTown CEO Ned Staebler. “Through this fund, NEI’s generosity and continued commitment to empowering neighborhoods will benefit hundreds of local businesses almost immediately.”

“This will give our smallest of small businesses an opportunity to access dollars to assist them in this challenging time,” said NEI Director Pamela Lewis. “This fund is the perfect resource for businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park that are outside of the requirements of state dollars.”

Applications will be available at beginning at 9 a.m. on April 14. The application process will close April 17 at noon. TechTown will notify awardees via email before April 30.

In preparation to apply, business owners are encouraged to collect documents to verify eligibility, such as their 2018 or 2019 tax return; mortgage note or lease; utility bills; and receipts. Michigan business entity identification number and employer identification number (EIN) will be required.

Eligibility criteria for applicants:

  • The business owner’s household income must be low- or moderate-income (≤80% of the Area Median Income). Business owners must provide proof of household income based on their 2018 or 2019 tax returns.
  • Business owners will need to provide their Social Security Number (SSN) OR Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
  • Businesses mustbe for-profit. Nonprofit organizations are not eligible.
  • The business must have 10 employees/contractors or less.
  • The business must have a business address in the city of Detroit, the city of Hamtramck, or the city of Highland Park.
  • The business must have experienced a loss of income due to COVID-19.
  • Grants may be used to cover the day-to-day operating expenses of the business, such as rent, payroll, utility bills or losses due to destabilizing events.

Business owners who were previously awarded a grant from either the Detroit Small Business Stabilization Fund (administered by TechTown) or the Detroit Small Business Relief Fund Grant for the City of Detroit and Wayne County (administered by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation) are not eligible to apply.

The Detroit Small Business Stabilization Fund was created and administered by TechTown in March and supported 350 small businesses in total. It was fueled by lead donors Quicken Loans Community Fund and Desai Sethi Family Foundation and a number of supporting donors – DTE Energy Foundation, Google, Invest Detroit, JPMorgan Chase, and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation – along with 113 individual donors. That fund is now closed.


About TechTown Detroit

TechTown empowers Detroit-based startups and local businesses to start, stabilize and scale by providing resources, collaborative workspace and education for entrepreneurs that will further accelerate inclusive economic development across Detroit. Since 2007, TechTown has supported 2,700 companies, which created more than 1,600 jobs and raised more than $160 million in startup and growth capital. For more information, visit

About NEI

The New Economy Initiative (NEI) is a philanthropic collaboration that is building an inclusive network of support for entrepreneurs in Detroit and southeast Michigan. Since 2007, NEI’s funders have contributed a total of $159 million to the effort, which is housed within the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. Over the past decade, NEI has increased the capacity of organizations and created programs that help local entrepreneurs get access to the people, services, capital and other resources they need to start and grow businesses. NEI has provided more than $120 million in grants to local organizations supporting entrepreneurs, and the more than 14,000 companies supported by NEI grantees have created or sustained more than 35,000 jobs. For more information, visit