Now part of TechTown, this $100K small business competition plots its 2022 return

What’s happening: Baobab Fare, Sister Pie, and Live Cycle Delight. Batch Brewing, Meta Physica Wellness Center, and LaFeria. In addition to being some of the most recognizable names in the Detroit small business community to have opened over the past decade, the aforementioned businesses have something else in common, too: Each has been named winner of the annual Hatch Detroit contest. Now Hatch Detroit is making news of a different kind. The small business competition has been acquired by TechTown Detroit, the New Center-based small business and technology entrepreneur incubator.

Makes sense: It’s a natural fit for Hatch and TechTown to come together, the organizations say, the latter adding the former to its well-established roster of small business services. TechTown has a host of small business and entrepreneurial education programs, including Retail Boot Camp, a 12-week course that prepares entrepreneurs to open their first brick-and-mortar locations in the cities of Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park.

“Hatch Detroit is the perfect complement for TechTown’s small business programming,” says Ned Staebler, president and CEO of TechTown Detroit. “Hatch is the premiere retail concept contest and TechTown is the premiere business support organization. It makes perfect sense to partner and provides Detroit’s entrepreneurs expanded opportunities to make their small business dreams come true.”

What’s next: While many of the details on the 2022 Hatch Detroit contest have yet to be released, longtime sponsor Comerica Bank has announced that this year’s winner will receive a $100,000 award. Previous winners had received $50,000 until 2019, when 27th Letter Books received a $100,000 prize. The 2020 and ‘21 contests were scrapped during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic in favor of a $100,000 small business relief fund for Hatch alumni. The Hatch Detroit contest will return later this year, information of which will be available online.

Why it’s important: “Our transition into TechTown will allow Hatch Detroit to expand capacity, increase reach and improve communication with business owners and the public,” says Vittoria Katanski, executive director of Hatch, who plans on staying on to help with the transition to TechTown. “Hatch now has the opportunity to grow and touch the lives of future business owners for many years to come. The network of alumni winners can now mentor the next generation.”

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