Hugh. La Feria. Batch Brewing Company. Sister Pie. All amazing Detroit companies. All winners of Hatch Detroit’s $50,000 prize to turn their operation into the brick and mortar establishment of their dreams. Anyone who is reading this, and has a dream to open a place like those should think about acting now.
After all, submissions for the 2015 Hatch Detroit Contest ends this Friday, July 24 at 11:59 p.m.
What is Hatch Detroit?
Founded in 2011, Hatch Detroit was created to give others the opportunity to have a role in the redevelopment of Detroit. The contest was built on an idea called “crowd entrepreneurship” where the community has a role in voting for the type of retail they want in their neighborhoods, and, of course, determining the winner of the Hatch contest.
Four winners have been announced, and several semi-finalists have opened or are in the process of opening.
There’s also a project working in Detroit’s neighborhoods. That new sidewalk in West Village? Hatch Detroit. Shiny signage on the Avenue of Fashion? Yep, Hatch too. So it’s not just about the one business; it’s about supporting a lot of different businesses at different stages.
After the submission process (remember, July 24 is your deadline) the field is narrowed down to the Top 10 semifinalists and after two rounds of voting on HatchDetroit.com it goes down to the Top 4, then the Top 2, until the winner is chosen and announced on August 28.
Though there can only be one winner, the amount of exposure and publicity a business gets from making the semifinals is huge. It’s like the Oprah effect, but way more Detroit-y.
Not only that, even if you don’t win the grand prize, in a way, you’re still a winner. Semifinalists get connected to people who can help their idea grow into reality. It’s priceless because in business, it’s about who you know AND who knows you.
If you want your submission to make the voting rounds, here are a few pro tips.
Contest judges are looking for a strong business idea, a firm grasp of the business’ budget, and for the business to be a traditional retail storefront that sells goods. Prove to the judges that the goods you want to sell support a sustainable business model and fill a niche within Detroit’s small business ecosystem.
Another rule of thumb: Sell your dream directly and concisely, but be sure to show your passion. Do not ramble. It shows lack of preparation. It is usually those who give their plan the most thought that summarize their vision in the fewest words. And because it is that important, let’s stress it again: think out your budget.
So take advantage of this unique opportunity, or at very least, support those that do with a vote. It’s one of the funnest ways to start (or support) a business you’re going to find.