FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: Sept. 26, 2019
Contact: Kimberly Palter
Phone: (313) 483-1326
Six local entrepreneurs receive nominations for TechTown On Tap and People’s Choice Award
Winning entrepreneurs will be announced live at the Toast of the Town Salute Awards Oct. 10
TechTown Detroit has named six Detroit-based businesses as nominees to receive TechTown On Tap Salute Awards at the Toast of the Town celebration of entrepreneurship Oct. 10. TechTown On Tap Awards are given to two TechTown clients, one tech company and one small business, who have reached significant milestones. The year’s TechTown On Tap nominees include COIF, EnBiologics, Fusion Flare Kitchen & Cocktails, Mongers’ Provisions, Sweet Potato Sensations and TOTAGO.
The TechTown On Tap Award winners will be announced live at the Salute Awards along with the inaugural People’s Choice Award winner. For the first time, Detroit’s entrepreneurial community will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite TechTown On Tap Award nominee to receive a People’s Choice Award. Voting will run from Sept. 26–Oct. 8 on TechTown’s Facebook page and website, techtowndetroit.org/peopleschoice, and individuals can vote once a day.
“All of our 2019 TechTown On Tap nominees exemplify how the resources and opportunities at TechTown can take a business to the next level,” said Ned Staebler, president and CEO of TechTown. “We’re excited to launch our first-ever People’s Choice Award vote to give our community an opportunity to weigh in on the exceptional businesses nominated this year.”
Suzanne Shank, chairwoman, CEO and co-founder of investment banking firm Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co., LLC, will be honored as TechTown’s Entrepreneur of the Year at the Salute Awards, and Invest Detroit will receive the Small Business Champion Award.
Toast of the Town takes place at TechTown Detroit with the sold-out award ceremony starting at 6 p.m. across the street at the Wayne State University Industry Innovation Center. The 2019 Toast of the Town celebration will feature a strolling dinner, signature cocktails, a silent auction and musical entertainment. Toast of the Town is presented by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation with additional support from Accenture, the DTE Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the New Economy Initiative.
Tickets to the celebration are still available at techtowndetroit.org/toast.
More on our nominees:
COIF is an on-demand, on-location styling service that brings the salon experience of hair styling and makeup directly to customers. With support from TechTown’s entrepreneurs-in-residence and incubation programs, founders Ulysses Wright, Julia Nicolaou and David London built their prototype, launched their services and are currently accelerating their growth. In 2019, COIF has been steadily growing its customer base and expanding the stylist and artist pool. After proving their business model is scalable, COIF founders are in talks with executives in the hospitality industry to open up new markets in the hotel and event space.
EnBiologics is dedicated to creating high-quality, innovative veterinary care products, applying the knowledge of chemical and biomedical engineering. Their flagship product, HoneyCure™, was specially formulated to create a one-of-a-kind, all-natural hydrogel wound treatment. Co-founders Ramy Habib and Sean Carroll are 2016 graduates of TechTown’s student-focused summer accelerator, DTX Launch Detroit, and are currently enrolled in TechTown’s tech-based services. In 2019, EnBiologics achieved significant growth and a $75,000 investment from Detroit Demo Day.
Fusion Flare Kitchen & Cocktails is the realization of owner-chef Mashelle Sykes’ dream of opening her own restaurant. Situated in the Joy-Southfield neighborhood, it is the first sit-down restaurant to open in the community in 20 years. Sykes has fully leveraged TechTown’s one-on-one business coaching program to bring to life her vision of a welcoming environment with excellent, fresh food and service for the neighborhood. Following her TechTown-supported grand opening in January 2019, Fusion Flare Kitchen & Cocktails’ weekly revenue more than tripled.
Mongers’ Provisions, founded in 2017 by cheese and chocolate lovers Zach Berg and Will Werner, specializes in cut-to-order cheese, craft chocolate and charcuterie. After graduating from Retail Boot Camp in 2017, Berg and Werner were laser-focused on leveraging TechTown’s resources to secure and debut their very own brick-and-mortar location at Noel Night in December 2018. Since then, they’ve hired Detroit residents, participated in culinary events throughout the region, curated the largest selection of bean-to-bar chocolate in the state and expanded their catering business significantly.
Sweet Potato Sensations is a family-owned business that started with a Thanksgiving table compromise more than 30 years ago. Now, their bakery café meets Detroit’s need for sweet potato pies, cookies and more. One of the first businesses served by TechTown’s neighborhood business support program in 2012, the Thomas Family (Cassandra, Jeff, and daughters Espy and Jennifer) returned to TechTown’s one-on-one coaching program in 2018. With the next generation taking the lead, Sweet Potato Sensations is planning for the future, increasing revenue and improving operations at this multigenerational Detroit institution.
TOTAGO (Turn Off The App – Go Outside) is a free transportation-focused web and mobile application for the outdoors. TOTAGO teams up with parks departments, outdoor-based businesses and government agencies to connect visitors with trip planning tools that utilize public transit, shuttles and other car-free transportation. Founder Adrian Laurenzi enrolled in TechTown’s incubation program in 2018 and has capitalized on TechTown’s support programs to refine his business-to-business revenue model.