DETROIT (WXYZ) — Techtown, Detroit's entrepreneurial hub, is back in business. The re-opening was a challenge, figuring out how to transform a largely collaborative networking space into one that’s safe.
For the 200 plus entrepreneurs that depend on Techtown, not having a place to meet and to grow in the early days of the pandemic was hard. but thankfully, tech town is on the rebound along with the businesses that make it whole.
Feels like stepping into the “new normal! Temperature checks at a touch-free thermal scanner, a mandatory COVID-19 waiver, and new HEPA filters that continuously pump outside air into the building.
'We have a transitional space so you might be co-working part of the day then having a cup of coffee in the kitchen area.'
Turning an open format co-working space into one that’s safe, while keeping the spirit and heart of this entrepreneurial hub intact. A place where you can come to interact with other small businesses and entrepreneurs and learn from each other and work together.
A walk around the recently opened business incubator and you’ll find newly minted directional arrows that ensure one-way traffic.
"We’ve added these plexiglass dividers they’re moveable so you can shift them around as needed," said Kelly Kozlowski, Chief Operating Officer of Techtown.
Even free Barista style coffee, to limit public contact with typically high touch, high germ areas. Every measure about the survival of a working space critical to those who depend on it.
"Our business involves a lot of resources that we can’t necessarily split apart virtually," said Sean Carroll.
Sean Carroll and Ramy Habib are the bio-medical engineers turned entrepreneurs who founded Honeycure.
"The first scientifically backed all-natural veterinary wound care product on the market," said Ramy Habib.
A blend of manuka honey and essential oils, the wound care ointment is made in part in Techtown’s offices. So when the pandemic hit, they lost critical manufacturing space.
"We had to move our production space back into our homes," said Habib.
With many of the 300 plus pet supply stores selling HoneyCure forced to close by the pandemic, "It was very difficult, it was very stressful," said Habib. "But we survived."
Now, they’re on the mend, relieved to be back and leaning on Techtown's resources in a slightly upgraded, home away from home.
Techtown has offered so many services to us and helped us survive in so many ways," said Carroll.
"Even in a global pandemic, the need for a strong network within a community for those small businesses and entrepreneurs, it’s essential," said Kozlowski.
In a few short weeks Techtown will be opening up to outside visitors looking to reserve open meeting spaces so keep that in mind as for Ramy and Sean, they’re focused on HoneyCure and have even jump-started a second business packaging hand sanitizer.