Crain’s Detroit Business
April 14, 2023
The finalists for the 2023 Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest by TechTown are set.
Four entrepreneurs have advanced through a round of public voting to pitch their business plans to a panel of judges at the annual Hatch Off on April 26.
The finalists are:
- Bouncing Around The Motor City: a one-stop shop for balloons, decor, event planning and party rentals located at 13238 Fenkell Ave.
- Konjo Me: a unique and vibrant Ethiopian food pop-up experience that shares appreciation for the rich and diverse global cuisine.
- Next Chapter Books: a general interest new and used bookstore at 16451 E. Warren Ave. working to reflect and create community, inspire learning and nurture the joy of reading among all ages.
- Sepia Coffee Project LLC: a minority-owned roastery at 9417 John R St. sourcing specialty coffee from farmers throughout Africa, North and South America, and the Indian-Pacific regions.
Those four businesses will face off for the chance to win $100,000 in startup funds from Comerica Bank, as well as technical assistance from TechTown and its partners. The funds will go toward opening a brick-and-mortar storefront in Detroit, Hamtramck or Highland Park.
The finalists beat out six other businesses to advance. Public voting during the semifinals took place April 5-13. The winner will be chosen from a combination of the public vote, open April 24-26, and judges’ determination. Voting will take place online at hatchdetroit.com/vote. Find more details on the event at hatchdetroit.com.
With support from Hatch Detroit, 50 alumni have opened businesses. They employ more than 500 employees and have invested over $13 million in economic development.
The contest has played a role in the launch of some popular Detroit businesses, including La Feria restaurant in Midtown (2012), Sister Pie bakery in West Village (2014), Meta Physica Massage in Corktown (2016), Baobab Fare in New Center (2017) and 27th Letter Books in downtown Detroit (2019). Restaurant Little Liberia took home the grand prize last year.
Including this year’s investment, Comerica Bank and the Comerica Charitable Foundation will have committed nearly $1 million to Hatch Detroit since the partnership began in 2012. This is the third Hatch contest with the $100,000 cash grand prize, up from $50,000 the first seven years of the competition.
Hatch Detroit supports existing and new retail initiatives in Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck. Hatch Detroit was founded in 2011 to give residents and aspiring entrepreneurs an opportunity to have a voice in neighborhood retail development and joined TechTown in 2022. Hatch Detroit provides funding, exposure and mentoring in support of its alumni entrepreneurs.
TechTown is a nonprofit business service organization that provides programs, education and resources for early- to growth-stage small businesses and tech entrepreneurs. Since 2007, TechTown has supported 5,371 companies, which created 2,277 jobs and raised more than $385 million in startup and growth capital.