Detroit, MI - /PRNewswire/ -- The first round of votes are in and after a tight race Hatch Detroit powered by TechTown has announced that five entrepreneurial teams will advance to the final stage of the Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest, which includes another round of public voting and the opportunity to compete at Hatch Off on July 21.
Additionally, final round voting will be extended through July. 8.
"The public's vote is so critical in the Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest because the people that are casting votes are the community members that will be patronizing and frequenting these businesses for years to come," said Vittoria Katanski, executive director of Hatch Detroit. "Hatch Detroit prioritizes investing in Detroit's 'biggest' small businesses by elevating entrepreneurs and giving them the counsel and resources needed to thrive in our community."
This is the second time in the contest's 10-year history that five businesses have been named finalists. In 2019, the voting came down to the wire and voting for the fourth and fifth finalists was so close that the decision to include the top five vote getters in the final round was made for the first time in the history of the Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest.
"It is exciting to see such a passionate response to these talented business owners and their retail concepts, and that is what helps drive the success of this contest", Katanski continued. "As a result,, it was best for all five finalists to have their chance to compete in both the final round of public voting and the Hatch Off since the difference between the fourth and fifth place semi-finalists was again so compellingly close."
These rising entrepreneurs will go head-to-head to win the $100,000 grand prize from Comerica Bank as well as pro bono support and counsel from Hatch Detroit powered by TechTown to kickstart and open a brick-and-mortar business in Detroit, Hamtramck or Highland Park.
The five finalists now enter the final round of public voting and will have the opportunity to present their business plan in front of a live audience at the Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest's annual Hatch Off on Thursday, July 21.
The five finalists vying to take home $100,000 in this year's Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest are:
- COLFETARIE: a European dessert and pastry shop, specializing in Romanian desserts and pastries. Their goal is to bring together the cultures of Detroit and Romania, while offering a taste of Europe, right in the heart of Downtown Detroit, no passport needed!
- Detroit Farm and Cider: a 4.9 acre commercial farm on Detroit's West side with plans to build a cider mill and offer youth day camps and horseback riding classes.
- Gajiza Dumplins: a dumpling shop that specializes in Asian style eats and handmade dumplings from scratch. The dumplings come in more than 30 flavors and range from traditional pork and shrimp Shumai to contemporary western style, including miso cheeseburger gyoza or goat cheese and leek. Their focus is based on Asian street food: fast and delicious.
- Lily's & Elise: a luxury tea lounge on the Avenue of Fashion whose primary focus is in the premium service of European-style afternoon and high tea with fresh pastries and small plates to accompany orders.
- Little Liberia: an Afro fusion pop-up restaurant looking to find a permanent space to introduce Liberia's rich multicultural cuisines to the people of Metro Detroit. They serve authentic Liberian dishes, a cuisine whose heritage is a mixture of African, Caribbean, and Antebellum-South African American influences.
To give the public extra time to cast their votes, the second round of voting has been extended until 12 a.m. on Friday, July 8. Individuals can cast their vote once every 24 hours online at www.hatchdetroit.com/vote.
The annual Hatch Off event functions similarly to a 'Shark Tank' style pitching competition. The top five businesses will have the opportunity to present their business pitch to a panel of judges as well as a live audience. Public voting, along with the judges' deliberation, will determine the winner of the 2022 Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest.
"The Comerica Bank and Hatch Detroit partnership has contributed to the cultivation and revitalization of Detroit's economy and community development for the past 10 years," said Linda Nosegbe, Comerica Bank vice president and southeast external affairs market manager. "We have seen such an overwhelming amount of support from the community as well as contest alumni. Supporting local small businesses strengthens the lifeblood of our cities and neighborhoods, and we partner with organizations like Hatch Detroit and TechTown to help reward ingenuity, tenacity, innovation and creativity."
Together, Hatch Detroit alumni have opened 49 businesses, employ more than 500 people and have invested more than $7 million in their businesses. 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), Live Cycle Delight (2015), Meta Physica Massage (2016), Baobab Fare (2017) and 27th Letter Books (2019).
Tickets are now available to witness the top five business pitches and see the winner of the Hatch Off competition crowned. The Hatch Off takes place on at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 21, with doors opening at 6p.m., at the Wayne State University Industry Innovation Center, located at 461 Burroughs Street in Detroit. To purchase your ticket to the Hatch Off, visit hatchdetroit.com/events.
About Hatch Detroit
Hatch Detroit supports both existing and new retail initiatives in the cities of Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck. Hatch Detroit was founded in 2011 to give residents and aspiring entrepreneurs an opportunity to have a voice in neighborhood retail development and joined TechTown Detroit's suite of entrepreneurial programs and services in 2022. Beyond the contest, Hatch Detroit provides funding, exposure and mentoring in support of its alumni entrepreneurs. With support from Hatch Detroit, 49 alumni have opened businesses. They employ over 500 people and have invested over $7 million in economic development. To learn more, visit hatchdetroit.com.
About Comerica Bank
Comerica Bank, a subsidiary of Comerica Incorporated, has served Michigan longer than any other bank with a continuous presence dating back over 172 years to its Detroit founding in 1849. It is the largest bank employer in metro Detroit and over 4,500 employees (FTE) statewide. With one of the largest banking center networks in Michigan, Comerica nurtures lifelong relationships with unwavering integrity and financial prudence. Comerica positively impacts the lives of Michigan residents by helping customers be successful, providing financial support that assists hundreds of charitable organizations, and actively participating in Detroit's downtown revitalization. Comerica Incorporated (NYSE: CMA) is a financial services company strategically aligned by three business segments: The Commercial Bank, The Retail Bank, and Wealth Management. Follow on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Comerica, Twitter: @ComericaBank and Instagram: @comerica_bank.
About TechTown Detroit
TechTown is a nonprofit business service organization that provides programs, education and resources for early- to growth-stage small businesses and tech entrepreneurs. By building bridges for entrepreneurs to succeed, TechTown is accelerating an inclusive economy for Detroit and Southeast Michigan. Since 2007, TechTown has supported more than 4,700 companies, which has created thousands of jobs and raised more than $172.5 million in startup and growth capital. For more information, visit techtowndetroit.org.