Get your business plans ready – the Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest is back for its fourth year of creating great Detroit entrepreneurs.
Applications are available starting June 1, contest organizers said, and the prizes are even more substantial this year for all those who make the “Final 10” as well as the ultimate winner. That is because the Detroit Lions have joined in and are adding support for Hatch alumni and contest finalists.
Here’s the skinny: Hatch Detroit is a contest that seeks the ideas and inspirations of people who want to open a business in Detroit. In addition to the $50,000 cash prize, the winner will also receive a package of services including legal, marketing and advertising, accounting, public relations and IT support from Hatch Detroit and its partners.
On a personal note, I’ve written about Hatch Detroit since its first year. The businesses it finds are true examples of the community coming forth to make the city a better place to live and play. I’ve been consistently impressed with the winners, having shopped and eaten at most of all of them so far. They are great mentors to other future entrepreneurs, helping rebuild Detroit in smart and realistic ways.
Back to the regular story. Comerica Bank returns for the third year as the contest’s flagship sponsor, providing the $50,000 prize, along with significant in-kind support. Seeing the previous Hatch winners turn their ideas into thriving Detroit businesses has been a fascinating process, said Michael T. Ritchie, president of Comerica Bank-Michigan.
“Witnessing so many contest success stories has reinforced our decision to support Hatch Detroit. We look forward to seeing this year’s applications and continuing to build Detroit’s entrepreneurial community,” Ritchie said in a statement.
In 2014, the Detroit Lions come roaring in to provide financial and ancillary support to the Hatch Detroit alumni who’ve followed through on the business plan laid out during the contest but need further assistance to open their doors or improve their business. Hatch Detroit and the Detroit Lions will allocate the additional support based on individual need, with an emphasis on the 10 finalists from previous contests.
“Since its beginnings, Detroit has been a destination for savvy entrepreneurs and business-minded individuals seeking opportunity, not the quickest route to a buck,” said Vittoria Katanski, executive director of Hatch Detroit. “Those passionate, determined people are exactly who we’re seeking to submit a retail business idea to this year’s Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest presented by the Detroit Lions.”
The Lions have worked with Hatch for the past year, and the partnership has been a productive one, Lions officials said.
“This furthers our commitment to Detroit’s neighborhoods and broadens our collaboration with Hatch Detroit,” Tom Lewand, Detroit Lions team president, said in a statement. “The growth of small business in Detroit continues to be a significant part of the city’s resurgence and is an important part of the Lions community engagement strategy.”
Since its inception in 2011, Hatch Detroit has experienced overwhelming success in championing entrepreneurship and small business throughout Detroit. The inaugural contest garnered hundreds of Detroit retail business ideas and ignited tremendous community support for the finalists, culminating in thousands of public votes cast for first-year winner Hugh, a home furnishing shop for the stylish bachelor that opened its doors in 2012.
The contest’s popularity has picked up momentum in subsequent years, garnering more than 700 submissions and 130,000 votes cast in its first three years. Notable alumni include 2012 winner La Feria, 2013 winner Batch Brewing Company, 2011 finalist Detroit Institute of Bagels, 2012 finalists Detroit Vegan Soul and Rock City Eatery, 2013 finalists HenriettaHaus Coffee Roasters and 2013 semi-finalist Busted in Detroit.
Hatch Detroit is a Michigan based 501(c)(3) organization that champions and supports independent retail businesses in Detroit through funding, education, exposure, and mentoring. Hatch Detroit was co-founded by Nick Gorga and Ted Balowski, Detroit natives who are passionate about the revitalization of the city and inspiring others in the community to create change.
All applications must be submitted online at www.hatchdetroit.com. For complete submission guidelines and contest rules, visit www.hatchdetroit.com. The deadline for submissions is July 16.