TechTown’s early orientation was in alignment with that of most local business-support organizations and policymakers at the time: it sought to respond to the vacuum left by the auto industry’s decline.
Prior to 2009, the year NEI began investing in TechTown’s operations, physical capacity and programs,TechTown faced a variety of internal challenges and external circumstances that constrained its capacity to serve a great variety of Detroit entrepreneurs — especially those not in tech or high-growth industries.
In the early years, NEI funded tech programming at TechTown, because ‘New Economy’ really meant high-growth, high-tech at that time. As NEI transitioned away from high-growth, high-tech into more neighborhood-based, broader-based programming, TechTown expanded its work there too and played an important role in supporting anyone who wanted to start a business in Detroit.
That evolution took time and was a result of years of closely mapping metropolitan Detroit’s business support and acceleration ecosystem, probing for gaps and opportunities to foster regional entrepreneurship. What emerged was the realization that a complementary place to put the resources was in small business development.
TechTown’s outcomes have been significant: as of October 2020, the organization boasts about
of funding leveraged into startups
coworking members and tenants