Skip to main content

“Good morning!” “How are you!” “It’s nice meeting you!”

I’ve been missing these energetic greetings since March. Living on Duke’s campus, I haven’t been meeting different people for three months. Though I was lucky to have my roommate accompanying me, this life lacked the excitement and freshness that I was so used to.

But now, I met 50 new faces as DukeEngage in Detroit started virtually. A welcoming Town Hall meeting at TechTown Detroit splashed the culture of this team on me, soaking me with passion and enthusiasm. I heard all the greetings at once, saw the 50 faces smiling at me and embracing me into their community.

TechTown has been supporting tech startups and local small businesses for over seven years and has developed a rich variety of fantastic programs that target different bodies and provide amazing resources. Though the company continues to seek feedback and evaluations from peers and clients, there lacks coherent documentation of each of the program stories, leaving gaps in team member’s understandings of each others’ work. This is where we came in, aiming to help codify the work TechTown has been doing, provide insights into how programs could collaborate more efficiently and dynamically, as well as give recommendations to further support Detroit entrepreneurs.

The work started swiftly. We quickly outlined the document, reached out to people we want to converse with, and developed lists of questions for each. This work means so much to me — I get to talk with TechTown team members, to learn about their personal stories and reasoning behind their work; I get to talk with entrepreneurs, both already successful and still on the way, who take innovation as habits and create value through continuous effort; and I get to reflect on how people, product, service, finance, business, and beyond could integrate to build a better Detroit community.

Interviews with TechTown team members have just started, and the abundance of information filled me with excitement. I hope to thoroughly exchange knowledge and expertise with each member of the Detroit community, to provide value to TechTown, and also equip myself with a brand-new mindset.