Tech Town to launch initiative for entrepreneurs

Posted on February 12, 2013

TechTown, the Detroit business incubator at Wayne State University, announced Monday that it will use a $1-million state grant to launch an initiative aimed at creating and retaining more talented entrepreneurs and growing their start-up businesses.

The Detroit Technology Exchange will include a six-person fellowship program for mid-level entrepreneurs, an executive-in-residence program for experienced professionals, and a paid boot camp for Michigan college and graduate students interested in launching tech-based companies.

TechTown is the lead partner in the two-year grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund, in addition to Dan Gilbert’s Bizdom incubator and Invest Detroit, a nonprofit loan fund that helps bankroll Detroit redevelopment.

Leslie Smith, CEO of TechTown, said Detroit is already home to some talented and tech-minded individuals, but would benefit from having more such individuals stay here long term.

“When you’re trying to create a really robust start-up culture, you need to have people at every age and stage of the journey that are able, ready and willing to deploy themselves,” Smith said.

The 10-week summer boot camp for university students will run May 28-Aug. 2 with stipends of up to $2,500 per individual. There will be an application process.

The two-year fellowship program will have annual salaries of $40,000 for each of the six fellows.

Each executive-in-residence will be expected to create a company and raise investments for that enterprise. He or she would receive a $60,000 annual stipend.

JC Reindl, Detroit Free Press.