TechTown in the news

Christianne Malone named to dual role with TechTown Detroit and Wayne State

The Wayne State University Office of Economic Development in Detroit and TechTown Detroit have named social architect and urbanist Christianne Malone to the dual role of assistant vice president for economic development and chief program officer. In her role, Malone will be responsible for the design, implementation, management, and continuous improvement of entrepreneurship programs for both the OED and TechTown. She will assist in advancing the overall economic development strategy for WSU and establish relationships with funders, community partners and external stakeholders. “Wayne State and TechTown gained a tremendous leader with the hire of Christianne Malone,” says Ned Staebler, vice president for economic development at Wayne State University and president and CEO of TechTown Detroit. “She’s not only an innovator in the economic development space, but she’s also a coalition builder, teacher, coach, and catalyzer who will bring her wide range of knowledge to benefit our entire community.’
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Gilbert philanthropy commits $10 million to grow startups in Detroit

In its latest philanthropic push in Detroit, the billionaire Gilbert family has committed $10 million over three years to help fund the ongoing activities of three organizations pushing to grow the area’s startup sector. The Gilbert Family Foundation formally launched Venture 313 on Thursday. The initiative aims to devote a variety of resources – financial and other forms, along with three partner organizations familiar to many in Detroit’s startup community – to provide Detroit-based founders with meaningful opportunities to participate in the innovation economy. As part of its involvement in the initiative, ID Ventures will source high-growth venture deals and invest between $25,000 and $250,000 using the SAFE note mechanism. TechTown, a longtime small business incubator in Detroit affiliated with Wayne State University, will invest in smaller businesses that are primarily looking to evolve from ideation to the creation of a minimum viable product. The incubator will provide grants ranging from $500 to $25,000, as well as ongoing support and coaching for entrepreneurs. “It is critical that we empower founders with the resources they need to turn a passion into a product, and continue to invest in their entrepreneurial journey,” said Ned Staebler, vice president for economic development at Wayne State University and president and CEO of TechTown. “The only way to achieve real and sustainable economic development is by investing on Main Street, and we are excited to join the Gilbert Family Foundation and Venture 313 to support the next generation of Detroit startups.”