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Removing barriers for young, aspiring technology-based entrepreneurs

The Launch Detroit 2020 cohort meets virtually as they learn to cultivate their unique tech-based businesses.

One day you may see commercials for ForHer Cosmetics, a vegan make-up line that engages children in STEM education; or you might happen upon Nepo, a new automatic system that opens public doors for paraplegic and handicap individuals.

If so, don’t forget – you heard of each, here, first.

These are only a couple of examples of businesses that young tech entrepreneurs are currently developing through the Launch Detroit program at TechTown Detroit. The program is a 10-week summer accelerator for Michigan-based college students and recent graduates, which provides hands-on, practical workshops and mentoring with a strong focus on creating unique, scalable tech businesses. The 2020 cohort consists of 14 businesses, all chosen based on their potential for great impact.

“We are intentional about recruiting participants who are connected to Detroit and want to build their businesses in Detroit,” said Marlo Rencher, Ph.D., Director, Technology Based Entrepreneurship at TechTown Detroit.

While participants often have the ideas and the drive to achieve their goals, they do not always have access to technology-based entrepreneurial programming or the mentorship necessary to evolve their businesses.  Furthermore, participants may not have the financial support to forego an income for an entire summer while they devote themselves to a full-time program.

In an effort to remove these barriers, including the financial strain, Children’s Foundation awarded $10,000 to Launch Detroit to support four student entrepreneurs. Each student received $2,500.

By design, the program boosts their confidence and professionalism as tech founders, giving these young entrepreneurs the opportunity to see out their dreams.

“We have participants from BIG 10 universities and community colleges. We are intentional about inclusion because talent can come from anywhere,” Rencher said.

In its seventh year, Launch Detroit has restructured itself into a completely virtual program due to the pandemic. Still, they maintain strong community with insightful and intimate learning opportunities despite the physical distance virtual learning requires. Regardless of the change in format, the end goal remains the same: to help participants to self-identify as technology entrepreneurs now – and in the future.

Help us improve the health and wellness of more children and families.

You can help us reach more children and families by making a gift to The Children’s Foundation. Click here to make your gift.

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