Nick Gorga, a Detroit native, created a contest to bring together creative minds and retail pitches for the betterment of the community and called it Hatch Detroit.

Hatch was founded in 2011 and the goal was to give the public a role in the redevelopment of Detroit. Five years later, over 12 businesses have permanent addresses in the city and many more have gone on to continue their product.

Gorga went to school for law and soon after graduating he moved to Chicago to work for a law firm. He said he watched neighborhoods develop and redevelop around him and he appreciated the change happening around him.

He brought his Chicago experiences back home in 2008 and wanted to make an impact.

“I wanted to help play a role in the revitalization in the city,” Gorga said.

The Hatch Board of Trustees receives over 200 full-fledged business plans each year and the board narrows it down to a solid grouping. Then, a group of four business owners from the community narrow it further down to 10 business contestants. When the 10 semifinalists are chosen, the public gets to vote and narrow to four finalists. The four finalists then re-pitch their ideas to the chosen judges at the annual Hatch Off event and they review the public’s votes and the pitches and makes the final decision for who will be awarded $50,000 to start their dream.

“What’s unique right now about Detroit is that the growth has been a collaborative effort,” Gorga said. “The people have a significant investment and Hatch tapped into people’s collective desire to have a say.”

Gorga said the whole process is a multiplier effect and watching the business plans evolve and come to life has been a rewarding and interesting experience.

With work being done to improve the quality of life in Detroit and add to the richness, many of people’s hobbies, jobs and charities sometimes run together making for a diverse team effort.

“Everyone’s doing their best,” Gorga said.

Previous Hatch winners include Hugh, La Feria, Batch Brewing, Sister Pie and this year’s winner, Live Cycle Delight.

Check out hatchdetroit.com to read more history, view alumni stories and more.

Written by Erica N. Rakowicz / Photo credit: Facebook and Downtown Publications


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