Applications open for Hatch Detroit small business pitch contest – Detroit Free Press

Comerica Hatch Detroit has opened its applications for its pitch contest that gives business owners a chance at winning $100,000, contest organizers announced Tuesday.

The annual contest is a partnership between Comerica Bank and TechTown Detroit, an entrepreneurship hub for small businesses and tech companies. It will fund a business that has hopes of opening a brick-and-mortar in Detroit, Hamtramck or Highland Park, according to a news release. 

“This community contest helps bring the dream of an aspiring business owner closer to reality and serves as a vital resource for these budding entrepreneurs,” Steve Davis, Comerica Bank Michigan Market president, said in a news release. “Hatch Detroit has left a lasting impact on Detroit’s economic revitalization by bolstering the entrepreneurial spirit, rewarding innovation and promoting small business development. Through our partnership with TechTown, we are proud to assist local entrepreneurs access the capital and technical assistance needed to take their small business to the next level and thrive.”

This is the 11th year of the contest. The public will be able to offer input on who should win the contest during two voting rounds: for the top 10, starting April 5, and the top four, which will take place live at the Hatch Off, the final-round pitch competition taking place April 26 in metro Detroit. Details about this year’s Hatch Off are to be released at a later date.

In addition to the prize money, the winner will receive public relations, accounting, legal and IT support that will be spearheaded by TechTown Detroit, a news release said.

“It’s always been a neighborhood initiative type of program,” said Christianne Malone, chief program officer of TechTown Detroit. “The goal is to really increase that economic vitality of the neighborhoods. It also increases the beautification, walkability and safety — and overall vibrancy within those neighborhoods.” 

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Business plans can be submitted on the Hatch Detroit website until Feb. 21. In the meantime, there are two information sessions taking place Feb. 2 and Feb. 9 that are available for business owners to learn more about the contest. Registration is open for the information sessions on HatchDetroit.com.

The winning entrepreneur will join other businesses that have officially opened their doors with the support of Hatch Detroit, such as La Feria, Sister Pie, Meta Physica Massage, Baobab Fare and 27th Letter Books. Little Liberia won the Hatch Off last year. 

Hatch Detroit merged with TechTown Detroit to form a partnership last year. Hatch Detroit was led by Vittoria Katanski before its merger, and now, Malone is leading daily operations for the program.

Business owners can go to HatchDetroit.com to learn more and apply.

Contact staff writer Chanel Stitt on Twitter: @ByChanelStitt. Become a subscriber or gift a subscription