Techtown Case Study

NEI Case Study Overview

The Problem

TechTown’s early orientation was in alignment with that of most local business-support organizations and policymakers at the time: it sought to respond to the vacuum left by the auto industry’s decline.

Prior to 2009, the year NEI began investing in TechTown’s operations, physical capacity and programs,TechTown faced a variety of internal challenges and external circumstances that constrained its capacity to serve a great variety of Detroit entrepreneurs — especially those not in tech or high-growth industries.

The Solution

In the early years, NEI funded tech programming at TechTown, because ‘New Economy’ really meant high-growth, high-tech at that time. As NEI transitioned away from high-growth, high-tech into more neighborhood-based, broader-based programming, TechTown expanded its work there too and played an important role in supporting anyone who wanted to start a business in Detroit.

That evolution took time and was a result of years of closely mapping metropolitan Detroit’s business support and acceleration ecosystem, probing for gaps and opportunities to foster regional entrepreneurship. What emerged was the realization that a complementary place to put the resources was in small business development.

The Results

TechTown’s outcomes have been significant: as of October 2020, the organization boasts about

jobs created

of funding leveraged into startups

companies served

coworking members and tenants

Learn more, including what we did well, and what we missed

Download the case study