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Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
This article describes how Wayne State University's TechTown is helping revive Detroit's hard-hit economy. TechTown got its start when then-Wayne State President Irvin Reid and a small group of business leaders in the city and state officials decided Detroit needed to embrace the business incubator idea that had been so successful in other regions such as Austin, Texas, with the support of the University of Texas and Research Triangle Park. Detroit was a major medical education and research city, and the governor had said he intended to use some funds from a tobacco industry settlement to support life sciences research. Launched in 2004, Detroit's TechTown was like most in existence at the time--narrowly focused on identifying and supporting efforts by trained academicians and seasoned entrepreneurs to turn their science and technology ideas into money-making ventures. It had everything it needed to get started: low-cost office and lab space from General Motors, and access to myriad professionals--known by TechTown clients as coaches or client champions and drawn from the ranks of Wayne State and its partners. Plus supplies, materials provided by Henry Ford Health System. After a few years, TechTown decided to significantly broaden its reach and embrace aspiring entrepreneurs of all stripes. Today, with more than 250 clients and millions of dollars in backing from several dozen public and private agencies in Michigan and federal grants, Detroit's TechTown is one of the largest and most diverse business incubators in the nation.