DETROIT – Backstage Detroit, a three-month program designed to give underrepresented founders the support they need to reach the next critical milestone, is hosting its kick off party March 13 at the Lear Innovation center.

Backstage, a national program, focuses on funding women and minorities. Companies participating in the Backstage Accelerator will receive $100,000 checks in exchange for five percent equity stakes.

In addition to the funding, Backstage is providing mentorship, introductions to investors, and a curriculum focused on the needs of underrepresented, early-stage founders. In addition, corporate partners Microsoft and Mailchimp are providing access to Azure credits and other resources.

Monica Wheat is the Managing Director of Backstage Detroit.

For being situated in a city with such industrial roots, Backstage Detroit’s crop of young companies — each working to meet their next big milestone — is a mixed tribe of makers, techies, and retail entrepreneurs,” she said. “In the spirit of The Renaissance City, our cohort boasts companies from haircare to on-demand luxury manufacturing, medtech to entertainment marketplaces, and even eco-friendly butt stuff.

“These companies may not share a market or business model, but they will share a headquarters and a life-changing entrepreneurial experience as they take on the three-month Backstage Accelerator,” Wheat said.

For the complete list of companies in the Detroit cohort, click on