Annual small business contest Hatch Detroit revealed its top 10 lineup of projects on Thursday evening. The participants are vying for a $50,000 small business grant and $200,000 in free startup services. Hatch is known for identifying some really exciting projects. Spots like Sister Pie, Batch Brewing Company, La Feria, and Detroit Vegan Soul have all participated in past rounds of the summer Hatch competition.
Similar to previous years, the semifinalists — selected from more than 160 applicants — included a large number of food and beverage businesses alongside retail projects. As of midnight the first round of public voting is open, giving community members a chance to weigh-in on who will advance to the finals. Get to know this year’s contestants below.
Food and Beverage:
- Baobab Fare is a restaurant, market, and juice bar, that will offer prepared foods, groceries, juices, and retail products from East Africa. Husband and wife team Mamaba Hamissi and Nadia Nijimbere are refugees who moved to Detroit within the past several years from Burundi. So far they’ve not secured a space for their restaurant and shop but are hoping to open near the West Village neighborhood.
- Bar Botánica is a craft cocktail bar and cafe aiming to open in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood in spring 2018. Owners Lisandra Fernandez-Silber and Natasha Fernandez are in the process of signing a lease on a space. The project is influenced by botánicas—shops that sell plants, herbs, candles, and other mystical products used in Afro-Caribbean spiritual practices. During the day it will serve as a coffee shop and by night will offer cocktails and small plates. The bar will focus primarily on rum, mezcal, and tequilas. The couple hopes to convert the building into a greenhouse-like space with a “mini farm” of edible flowers used in the drinks.
- Bendicion de Dios is a four-year-old Salvadoran catering company owned and operated by Cecilia Ardon. By winning Hatch she hopes to transition her business into a brick-and-mortar restaurant serving savory pupusas, sweet plantain empanadas, beef and chicken stews, tamales, breakfast platters, and panes con pollo (chicken sandwiches). Bendicion is still in the early stages of scouting a location.
- Coop Detroit has already signed on as a vendor at the forthcoming Detroit Shipping Company food hall in Cass Corridor. The poultry-centric restaurant will blend Caribbean and Asian flavors together in grilled chicken dishes. Chef/owner Maxcel Hardy hopes to use the Hatch money to purchase vehicles for delivery and catering and scale up his marketing in the neighborhood surrounding Wayne State University. He would also use the funding to invest in equipment for the restaurant such as an Argentinian grill and a wok.
- Rosedale Beer & Bistro is a project from Detroit Beer Co. brewer Justin Riopelle and Derrick Collins. The pair intend to open a full-service restaurant and brewpub in Northwest Detroit. The bar will feature between 10 and 12 beers on tap alongside, wine, and cocktails. The food menu will focus on “American-style and Southern” cuisine, according to Riopelle. The pair have already purchased a building along Grand River Avenue in Rosedale Park and are waiting on permits to begin construction. Rosedale Beer & Bistro aims to open sometime between late-2017 and early 2018.
Non-Food and Beverage:
- Bases is an all-natural, organic one stop shop for DIY homemade external skin and hair care products. Customers are able to customize products to their specific needs and liking.
- The Lip Bar is a beauty brand that aims to “disrupt traditional beauty ideals.” The products are free from harsh chemicals and use natural and organic oils. The products are responsibly made and affordable.
- Detroit Blows will offer blowout hair styling services that utilize non-toxic, high-performance products in a comfortable atmosphere. Detroit Blows has already secured a space in downtown Detroit.
- Fam is a clothing store that features contemporary menswear in Detroit. The company hopes to create sustainable manufacturing jobs in Detroit.
- Rebell Nell is a jewelry company in Detroit that manufactures jewelry by hand using recycled graffiti. The company employs women who are transitioning out of shelter living, educate them on financial literacy, business, and life wellness, and empower them to live an independent life.
Voters can cast ballots up to four times a day between now and August 17 at midnight. Four finalists will be revealed on August 18. The public will then get another chance to vote until noon on August 25. Finalists will then present their pitches to a panel of local judges who will grill the competitors with questions and help select the winner.
Regardless of the winner, Hatch Detroit provides assistance to semifinalists to help see their businesses to fruition. That means one can bet these restaurants and bars will be popping up in Detroit sometime soon.