TechTown gets $800 thousand grant to grow small businesses

TechTown gets $800 thousand grant to grow small Detroit businesses

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DETROIT, Mich. (WJBK) -

TechTown has received an $800 thousand federal grant to expand its business-growing program into three more Detroit neighborhoods.

"We're looking to build a network of businesses and also collaborate resources," Dejuan Vann tells Fox 2's Alexis Wiley. Vann is with the Osborn Business Association. The association is located in one of Detroit's deadliest neighborhoods, but they are working to change that.

And TechTown wants to help change that and create new jobs. The midtown business incubator and accelerator is bringing its SWOT city program to three more Detroit neighborhoods: Grandmont Rosedale, East Jefferson and Osborn. The program is designed to help entrepreneurs launch and strengthen businesses in their communities.

LINK: Read more about TechTown's SWOT City

"Working with the businesses, we can help solidify that business, help them grow enough to hire people. Our goal is to get people that are at or below the poverty line ... to get them up above that level,"  TechTown's Managing Director, Derrin Leppek, says.

The Department of Health and Human Services is funding the three-year program with an $800 thousand grant, a big win for a program that's just two years old. SWOT City launched in Brightmoor and has helped retain 80 jobs and launch two business in the neighborhood. Now, they're ready to share that success with more Detroit neighborhoods.

"There are existing challenges here that are big. We can't solve all of them, but we can do our part to help change it and move it forward just a little bit," Leppek says.

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