These 10 small businesses want your votes as they vie for $100K grand prize in Hatch Detroit contest

What’s happening: Ten budding small businesses have made it to the next round in 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. The public voting component of the contest opened Friday, April 12; the four businesses with the most votes by noon on Thursday, April 18, will move on to the final round of competition this May.

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.

Top ten: Making it to the next round is Amarra Beauty Products/G.L.A.M. Body Scrubs, Estella’s Vegan Dessert Boutique, Harry Rich Clothier, Khana, Nada Dry Bar, Natural Living by Design II, Pique Earth, Roller Skate Detroit, The Gentleman’s Oasis, and Unity Community Barbershop. 

Public voting for the Hatch Detroit contest, as well as detailed descriptions of each business, is available online.

Why it’s important: “Community support is the cornerstone of success for budding entrepreneurs. Part of what makes Detroit’s small business landscape so incredibly special is the community’s shared vision for vibrant neighborhoods and unwavering dedication to see local businesses thrive,” says Christianne Malone, assistant vice president for economic development at Wayne State University and chief program officer of TechTown Detroit. “Through initiatives like the Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest by TechTown, we witness the power of public engagement in shaping the city’s small business ecosystem.”

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.

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