TechTown Gets $800K Federal Grant From HHS For Neighborhood Redevelopment

DETROIT (WWJ) — TechTown Detroit has received an $800,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for community economic development to support ‘SWOT City Detroit’ over the next three years.

This project will expand TechTown’s SWOT City program into three new neighborhoods — the East Jefferson Corridor, Grandmont Rosedale and Osborn.

The three-year grant shows the federal government’s commitment to Detroit and gives the SWOT City team the time to conduct full SWOT assessments in each of the three neighborhoods and plan its strategy with neighborhood alliances before entering into a full-scale engagement in each neighborhood.

This grant was announced following the visit of White House officials to Detroit last Friday, when administration discussed how the federal government will remain an active partner in Detroit’s revitalization and how the idea of ‘one Detroit’ is one that must come to fruition and cannot be recognized without neighborhood revitalization.

SWOT City Detroit is an essential piece of ‘one Detroit,’ as it represents a critical effort to stabilize and enhance the Detroit neighborhoods that are being left behind by large-scale, high-end redevelopment efforts in the Midtown and downtown districts of the city. Because the SWOT City program delivers TechTown acceleration services to underserved neighborhoods through partnerships with community and economic development organizations, the team becomes ingrained in the community in which it works.

“We have a deep legacy with place-based programs, and our SWOT City program was developed from thinking, ‘What about everybody else?’” said TechTown President and CEO Leslie Smith. “There’s a lot of economic development activity happening in Midtown and downtown, but that also needs to happen in the neighborhoods in order to see a fully
revitalized Detroit. This grant allows us to expand our program into three new full-scale engagements, and we are delighted.”

SWOT City Detroit will provide business assistance, entrepreneurial services and training to businesses, residents and other stakeholders in these Detroit neighborhoods through a three-pronged expansion. It will begin by assessing the community and its businesses, move to assistance and end with sustainable practices. These activities will result in the creation of 40 new positions at the rate of $23,000 per job, each of which will match the skills and geographic location of low-income residents of the neighborhoods and, additionally, will retain at least 530 jobs and create a minimum of 10 new businesses.

Over the duration of the grant, the SWOT team hopes to encourage entrepreneurship in low-income neighborhoods, ensure the positive changes made by SWOT City Detroit are sustained beyond the time period and raise awareness of the opportunities present in targeted areas for the creation and expansion of businesses. These objectives will unlock economic potential and entrepreneurial ingenuity in areas of the city that have, until now, been overlooked.

TechTown is a Midtown-based business accelerator and incubator. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and is located within the Woodward Technology Corridor SmartZone.

To learn more about TechTown, visit techtowndetroit.org.

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