TechTown Detroit’s ‘Toast of the Town’ Goes Virtual, Recognizes Memory of Marlowe Stoudamire with Award


Jennifer L. Foster / 586-212-3122

Joseph Howse / 248-431-6716



Sept. 18, 2020         



Virtual benefit celebrating Detroit’s entrepreneurial spirit will be FREE to view on Oct. 1;

Mature, Detroit Maid, Pamela Lewis honored, among others


DETROIT – Since its launch six years ago, TechTown Detroit’s Toast of the Town, the organization’s annual benefit and award ceremony, has been a veritable “Who’s Who” of Detroit’s business and entrepreneurial community, consistently drawing hundreds of people in attendance and selling out of tickets each year.

This year, due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, TechTown today announced it will host its annual Toast of the Town from 4-5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, as a virtual celebration of Detroit’s entrepreneurial spirit. Online guests will watch TechTown President and CEO Ned Staebler share his powerful vision for how everyone can come together to rebuild our economy in a way that is inclusive and equitable, while celebrating the spirit of the small business owner. The program will stream on the nonprofit’s website at

“Our entrepreneurial community is hard at work, and we are not going to let COVID-19 stop that community from achieving its dreams or goals,” said Staebler. “This is why events like these are so important – to acknowledge the achievements and accomplishments of our small business champions and to continue to encourage and empower entrepreneurs during these difficult and uncertain times. They haven’t given up, and neither will we.”


This year’s Salute Awards for TechTown clients will be presented to Mature and Detroit Maid, two Detroit-based small businesses. These local standout companies are being recognized for embodying the spirit of entrepreneurship and leveraging the many resources found at TechTown and in Detroit’s small business community.

Mature was founded by brothers Darryl and DeKoven Humes, who focus their work on gaining the trust of style-conscious consumers through a simple model of positivity, style and attractive character. A 2017 Retail Boot Camp graduate, Mature tested the market, and with the support of TechTown, found the right location in the historic Fisher Building in Detroit’s New Center. There, Mature offers a collection of products from hand-selected brands, which embrace individuality, authenticity and timeless attire. To learn more, visit

Founded by Detroiter Danielle Smith Parker in 2013, Detroit Maid is a residential and commercial cleaning service for busy people. Smith enrolled in TechTown’s Start Studio to learn how to transform a traditional company into a tech company. This flexibility has helped Detroit Maid grow to include green cleaning, commercial cleaning and more, all in the midst of a global pandemic. It currently provides service in 82 cities in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio. Visit Detroit Maid online at


Pamela Lewis, director of the New Economy Initiative (NEI) will become the first recipient of the Marlowe Stoudamire Small Business Champion Award. The award will be renamed at Toast of the Town in honor of the Detroit community leader, entrepreneur and business strategist who died earlier this year from COVID-19. The Marlowe Stoudamire Small Business Champion Award will be presented annually to an individual or organization that exemplifies Stoudamire’s entrepreneurial spirit and legacy of building community to create opportunity for all Detroiters.

Under Lewis’ leadership, NEI has become a leading advocate for entrepreneurial support organizations and inclusive entrepreneurship both locally and nationally. An engineer by training, Lewis has more than 20 years of experience in process improvement and program management. When COVID-19 forced doors to close, Lewis’ leadership in marshalling resources helped save countless businesses by providing rent relief, loan relief and grants, all distributed by TechTown and other organizations to thousands of small businesses.

During the hour-long event, TechTown will also feature the efforts of their Professional Services Network (PSN) and Detroit Means Business. The PSN is a group of service providers who have stepped up to provide countless hours of low-cost professional technical assistance to Detroit’s business community. Detroit Means Business has provided Detroit’s small businesses access to essential tools to prepare them to operate safely and successfully. The initiative offers a range of financial, technical and safety resources at

Registration is required, but there is no cost to attend the virtual Toast of the Town. Donations of any amount will be immediately put to work helping TechTown continue its work of providing resources, collaborative workspace and education to Detroit-area entrepreneurs to further accelerate inclusive economic development across the city.  Individuals who donate will be invited to join the Donor Wall for All, a crowd-sourced photo mosaic at TechTown. Register at

“Our mission to support small business owners and entrepreneurs has never been more important, as nearly one in three small businesses currently are not operating,” added Staebler. “There is no more ‘back to normal.’ We’ve got work to do!”

Toast of the Town is supported by Accenture, Comcast, DTE Energy Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, New Economy Initiative, Quicken Loans Community Fund and Walker-Miller Energy Services.