(DETROIT – Oct. 2, 2013) On Monday, TechTown Detroit was awarded an $800,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Community Economic Development to support SWOT City Detroit over the next three years. This project will expand TechTown’s SWOT City program into three new neighborhoods – the East Jefferson Corridor, Grandmont Rosedale and Osborn.
The commitment of a three-year grant shows the federal government’s commitment to Detroit and gives the SWOT City team the resources necessary to execute full scale SWOT engagements in each of the three neighborhoods beginning with the development of an integrated stabilization and growth strategy designed in partnership with neighborhood partners and community members followed by execution against the plan over the following three years.
This grant was announced following the visit of White House officials to Detroit the previous Friday, when administration officials discussed how the federal government will remain an active partner in Detroit’s revitalization in pursuit of “one Detroit” catalyzed by a commitment to blight removal, transportation infrastructure and improved public safety and further advanced by the stabilization and expansion of Detroit neighborhoods.
SWOT City Detroit is an essential element of a movement toward “one Detroit,” as it represents a critical effort to stabilize and enhance the Detroit neighborhoods that are often disconnected from redevelopment efforts in the Midtown and downtown districts of the city. Because the SWOT City program delivers TechTown acceleration services to underserved neighborhoods through partnerships with community and economic development organizations, the team becomes ingrained in the community in which it works.
“We have a deep legacy with place-based programs, and our SWOT City program was developed by answering the question, ‘What about everybody else?’” said TechTown President and CEO Leslie Smith. “There’s a lot of economic development activity happening in Midtown and downtown, and we want to bring that energy, expertise and resource set to the neighborhoods in order to see a fully revitalized Detroit. This grant allows us to expand our program into three new full-scale engagements, and we are delighted.”
SWOT City Detroit will provide business assistance, entrepreneurial services and training to businesses, residents and other stakeholders in these Detroit neighborhoods through a three-pronged expansion – it will begin by assessing the community and its businesses, move to assistance and end with sustainable practices. The program goals are to create at least 40 new positions each of which will match the skills and geographic location of low-income residents of the neighborhoods and, additionally, to retain at least 530 jobs and create a minimum of 10 new businesses.
Over the duration of the grant, the SWOT team will encourage entrepreneurship in low-income neighborhoods, ensure the positive changes made by SWOT City Detroit are sustained beyond the time period and raise awareness of the opportunities present in targeted areas for the creation and expansion of businesses. These objectives will unlock economic potential and entrepreneurial ingenuity in areas of the city that have, until now, been underserved.
TechTown is the most established business incubator and accelerator in Detroit – founded specifically to develop and grow sustainable, technology-based businesses. Today its work supports industry verticals that are specific to the region’s inherent assets and address the city’s identified needs, supporting not only tech-based businesses but also retail and neighborhood enterprises for a more holistic approach to economic development. TechTown is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and is located within the Woodward Technology Corridor SmartZone. To learn more about TechTown, visit techtowndetroit.org.
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