TechTown, Wayne State University’s research and technology park and business incubator, today announced the establishment of a partnership with the Brightmoor Alliance, a neighborhood community development organization, to provide business support services to area entrepreneurs.
Brightmoor is a neighborhood of focus under TechTown’s SWOT City program, which is intended to strengthen Detroit’s neighborhood and district economies. Through SWOT City, TechTown will work to stabilize existing businesses and support the intentional creation of new businesses that meet the unique needs of individual communities within the city.
TechTown and the Brightmoor Alliance are working together to identify struggling businesses that are integral to the long-term viability of the neighborhood, and to enlist potential entrepreneurs who can fill existing gaps with products and services that residents want and need.
As part of the partnership, TechTown will have dedicated office hours on Tuesdays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at 17405 Lahser in Brightmoor. TechTown coaches will be available by appointment for half-hour business “Tune Up” sessions during this time.
According to TechTown president and CEO Leslie Smith, establishing neighborhood-specific partnerships is a critical part of TechTown’s plan for revitalizing the city.
“We’re excited to work with our partners at the Brightmoor Alliance to establish a physical presence in the community,” she said. “We are eager to be part of its transformation and, ultimately, catalyze entrepreneurship in neighborhoods throughout the city.”
TechTown’s work in Brightmoor provides tangible evidence of the traction TechTown is gaining with its SWOT City program, which launched in August 2011. Broadly speaking, SWOT City is a long-term TechTown initiative designed to:
- Connect neighborhood businesses with key resources. Entrepreneurs are often starved for time, capital, staffing and technical assistance, but they can solve these problems by simply tapping available resources.
- Provide an objective, third-party assessment of each business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Entrepreneurs are heavily engaged in day-to-day operations and often struggle to think strategically to accurately address pressing issues.
- Support the establishment of new businesses to fill community voids and promote entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs are recruited to open businesses in neighborhoods in great need of a particular product or service.
Detroit-based businesses that enroll in the program first meet with TechTown’s business coaching team for an assessment interview. TechTown then completes a detailed SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of the business and provides recommendations. Entrepreneurs can choose to execute those recommendations on their own or work with TechTown business coaches under the terms of a 30-60 day engagement.
“TechTown sees neighborhood revitalization as key to Detroit’s long-term economic revitalization,” Smith added. “This partnership with the Brightmoor community is a critical first step toward the realization of these goals.”
TechTown works to reignite Detroit's entrepreneurial culture by fueling business growth, job creation and the revitalization of Midtown and beyond. Through its partners and programs, the nonprofit business incubator and accelerator connects small businesses to the customers, talent, capital and location necessary to build a thriving enterprise in Southeast Michigan. Its entrepreneurs also gain unique access to research, academic and technology assets through TechTown's partnership with Wayne State University. To learn more about TechTown and SWOT City, visit www.techtownwsu.org.