Roundup: Hatch Detroit, TechTown, DeNovo, & More

Here’s a look at news you may have missed from Michigan’s innovation hubs:

—Comerica Hatch Detroit, the annual contest that awards $50,000 to the winning startup venture, will accept applications from entrepreneurs until July 24. (All applications must be filled out online.) In addition to the cash, the winner will also receive a package of services, including accounting, legal, and public relations. Once the top ten finalists are determined, the public votes online for the winner. The contest’s popularity has picked up momentum since its inception in 2012, garnering nearly 1,000 submissions and more than 162,000 votes cast in its first four years.

TechTown is accepting applications for its Fall 2015 Retail Bootcamp, described by organizers as “an intense, highly customized program that prepares serious, Detroit-based entrepreneurs with strong retail concepts for the successful launch of their business.”

The program is open to businesses located in or willing to relocate to Detroit who have proof of retail experience, funding sources, and a strong value proposition. Classes run from Sept. 14 through Nov. 3, and each three-hour class consists of coursework with business development and retail experts. The program culminates with Draft Day, where select participants will be awarded packages valued at up to $7,500. (Packages may include, for example, subsidized permanent or pop-up locations, a point-of-sale system, or an inventory subsidy.) All graduates will receive a professional services package valued at $3,500.

Retail Boot Camp applications will be accepted online through July 31, 2015. Want to know more? Check out an information session on July 1 at Coffee and (___), 14409 Jefferson Avenue, from 11 a.m. to noon.

Global Detroit, an organization dedicated to attracting and keeping international talent in order to help improve Michigan’s economy, released a new report last week in conjunction with Immigration Heritage Month. According to the report, which contained data compiled by the Partnership for a New American Economy and the WE Global Network, 45 percent of Fortune 500 firms in the so-called Rust Belt (which includes Michigan) were launched by immigrants or the first-generation children of immigrants. “A century ago, Detroit and the state of Michigan were home to large numbers of new immigrants seeking the land of opportunity,” said Steve Tobocman, Global Detroit’s director, in a press release. “Their innovative, entrepreneurial, and industrious spirit formed the backbone of Michigan’s economy over the last century.” Immigration, he added, should be embraced as a “critical piece of a prosperous economic future.”

Ann Arbor SPARK president and CEO Paul Krutko and vice president of business development, Phil Santer, are in Tubingen, Germany this week representing the region. The purpose of the visit is to sell Ann Arbor’s merits to German companies interested in opening an American office. German corporations like Zoller, Liebherr, and Eberspacher already have a presence in the area, Krutko said, and the trip is a chance to further position Ann Arbor as a business location that offers “unparalleled manufacturing and engineering expertise, quality workforce, and a high quality of life.”

The trip to Tubingen will also include a visit to two additional companies—Zeltwanger and Erbe—as well as the TTR Technology Park, and meetings with University of Tubingen technology transfer staff and the city’s economic development agency.

DeNovo Sciences, the Plymouth-based startup developing liquid biopsy technology, has hired Yixin Wang to be its new Chief Scientific Officer. Wang specializes in molecular diagnostics and previously played major research and development roles at Parke-Davis/Pfizer, Veridex/Johnson & Johnson, and Ventana/Roche.

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