TechTown’s Boot Camp Brings 6 New Businesses to the City, Opens Submissions

By Amanda Lewan on September 13th, 2013 / Comments

In Detroit, there’s a unique opportunity for all types of entrepreneurs. A city that’s lost a large amount of population is looking to help build up their area with retail, food, and tech businesses. This effort includes a lot of resources and support for Detroit Entrepreneurs.

TechTown Detroit offers assistance for both retail startups and tech startups. The incubator located near Wayne State University is almost ready to unveil a new work space called Junction 440 for the incubator members and other innovators in the city. Their retail program added  $10,000 in new incentives for entrepreneurs, including a free month of pop-up retail space.

The retail program goes through everything from developing a marketing strategy to negotiating a lease. Leslie Smith, CEO of TechTown shared with us the good news about recent graduates from the program.

“Over the course of 4 or 5 years in the city we’ve worked with retail businesses and figured out how to get them to market quickly,” says Leslie. “Out of the companies we’ve worked with this Spring, six and hopefully seven are going to be open for business in Detroit by the end of 2013.”

The retail program looks for post-idea startups, those who are ready to open a business in the next six months to a year and want to get going. Leslie describes it as a next step for some of the other programs in Detroit, including Hatch, D:hive BUILD, and Revolve.

Graduates from the first round include Pedicure and Shoes To Go, Trishs’s Garage and several other apparel stores. The retail incubator for tech entrepreneurs is currently open now for submissions. Leslie describes the interest in both tech and retail startups as unique to Detroit.

“That is the unique opportunity and challenge that is Detroit. We’ve lost so much of our base and our element of place in the past 50 years through products and services that business districts need to thrive. The blessing is both of these type of startups need addressing. It’s hard to choose a priority over the other. There are so many people engaged and involved in the revival of the city. There’s enough of us that were not missing opportunities,” says Leslie.

The Retail Program just closed for this round of applications, but will be open again in the next few months. You can learn more about the Labs Venture Accelerator at TechTown Detroit, where applications will close Sept 30th.

Photo via TechTown.

About the Author

Amanda Lewan

Amanda Lewan

Editor @michipreneur. Co-founder Bamboo Detroit. Follow me @Amanda_Jenn. I love telling the story of entrepreneurs and innovators.