Public voting for bookstore, an Ethiopian restaurant, roastery and party rental shop continues April 24-26
The public has cast their votes and, after a tight race, the Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest by TechTown is ready to announce the four entrepreneurial teams advancing to the final stage of the competition, which includes another round of public voting and the opportunity to compete at the Hatch Off on April 26.
These four businesses will face off to win $100,000 in startup funds from Comerica Bank, as well as technical assistance from TechTown and its partners, to kickstart and open a brick-and-mortar business in Detroit, Hamtramck or Highland Park.
“TechTown understands that the public’s vote in the Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest means empowering the community to shape the future they want to see. By casting your vote, you’re not only helping deserving entrepreneurs achieve their dreams, but also contributing towards the growth and vitality of Detroit’s neighborhoods,” said Christianne Malone, assistant vice president for economic development at Wayne State University and chief program officer of TechTown Detroit. “The fact that these four businesses have made it to the final stage of the contest based on the community’s voice is a remarkable indication of the success in each of their futures.”
These four entrepreneurial teams now enter the final round of public voting and will have the chance to pitch their business plan in front of a live audience at the Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest’s annual Hatch Off on Wednesday, April 26.
The four businesses vying to take home the crown and $100,000 in this year’s Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest are:
- Bouncing Around The Motor City: Detroit’s premier one-stop shop for balloons, decor, event planning and party rentals.
- Konjo Me: a unique and vibrant Ethiopian food experience that shares appreciation for the rich and diverse global cuisine with the community it serves.
- Next Chapter Books: a general interest new and used bookstore in Detroit 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 sourcing specialty coffee from farmers throughout Africa, the Americas and the Indian-Pacific regions.
The community can once again cast their votes for their favorite business beginning April 24 at noon through the completion of the pitch competition on April 26. Voting will take place online at hatchdetroit.com/vote, and individuals can vote once every 24 hours.
Over the years, the Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest has helped launch some of Detroit’s most successful and well-known businesses, including La Feria (2012), Sister Pie (2014), Meta Physica Massage (2016), Baobab Fare (2017) and 27th Letter Books (2019).
With this year’s investment, Comerica Bank and the Comerica Charitable Foundation will have committed nearly $1 million to Hatch Detroit since Comerica’s partnership began in 2012.
“The partnership between Comerica Bank and TechTown is a direct reflection of both organizations’ unwavering dedication to helping small businesses thrive,” said Linda Nosegbe, Comerica Bank National Community Impact Manager. “Just by making it to the final stage of this competition, these finalists have proven themselves as exceptional entrepreneurs that clearly demonstrate the passion, creativity, and hard work required to turn a dream into a successful business and will surely make a lasting impact on Detroit.”
The annual Hatch Off event functions similarly to a Shark Tank-style pitching competition. The top four businesses will have the chance to present their business pitch to a panel of judges and a live audience.
New this year, public voting will remain open through the pitch competition at the Hatch Off. The winner of the 2023 Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest will be chosen through a combination of the public’s vote and judges’ deliberations.
Tickets are available to witness the top four business pitches and see the winner of the Hatch Off competition crowned. The Hatch Off takes place on Wednesday, April 26 at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.) at the Wayne State University Industry Innovation Center at 461 Burroughs Street in Detroit. To purchase your ticket to the Hatch Off, visit HatchDetroit.com. The Hatch Off pitch competition will also be streamed live this year on HatchDetroit.com and the Hatch Detroit Facebook page.