TechTown Detroit’s “Toast of the Town” returns in person with block party fundraiser Oct. 6

Toast of the Town promo graphic

Salute Awards ceremony set to honor Chanell Scott Contreras, Maribel Martinez, M. Kay Willingham and Keith Young, Sr.

Sept. 27, 2022

TechTown Detroit today announced that its annual fundraiser Toast of the Town will return in-person Oct. 6 with a ticketed block party from 5:30 – 9 p.m., showcasing Detroit’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Prior to the party, which will shut down Burroughs Street from Cass Avenue to 2nd Avenue, TechTown will livestream the 7th annual Salute Awards to a virtual audience from 4 – 5 p.m.

Toast of the Town will allow guests to experience the best of Detroit’s rising innovators and entrepreneurs with immersive experiences, tech startup demos, displays from the trendiest independent retailers, and tastings from food entrepreneurs spanning TechTown’s outdoor and indoor spaces. Tickets start at $20, and the Salute Awards ceremony livestream is free. Registration for both events can be found at

“We’ve waited three years to safely celebrate the amazing entrepreneurial community in Detroit in person, and we are going to throw a fundraising event for the record books,” said Ned Staebler, vice president for economic development at Wayne State University and president and CEO of TechTown Detroit. “Come ready to eat, shop and experience a diverse collection of TechTown’s clients and alumni while supporting an organization that is working every day to build bridges for a vibrant Detroit.”


Hosted by Orlando Bailey of BridgeDetroit, TechTown’s Salute Awards ceremony will be livestreamed from Wayne State University’s Industry Innovation Center to a virtual audience on Oct. 6 from 4 – 5 p.m. The broadcast will be conducted in English with simultaneous interpretation in Spanish.

Three 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. Renamed in 2020 in honor of the Detroit community leader, entrepreneur and business strategist who died from COVID-19, the Marlowe Stoudamire Small Business Award is presented to an individual or organization that exemplifies Stoudamire’s legacy of building community to create opportunity for all Detroiters.

Once again, TechTown will give the community an opportunity to have their voices heard with the 2022 People’s Choice Award. Voting will take place online at from Sept. 29 – Oct. 6, and the winner will be announced live during the Salute Awards ceremony. This year, six TechTown community members are nominated to be honored as the fan favorite.

People’s Choice Award nominees include:

  • Candice Fortman – Executive Director of Outlier Media
  • Marlin Hughes – Chef/Owner of Detroit Pepper Co.
  • Jordan Morgan and KT Maviglia-Morgan – Cofounders, CEO and COO of On Arrival
  • Darren Riley – Co-Founder and CEO of JustAir
  • Alyssa Space – Founder and CEO of ForHerCosmetics
  • Ken Walker – Head Designer and Founder of K. Walker Collective

More information about 2022 Salute Award winners and People’s Choice nominees can be found at Registration for the Salute Awards is free, and donations are kindly requested to help further the work that TechTown does to create an equitable economy.


For the first time since 2019, TechTown will host an in-person fundraiser after the Salute Awards ceremony concludes. The highlight of Toast of the Town will be two dozen innovators and entrepreneurs providing immersive experiences and technology demonstrations, as well as food and shopping.

Tickets range from $20 to a $100 “pay-it-forward” ticket. The $100 “pay-it-forward” ticket provides admission, food and drink tickets, and also covers the cost of a budding entrepreneur to attend Toast of the Town.

Entrepreneurs providing food, shopping and experiences at Toast of the Town include:


  • Authentic Jamaica
  • Breadless
  • Crepe City
  • Estella’s Vegan Cuisine & Desserts
  • La Jalisciense Supermercado y Taqueria
  • Little Liberia
  • SnoBiz Detroit
  • The Detroit Pepper Company


  • 27th Letter Books
  • Crummy’s Cake Supply & Studio
  • Detroit Protein Bar
  • ForHerCosmetics
  • Inkcourage
  • Love Travels Imports
  • Natural Living by Design
  • Motor City Popcorn


  • Alerje
  • Black Bottom Archives
  • Chamber Music Detroit
  • Ecotek Lab
  • Eye Care for Detroit
  • On Arrival
  • Transportation Riders United
  • Urban Docz

Tickets and additional details about participating entrepreneurs and organizations are available at

Toast of the Town is presented by Venture 313 with support from Accenture, Comcast Business, DTE Energy Foundation, EY, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, Henry Ford Health System, Invest Detroit, JPMorgan Chase and Co., Wayne State University and WDET.