After months of diligent work and preparation for the pitch competition, TechTown Detroit is pleased to share the winners of the Fall 2021 Start Studio Showcase.
As part of the Small Business Mural Project, two TechTown 313 STRONG (formerly SWOT City) clients, Taqueria Nuestra Familia and Mangonadas del Barrio each received new murals which are now available to view.
TechTown Detroit announced yesterday at Toast of the Town the two inaugural recipients of its Startup Fund, launched in April of 2021
Meet Dawn Batts, Capital Strategist at TechTown Detroit.
Five standouts each won a $5,000 Kickstart Award, and one People’s Choice Award was chosen during the live event to receive $1,000.
Atomic Object, a Michigan-based software development and design firm with offices in Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor and Chicago, today announced it has committed $5,000 to TechTown Detroit’s new Startup Fund designed to grow, support and encourage greater diversity in the technological sector. Donations to the fund currently are being accepted to specifically provide grants…
For Black History Month, TechTown is celebrating the accomplishments of founders who paved the way for Detroit’s entrepreneurial community, as well as those who are leading us into the future.
As we prepare to enter the peak of the holiday season, let’s take a breath to reflect on some amazing accomplishments of 2020 and spark a little joy to fuel the finish of the year.
We sat down with Lesa Walker, one of the collaborators of our Limited Edition Store, to learn more about her custom creation. Purchase your own TechTown Signature Chocolate and Snack Basket while supplies last, and view other custom collaborations with clients and alumni at The Limited Edition Store.
Here are a few tips to consider to maximize appointment times for both your customers and your day-to-day operations.
Having a strategic plan that considers everything from personal protective equipment (PPE) and enhanced visual merchandising, to incorporating new policies and safety measures for your staff and customers will make reopening your brick-and-mortar shop less stressful and allow a feeling of empowerment because…YOU GOT THIS!
Small businesses are among the hardest-hit by the COVID crisis. Some businesses have had to reduce hours, others to close doors completely, with no sure answer to how long this will last or what change will come next. Communicating with your customers and maximizing sales opportunities has never been more important.
In these unprecedented times there is no time like the present to utilize this free Facebook tool to connect to your followers and even gain new ones. When used consistently and effectively, it could be the missing link you needed to not only strengthen your service offerings but connect to your audience and let them know you are here and ready to serve them now and into the future.
In this ever-changing world of retail, to the business owner it seems every time you turn around there’s ‘one more thing’ to do or pay attention to. We get it. We know how many hats a small business owner wears and that’s why we at TechTown Detroit’s Retail Services try and lighten that load where and when we can.
Dr. Marlo Rencher shares her experience taking a Venture Finance University course. Find out what she means by “dilution” in this second out of a three part series.
Dr. Marlo Rencher shares her experience taking a Venture Finance University course. Find out what she means by “scale” in this second out of a three part series.
Dr. Marlo Rencher, #TechTown’s director of technology-based programs, brings you installment one of a three-part series from her experience taking the venture finance course at Venture University. Find out about Marlo’s “ah-ha moment” in this vlog.
AirRands is a communication platform that allows users to build their brands by taking the confusion out of app building. We talked with AirRands Founder Michael Holloway on how his company is changing the landscape for the new entrepreneur.
In this month’s blog, SWOT City Director, Amy Rencher writes about gratitude, the results of the Inner City Capital Connections and how we care for your data.
Gallagher Law provides a variety of legal services across Michigan for corporate and individual clients. Attorney, Sean Gallagher, explains how being a coworker member enables his company to be connected to the community it serves.
We all love progress, but no one enjoys seeing the orange barrels come out during Michigan’s road construction season. Additionally, it takes on a completely different meaning if they appear outside the front door of your small business. For business owners on Livernois, Grand River and Bagley, this has been their reality all summer. Diggers, cement trucks, backhoes and semi-trucks zoom up and down the road, park in front of their businesses and rip up their sidewalks, making it even more difficult than normal to execute a marketing strategy.
Tech entrepreneurship is a powerful force for addressing societal problems and opportunities. Dr. Marlo Rencher, TechTown’s director of technology-based programs, benchmarked some of the best practices for creating an inclusive tech entrepreneurship environment.
Raxplay is creating a new way for music listeners everywhere to experience music. Our TechTown staff had an opportunity to sit down with founder Isaac Lymon to discuss how they started and what they are doing to turn music albums into mixed reality experiences.
Meet Thanh Tran. He is the founder of the Accelerate4Kids Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing computer science education to children in grades K-8.
Detour Detroit brings community-focused journalism to the forefront for Detroit residents. With over 4,000 readers, Detour Detroit is dedicated to helping Detroiters understand their city and each other. Find out why they choose TechTown as their coworking home.
Good design is good business. One could also say, good business is good design. Every touchpoint a customer has with a business — from the visual display on a website and store fixture to the way phones are answered and customer service issues are resolved — should be designed to attract revenue and invite loyalty. One touchpoint that many businesses use to engage with customers are pop-up events.
Meet Brigid Beaubien, the founder of Urbanum, located in Detroit’s New Center area. Check out Brigid’s story and how TechTown’s Retail Boot Camp program helped Brigid take the leap to step out on her own.
Dawn Sanford always dreamt of opening her own salon. After a career spanning over 30 years, Dawn’s wish has finally come true with the grand opening of Shears & Shaves on Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion.
Shears & Shaves offers a full spectrum of luxury grooming and spa services for men and women, including haircuts and styling, coloring, beard and mustache shaves and trims, nail care, skincare, fusion massage and aromatherapy, as well as shoe shining.
Myles Morgan is the founder of Mind Blown Life Coaching, a company dedicated to empowering individuals by helping them identify and remove blocks to their happiness, performance and relationships. From DTX Launch Detroit graduate to coworking member, learn more about Myles’ journey at TechTown.
TechTown’s SWOT City team is a customized support program for brick-and-mortar small businesses in Detroit neighborhoods. As part of this support, SWOT City team members (Portfolio Managers) connect small businesses to a rich network of subject matter experts in support of their coaching efforts. This group of professionals cares about strengthening Detroit through a unique approach to commercial corridor revitalization, job creation and economic development.There are many important aspects to running a small business. In today’s competitive omnichannel sales environment, a website that connects you to customers, represents your brand, provides sales opportunities and enhances your online presence is vital.On July 3, TechTown partnered again with Rebrand Cities, a global civic design partnership with Wordpress.com, and Venture for America Fellows (VFA) to host a hackathon style event, in which 30 Detroit small businesses were assisted in developing their first websites. Two hundred VFA Fellows created new websites for businesses, led workshops and provided one-on-one sessions to help educate business owners on brand building, domain research and design.Six SWOT City businesses (including a Retail Boot Camp graduate) worked in partnership with VFA Fellows to produce new websites:Razzle Dazzle Nail Supply, Chasity Jones | razzledazzlesupply.com Triangulo Dorado, Adrian and Karina Torre | triangulo-dorado.comMangonadas del Barrio, Antonio and Maribel Hernandez | Mangonadas del BarrioLa Rosita, Angelica Saenz | larositarestaurant.comEl Caporal, Antonio and Aracely Canchola | elcaporaldetroit.comQuince Primaveras, Eulalia Piña | 15primaverasllc.com“For so many years I tried to have a website for my business,” said SWOT City client, Eulalia Piña, owner of Quince Primaveras.” This seemed almost impossible since they are very costly. Finally, I have a website where customers from Macomb, Oakland and Wayne County can see the variety and brands of gowns we carry. I am really loving my website.”SWOT City Portfolio Managers at TechTown are here to support, encourage and connect businesses with other professionals who will offer the specific expertise needed to grow your business. TechTown has a broad network of tools and resources, including subject matter experts, workshops and the Accenture Skills to Succeed online learning platform. At TechTown we know, collaborations matter!
For many minority entrepreneurs, it’s difficult to discover the proper support in communities that have not always been inclusive of everyone. Juan Carlos Dueweke-Perez created his marketing agency Featherstone Moments to address the challenges faced by businesses owners of color, women and the LGBTQ community. Find out more about how his company works with entrepreneurs and why he loves coworking at TechTown.
Hailing from Texas, Nikki Neuzil has always had a passion for vintage fashion. After opening and running a successful vintage store in Austin, Nikki and her husband relocated and opened a new store in Southwest Detroit. Flamingo Vintage offers men’s and women’s clothing and accessories from the 1920s through the ’80s as well as furniture and mid-century home decor. Learn more about Nikki’s time in TechTown’s Retail Boot Camp.
Did you know that food allergies have increased 377 percent in the last 10 years? Meet Javier Evelyn, founder of Alerje. Javier and his team are working to save lives around the world by creating products to serve those impacted by food allergies. Learn more about TechTown’s role in Javier’s entrepreneurial journey.
“Just learning about TechTown and Retail Boot Camp, to me, was just an eye-opener of just knowing the type of resources that we have available in the city.” Ariya’s Apparel & Accessories, a women’s boutique that opened in April in Grandmont Rosedale Workplace, specializes in modern, modest apparel for women ages 25 and up.
Detroit is recognized globally for its contributions to the music industry. From Motown to techno, the city of Detroit is responsible for much of the music we enjoy and love today. With such a rich musical history, it only made sense for TechTown client, Waref Hawasli, to launch his company OPNR in the heart of the city.
Voluptuous Bien’Aime Boutique specializes in apparel and accessories for every curvy woman, sizes 0 to 5X. Nicole Bien-Aime, CEO of the company, Retail Boot Camp graduate and lover of fashion, was labeled plus size when she began her journey. After routinely spending all day searching for the right outfit, Nicole realized her shopping experience felt more like a job than an experience, which encouraged her to launch a clothing business catering to curvy women in 2013.
In January Fusion Flare Kitchen & Cocktails invited the community to celebrate their grand opening. Now, almost five months later, owner Mashelle Sykes says business is better than she could have ever imagined, but this success didn’t come without hurdles.
Retail Bootcamp Graduate and Kickstart Award winner Ingrid Macon, owns the only pre-K through 12 educational retail center in the city of Detroit. After traveling to surrounding cities for years to purchase supplies for her classroom, this teacher turned CEO decided to attend Retail Boot Camp and open a store to fill the need. Click the link below to watch a video of Ingrid discuss her motivation behind Detroit Teachers’ Store and experience in Retail Boot Camp.
Design directly impacts the bottom line of the business, which directly connects to its ability to serve the community long-term. A business is rooted in its brand design, and each of the other design mediums speaks to each other – from the digital voice on social media, to the colors on the wall to the size of the table and the tabs on the website – to all directly to serve the customer. Which is why TechTown (has been or was) proud to collaborate with Design Core Detroit and its network of design professionals on creating the Design Guide for Neighborhood Business to help brick-and-mortar businesses, from pop-up to permanent, think about design for their business in an intentional way.
In 2017, a group of doctoral students from Wayne State University’s College of Engineering came together to create a nanosensor designed to detect contaminants in water. The company, Micro Buoy, was born during Erie Hack — a tech-driven international water innovation competition and accelerator program created by the Cleveland Water Alliance, in conjunction with numerous partners, including TechTown Detroit.
Marlo Rencher, the first Managing Director of TechTown, is returning with an important task ahead of her: to establish dedicated resources and more intentional strategies to increase engagement of women and minority tech entrepreneurs at TechTown, and throughout the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Detroit. With over 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship and marketing, Rencher has served as vice president for innovation, entrepreneurship and diversity at Cleary University and created their Founders Farm student incubator.
Fusion Flare Kitchen & Cocktails is the first full-service restaurant to open in the Joy community in almost 20 years. Located at located at 16801 Plymouth Rd., the restaurant features a fusion menu of cuisine from many cultures, including American and soul food. The lunch and dinner menu will offer a variety of meals including chicken Fusion Flare Chicken & Waffles, Catfish, and vegan and vegetarian options.
DTX Launch Detroit is offering college students and recent graduates the opportunity to get paid to work on their tech startup–and potentially win a grand prize of $15,000 for their business, courtesy of General Motors. The 10-week accelerator is accepting applications for summer 2019. Applications are open through April 5. The final information session will be held, on March 20, from 5:30-8pm at TechTown Detroit and will be live streamed on Facebook.
Rivers Realty, a family-owned full-service real estate brokerage company, has been a part of Detroit’s small business community for over 40 years. Founder Ron Rivers started his company after seeing a need in the black community for property managers and experts in the real estate industry. Ron’s daughter, Lauren Rivers, joined the business in 2014 as their managing broker. Today, Rivers Realty serves clients throughout Metro Detroit and has become a model for family business in the city.
Paul Riser Jr., the Managing Director of Technology-Based Entrepreneurship at TechTown Detroit, has been named the director of Detroit Urban Solutions. Detroit Urban Solutions is a consortium, founded by Wayne State, TechTown, NextEnergy and numerous other organizations, that will focus primarily on mobility, digital health, civic technologies and smart city technologies. Last May the consortium announced its first major in
“The greatest benefit from attending RBC has to be the ecosystem and all the resources that are available to us to help us open our business,” said Gary Mui, co-owner of Alma Kitchen. Opening soon in Jefferson Chalmers, Alma Kitchen is a fusion restaurant that will feature food blended from the owners’ Mexican and Chinese cultures. Co-owners Gary Mui and Alicia Sanchez named the restaurant Alma because it means “soul” in Spanish. They believe that food is a universal language, and theirs comes straight from the soul, which is why their space will welcome all generations and backgrounds.
Are you looking to launch a tech startup or move your retail business from a pop-up to a permanent space? TechTown’s long-standing Retail Boot Camp and DTX Launch Detroit programs have helped numerous businesses launch and succeed. Among the graduates are tech startups such as Peerstachio and MySwimPro, and retail businesses such as Urbanum and Live Cycle Delight. Apply now to one of the programs below to kickstart your business.
University of Michigan startup Peerstachio is changing the way college students find resources. Peerstachio is an online community connecting undergraduate students or high schoolers preparing to transition to college with upperclassmen for assistance with classwork or to talk about university life. During her first year as an international student in the Ross School of Business…
Kylee Guenther is the CEO of Spectalite, a woman-owned company that manufactures lightweight, sustainable bamboo fiber composite materials suitable for making products such as automotive interiors, houseware, consumer products and more. Working with Gerry Roston, an entrepreneur-in-residence in TechTown’s Labs program, she has gained critical support in preparing for the growth of her company. A…
knoME is a software company dedicated to boosting retention rates of early career professionals by improving communication between managers and employees. Through the DTX Launch Detroit program, they were able to redefine their original business idea and create a new concept that better attracts their target audience. Learn more about knoME and their experience…
Deelio gets an independent retailer’s customers talking about them on social media, turning their posts into sales. During their time in the DTX Launch Detroit program, the Deelio team learned the importance of customer discovery and understanding your audience. Meet Deelio and see how the DTX Launch Detroit program prepared them for entrepreneurship. If you’re…
Brix Wine & Charcuterie Boutique is a sophisticated wine bar located in Detroit’s East Jefferson neighborhood. After working in New York in the marketing industry, owner Mikiah Westbrooks returned to her hometown of Detroit to embark on her journey as an entrepreneur. With the help of various Detroit support programs including TechTown’s SWOT City program,…
Ojas Akolkar is the founder of Tribalfare, an online retailer offering handcrafted clothing, accessories and home decor from India. In 2015, Ojas graduated from TechTown’s Retail Boot Camp program, which she won a Kickstarter award, which provided a rent subsidy and services to support her business. In 2016, after operating a pop-up space in Detroit’s Sugar…
Chris Lum is a DTX Launch Detroit 2016 graduate. During his time in the program, Chris gained firsthand insight on what it takes to launch a successful tech- based business. At the conclusion of the program, Chris opted to join an existing startup to gain more experience. The inaugural awardee of the DTX Career…
Iyinoluwa Omishope is a DTX Launch Detroit standout, named 2016’s Most Valuable Player. But in many ways, she is also a very typical DTX Launch student. She came to an info session, joined a team, refined a compelling concept and, with her teammates, gave a great pitch for ESAP, an energy storage company. Then, after…
Art in Motion is a ceramic studio and gallery located on Detroit’s famous Avenue of Fashion. After participating in Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s REVOLVE Detroit program, which matched businesses with empty storefronts, owner Marlynne Kay Willingham became one of TechTown’s first SWOT City clients, where she gained the resources needed to further grow and sustain…
EnBiologics is the perfect example of a pivot. The three Wayne State University biomedical engineering graduate students who make up the team– Gregory Apers, Sean Carrol and Ramy Habib–began exploring their idea for a medical hydrogel for human burn treatment last summer in the DTX Launch Detroit student accelerator.
Gary Wozniak founded RecoveryPark Farms (RPF) in 2013 to grow specialty produce on vacant Detroit land. Gary was raised in a farming community, and during his early 20s he struggled with drug abuse and ultimately served time in prison. In 1987 he became clean and sober and graduated from Self-Help Addiction Rehabilitation (SHAR) Inc., a…
Why did you choose popcorn? I was looking to open a soul food restaurant, and as I was prepping to do that, I went to Chicago for another business, and that’s when I came across Garrett’s Popcorn. So I look at the line for Garrett’s, and it’s wrapped around the building. My friend and I…
In the summer of 2014, the City of Detroit’s Water and Sewerage Department faced widespread scrutiny after shutting off water to more than 20,000 residential customers unable to pay their water bills. Abess Makki wanted to help the City counter the negative attention while providing residents with tools to better manage water usage and costs.…
Aisha Warren believes fashion is her calling. Her business is Posh Fashions, a women’s boutique on East Jefferson. A TechTown SWOT City client, Aisha celebrated the grand opening of Posh Fashions on May 6. Aisha began her career with the national chain Dots, serving as a store manager for over 21 years and learning about…
Like many entrepreneurs, Jason Wolfe-Greer’s startup idea stemmed from personal experience.Training to be an RN while caring for his fiancee’s grandfather in hospice, Wolfe-Greer recognized that stressed and overworked family caregivers need a break. So he developed Care PRN, an app that matches caregivers with qualified respite providers. Greer’s journey with CarePRN is a true…
Mandisa Smith of Detroit Fiber Works is a Detroit native artist whose vision has brought an incredible corps of local artists together under one roof. DFW hosts classes, exhibitions, and events on top of being a working studio and boutique within the University District on Livernois. We chatted with Smith about her involvement with SWOTCity…
Love. Travels. Imports. is making great strides in the city by connecting Detroiters to amazing, handmade pieces created by fair trade artisans from around the world. Founded by Yvette Jenkins in 2013, the shop has operated as a pop-up and online marketplace, spending time most recently in the Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood at the Grand River WorkPlace…
by Ned Staebler It’s been a busy two months since I became CEO of TechTown, succeeding the indomitable Leslie Lynn Smith. And in this time, there is one refrain I have heard more than any other: “Are you crazy?” Not because this isn’t a great gig, mind you. But because it is a demanding position,…