When he entered this year’s Hatch Detroit small business competition, Elias Khalil of La Feria felt very much an underdog. "I'm old fashioned, I don’t really use social media, which seems to be how most people get votes" he says. Out of 260 entrants, he was shocked and delighted to make the top 10, and the hustling began in earnest.
In addition to the necessary evil of creating Facebook and Twitter accounts, Khalil pounded the pavement, leaving fliers around town and personally spreading the word. Tens of thousands of votes later, his concept for a Spanish-style tapas bar in the Cass Corridor came out on top, with a $50,000 reward to be used to develop the business.