These Programs are Helping Detroit’s Tech Entrepreneurs Succeed
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Finding a dedicated program for entrepreneurs not only helps you grow your business but maintain your sanity in the process.
While it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you can run, manage, and scale a business on your own; a business can’t grow without support. Beyond day-to-day funding support, at some point, you’ll need strategic guidance and direction — especially when you’re ready to scale.
What got you here won’t get you there.
Feelings of hopelessness and isolation are also prevalent for entrepreneurs. Should I quit or stay in the game? I’ve tried everything, and nothing is working. To help you avoid burnout, find resources and uncover the blind spots preventing you from reaching the next level of success, a diverse professional network is crucial. Even founder of FUBU and “Shark Tank” investor, Daymond John, said: “Mentors are one of the main reasons why people are successful.”
If you’re an entrepreneur or aspiring business owner located in or around Detroit, you’re in luck. Here are six programs to help you navigate the choppy waters of entrepreneurship:
With 12 years of providing small business support programs, TechTown has helped 2,700 startups and small businesses launch and grow. In addition to tech programs, which help you with proof of concept, TechTown has a 10-week retail program to help entrepreneurs open their brick-and-mortar establishments in Detroit. They also have mini boot camps and office hours for coaching and feedback.
From youth entrepreneurs to social entrepreneurs who have a desire to build a startup in Detroit, TechStars offers weekend learning events. In 2019, TechStars launched its fifth mentorship-driven accelerator program and officially renamed it TechStars Detroit. What’s commendable is, according to TechStars 40 percent of their teams have female founders. Additionally, TechStars uses community leaders and mentors from leading automotive, mobility, transportation, and venture capital firms to provide support.
It’s not a secret that the venture capital world has a gender and racial problem. While only 2.7 percent of venture funding goes to female founders, women of color get less than one percent of total funding every year, according to a study by First Round Capital. On a mission to bridge the funding gap for women, people of color, and LGBTQ founders, Backstage Capital has reportedly invested over $7 million in more than 120 companies led by underrepresented founders.
Although headquartered in West Hollywood, Backstage Capital has an accelerator program in Detroit.
The Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR)
Amidst the debate over immigrant impact in the United States, the University of Michigan’s Economic Growth Institute and Global Detroit partnered to support immigrants in launching and growing companies in metro Detroit. For candidates with a bachelors’ degree and a desire to build a business in the U.S., the Global (EIR) program also works with city leaders as well as public and private organizations to support your entrepreneurial ventures.
Since 2012, the Build Institute has held an impressive track record of connecting, learning, launching, supporting, and funding over 1,700 entrepreneurs. At least three Build grads have been in the Top 10 Finalists every year in the Hatch Detroit competition. Since December 2013, Build has reportedly “endorsed 24 small businesses and raised $136,450 in micro-loans,” according to buildinstitute.org.
From classes and networking events to support from local financiers, peers, and lenders, Build supports businesses across a variety of industries.
With a “focus on supporting brick & mortar independent retail,” Hatch Detroit has “awarded 8 businesses over $350,000 in funding and over $1 million in-kind services since 2011,” according to Hatchdetroit.com.
Initially created to give people an opportunity to participate in Detroit’s redevelopment, Hatch Detroit provides funding, education, exposure, and mentoring.