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Hatch Detroit Launches Small Business Alumni Relief Fund With $100,000 From Comerica Bank

Hatch Detroit Launches Small Business Alumni Relief Fund With $100,000 From Comerica Bank

Published 08-05-20

Submitted by Comerica Bank

Comerica Bank and Hatch Detroit are expanding upon their longtime partnership by announcing the Hatch Detroit Small Business Alumni Relief Fund to support alumni businesses of the Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest that have been financially affected by COVID-19. The $100,000 relief fund provides utility assistance for more than 40 Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest alumni businesses that have opened since the inaugural contest in 2011.

“Hatch Detroit remains actively engaged with its contest alumni, providing business support far beyond the funding presented to the contest winner each year,” said Vittoria Katanski, executive director of Hatch Detroit. “As we’ve contemplated how to help our alumni businesses, it became clear there are not many specific opportunities for small businesses to apply for utility assistance, and this is often a burden as revenues stop flowing but the bills continue to roll in. We’re thrilled to partner with Comerica on this first $100,000 of funding, and hopeful other corporations and foundations will step up to contribute as well.”

27th Letter Books wins Hatch Detroit Content

The new fund, the first of its kind to support utility assistance, replaces the annual Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest in 2020. Hatch Detroit will continue to seek additional funds to provide further support to its small business network.

Businesses, consumers and foundations who wish to aid in Hatch Detroit’s mission of supporting independent retail businesses through funding, education, exposure and mentoring can donate to the nonprofit by visiting

In addition, Comerica has invested an additional $50,000 to provide organizational support to Hatch Detroit in 2020.

“It’s no secret that COVID-19 has hit the Detroit area hard, especially the business community,” said Mike Ritchie, Comerica Bank Michigan market president. “The pandemic has undoubtedly affected existing businesses, as well as businesses that were planning to open. Trying to launch a new business in the current climate would be extremely difficult, that is why we are shifting our focus for 2020 to ensure Hatch Detroit alumni continue to succeed and weather this hardship.”

“Comerica Bank has built and maintained outstanding relationships with Hatch Detroit and countless other small businesses,” Ritchie added. “We’re proud to play a role in Detroit’s revitalization and to help small businesses thrive in neighborhoods across Detroit and the region. It’s important that now, perhaps more than ever, the backbone and lifeblood of our great city continues to emerge through this global pandemic.”

Since Comerica and Hatch Detroit’s partnership began in 2012, one year after the inaugural Hatch Detroit Contest, Comerica has now contributed more than $650,000 in startup funding support to the winner of the annual neighborhood retail competition as well as organizational for Hatch Detroit. Hatch Detroit has also provided more than $1 million of in-kind services to both contest winners and alumni.

Over the years, the Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest has helped launch some of Detroit’s most successful and well-known businesses, including Sister Pie located in West Village. Sister Pie owner Lisa Ludwinski is a 2020 finalist for the prestigious James Beard Awards in the category of outstanding baker.

Contest alumni all provide a unique approach to providing essential services in the city, and currently, six of the nine previous contest winners are serving neighborhoods such as Corktown, Midtown and West Village.

In addition to contest winners, alumni businesses remain strong advocates for the neighborhoods they serve by hiring people who live in the community. More than 500 employees across Hatch Detroit’s 44 businesses reside in Detroit, and Hatch alumni have collectively invested more than $7 million in their businesses, while five have either expanded or added an additional location.

“These small businesses were some of the first to help revitalize Detroit more than a decade ago, and they’ve withstood the test of time to survive in this up-and-down economy,” added Katanski. “We can’t, and we won’t, abandon them now – and thanks to all of our incredible partners, especially Comerica, these entrepreneurs can remain hopeful that they can stay in business in the years to come.”

“For our small business alums that were impacted by COVID-19, this is a vital time to support them as they continue this fight to stay open and remain viable,” said Ritchie. “The work is far from over, and as we move forward, it’s crucial to provide ongoing support to Detroit’s small businesses.”

About Comerica Bank

Comerica Bank, a subsidiary of Comerica Incorporated, has served Michigan longer than any other bank with a continuous presence dating back 170 years to its Detroit founding in 1849. It is the largest bank employer in metro Detroit and has more than 4,700 employees (FTE) statewide. With one of the largest banking center networks in Michigan, Comerica nurtures lifelong relationships with unwavering integrity and financial prudence. Comerica positively impacts the lives of Michigan residents by helping customers be successful, providing financial support that assists hundreds of charitable organizations, and actively participating in Detroit’s downtown revitalization. Comerica Incorporated (NYSE: CMA) is a financial services company strategically aligned by three business segments: The Commercial Bank, The Retail Bank, and Wealth Management. Follow on Facebook at and Twitter @ComericaBank.

About Hatch Detroit

Hatch Detroit is a Michigan based 501(c)(3) organization supports both existing and new retail initiatives in the cities of Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck. Hatch Detroit was founded in 2011 to give residents and aspiring entrepreneurs a voice in the redevelopment of Detroit. Beyond the contest, Hatch Detroit provides funding, exposure and mentoring in support of its alumni entrepreneurs. Together, Hatch Detroit alumni have opened 44 businesses, employ over 500 people, and have invested over $7 million in their businesses. To learn more, visit or connect with us on Facebook.


Comerica Bank

Comerica Bank

Comerica Incorporated (NYSE: CMA) is a financial services company headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and strategically aligned by three business segments: The Commercial Bank, The Retail Bank, and Wealth Management. Comerica focuses on relationships, and helping people and businesses be successful. In addition to Texas, Comerica Bank locations can be found in Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan, with select businesses operating in several other states, as well as in Canada and Mexico. 

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