After 7 years in Chicago, attorney Nick Gorga, moved back to Detroit. He knew he wanted to help revitalize the city. Over a decade later, what started out as an idea captured on a cocktail napkin, is now a thriving economic development program called Hatch Detroit.

The organization was founded in 2011 with the intention of giving residents and aspiring entrepreneurs an opportunity to have a voice in neighborhood retail development in Detroit. This year it joined TechTown Detroit’s suite of entrepreneurial programs and services. The integration with TechTown offers a host of new collaborative opportunities between the two organizations which both champion and support small businesses in and around Detroit.

For the past 10 years, a unique contest has been Hatch Detroit’s claim to fame. It has awarded up-and-coming entrepreneurs a $50K grant to build out their brick and mortar storefronts in the city. This year, Comerica Bank doubled its commitment and offered a $100K grant to the 2022 winner. While all ten finalists will obviously not be recipients of the grant money, each is still attempting to open its business, and is worthy of ongoing financial support. This year’s Top Ten are:


This European dessert and pastry shop, will specialize in Romanian desserts and pastries. Their goal is to bring together the cultures of Detroit and Romania, while offering a taste of Europe, right in the heart of Downtown Detroit, no passport needed!

Craig’s Coffee

More than just a coffeehouse, this plan is for a community coffee roastery. It will include a coffee bar, but also plans to roast and sell its own coffee, while also offering fellow roasters a place to roast and sell their own products. Additionally, the space will serve as a commissary kitchen, where food and drink businesses can use the kitchen for food prep, storage and service.

Detroit Farm and Cider-FINALIST

a 4.9-acre commercial farm on the west side of Detroit has plans to build a cider mill and offer youth day camps and horseback riding classes.

Gajiza Dumplins-FINALIST

Already popular as a pop-up, this dumpling shop will specialize in Asian style eats and handmade dumplings from scratch. The dumplings come in more than 30 flavors and range from traditional pork and shrimp Shumai to contemporary western style, including miso cheeseburger gyoza or goat cheese and leek. Their focus is based on Asian street food: fast and delicious.

Jo’s Gallery Cafe

Aiming to add new depth to the famous Livernois Avenue of Fashion, this a pan-ethnic fusion restaurant will be adjacent to Jo’s Gallery. The 20-year-old art establishment is in the second generation of ownership. The restaurant will serve food with identifiable African origins and influences of Asian, South American, Caribbean, Mediterranean, and American fusions.

K. Walker Collective

Seeking to fulfill the fashion needs of young urban professionals, this high-street, lifestyle clothing company will offer an eclectic range of street, comfort and refined garments.

Lily’s & Elise-FINALIST

Planning to be another new addition on the Avenue of Fashion, this luxury tea lounge will primarily focus on the premium service of European-style afternoon and high tea. The tea service will include fresh pastries and small plates to accompany orders.

Little Liberia-FINALIST

This is an Afro fusion pop-up restaurant looking to find a permanent space to introduce Liberia’s rich multicultural cuisines to the people of Metro Detroit. They serve authentic Liberian dishes, a cuisine whose heritage is a mixture of African, Caribbean, and Antebellum-South African American influences.

Motor City House of Stone

Focused on providing character, stability, and grandeur back to the Detroit community, this will be a distributor of natural and engineered stone slabs in Southeast Michigan. They intend to carry a wide selection of Granite, Marble, Quartz, and other premium stone in their 10,000 square foot warehouse, so residents won’t have to travel to the suburbs for such purchases.

Pong Detroit 

Designed as a table tennis social club, this entity aims to provide a space where players of all skill levels and abilities can come together to get some exercise and play a fun, safe Olympic sport. In addition to hosting competitive ping pong matches, Pong Detroit plans to engage the community with Detroit youth programs, accessible play for adaptive wheelchair table tennis, and special programs for seniors.

The Top Ten Semi-Finalists were announced at an event held across from TechTown at the WSU Industry Innovation Center on June 16. That night public voting began to determine the five finalists. The Top 5 Finalists are Colfetarie, Detroit Farm and Cider, Gajiza Dumplins, Lily’s & Elise, and Little Liberia.

Next up is the Hatch-Off Competition on July 21 at the WSU Industry Innovation Center. The center is located at 461 Burroughs St. Detroit, MI 48202. The public is invited to buy tickets for $25 each, and watch the Top 5 businesses face-off with a pitch to a panel of judges at the Hatch Off. The fortunate $100,000 winner will be announced live that night. You can help choose the winner by voting online up until July 7.

Author: Lisa Diggs

Lisa Diggs is a writer, speaker, entrepreneur, business consultant, avid traveler, and founder of The Catalyst Company, LLC, Michigan Positivity Project, and Buy Michigan Now.