With $100K up for grabs, application window opens for Hatch Detroit small business pitch competition

What’s happening: The application window has opened for the annual Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest by TechTown, an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to win $100,000 in startup funding, business support services, and more. Applications are being accepted via the Hatch Detroit website until noon on Wednesday, Feb. 16.

What it is: Each year, the Hatch Detroit contest awards a $100,000 grand prize to a winning small business looking to open their first brick-and-mortar location in Detroit, Hamtramck, or Highland Park. Comerica Bank and TechTown Detroit, Wayne State University's non-profit entrepreneurship hub, are partners on the annual pitch competition first launched in 2011.

Bona fides: Some of the past decade’s more notable small business openings have come from Hatch Detroit contestants and winners, including Sister Pie in 2014, Baobab Fare in 2017, and 27th Letter Books in 2019. Last year’s winner, Bouncing Around the Motor City: Party & Event Rentals, is planning a grand opening party for their storefront at 13238 Fenkell Ave. in Detroit’s Bethune community on Friday, June 7.

Visit Hatch Detroit online to apply for the 2024 competition.

How it works: Following the online application window, which closes at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 16, a “Top 10” group of small businesses will be announced on April 11, with a public voting period to follow. That round of public voting determines the final group of four, who will then undergo a second round of public voting before entering the Hatch Off on May 9, a small business pitch competition where the grand prize winner is announced.

What they’re saying: "When it comes to serving entrepreneurs in our community, TechTown has a proven track record of dedication and success. We are proud to be doing our part in the cultivation and reviving of Detroit's small business development with initiatives like the Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest," reads a statement from Christianne Malone, Assistant Vice President for Economic Development at Wayne State University and Chief Program Officer of TechTown Detroit.

"As an established launching pad for small businesses, Hatch Detroit continues to attract community-minded entrepreneurs who are strengthening Detroit's small business economy, and we look forward to continuing to help incubate the unbelievable entrepreneurial spirit that lives in Detroit."

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.