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Entrepreneurship : Innovation & Job News

498 Entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All

Out of flowers? Flour? Businesses contend with supply crises

Excerpt

When heavy rain pelted Central America, Shane Pliska couldn’t get shipments of taupe-colored roses he needed for clients’ weddings.

“Of course, this was the season when everyone wanted champagne- and gold-themed weddings, and the champagne part was all taupe roses,” said Pliska, owner of Planterra, a commercial florist and owner of a wedding venue where the decor is all about flowers and plants.

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Pitch Club, for entrepreneurs and startups, will be hosted at University of Michigan Law School

Kyyba Innovations, Bodman PLC and TiE Detroit are hosting Pitch Club on Wednesday, April  18, 2018 at University of Michigan Law School. Pitch Club is a mentoring and funding program aimed at connecting the various ecosystems and smart zones throughout Michigan. Pitch Club has ongoing monthly events that provide entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn from seasoned entrepreneurs and investors. The events are meant to educate, network, inspire and provide valuable experiences for being investable. As part of the events, 3 lucky entrepreneurs will receive the opportunity to practice their pitch and discuss business plan with funding experts, giving them a better understanding the mindset of an investor. Events are hosted monthly on Wednesday evenings in Michigan cities including: Ann Arbor, Detroit, Lansing and Grand Rapids. 
 
The April 18th event at University of Michigan Law School will include 3 startup presentations, a pool of judges, and a special guest “Founder & CEO” keynote speaker. 
 
Registration and application can be found at: www.PitchClubMI.com

Keynote
Hannan Lis , CEO, Lis Ventures
 
Judges
Sridhar Lakshmanan, Educator, Entrepreneur, Mentor, University of Michigan, Dearborn
Robi Mitra, CEO, K&A Resource Group
Jim Tenzillo, Senior Associate, Invest Michigan
Lorne Zalesin, Vice President Sales and Marketing, DroneView Technologies LLC
Michael Godwin, Founder/Managing Director, Resonant Venture Partners
Dave Feidner, President, Crestone Summits, LLC
 
Agenda
5:00pm – 5:25pm Registration
5:25pm – 5:30 pm Opening Remarks
5:30pm-6:30pm Company Presentations
6:30pm-6:35pm – Introduction of Keynote
6:35pm-6:55pm –Keynote
6:55pm – 7:10 pm – Q&A with Audience
7:10 pm – 7:30 pm Networking
 
Thank you to our sponsorsCheck out the entire calendar and get registerd here: http://kyybaxcelerator.com/calendar-registration.php
 
The select pool of the companies chosen to pitch at the monthly Pitch Club events will be provided investment opportunities in the form of presenting to the investment team of Kyyba Innovations and TiE Detroit Angels during their quarterly Angels meeting. Investment opportunities will range from $25,000 to $100,000. TiE Detroit Angels funded companies, if qualifications are met, also could have the chance to present to the TiE Global Angel Alliance (TGAA). TGAA is a global platform for funding that exposes startups to a broader investment pool and opportunities to raise additional funds much larger than any single TiE Chapter or local Angel Group. TGAA recently invested $395,000 in Zeto, and $450,000 for Hemex Health from the TiE Global network.

Testimonials
 
“Pitch Club provides a tremendous opportunity for cross-pollination and increased deal flow across Michigan, something that currently is not at the level it should be. This program will be very valuable for both the startup entrepreneurs and investors and will hopefully create a meaningful dialogue, as well as a technological and economic impact for the entire region,” said Tel Ganesan, Managing Director, Kyyba Innovations“In order to make this initiative even more successful, I encourage seasoned entrepreneurs in each of these areas to join us by serving as a mentor.”
 
“From the elevator pitch to the public pitch to the investor pitch, the more successful entrepreneurs are pitching, the more integral this will become to their success. We are pleased to partner with Kyyba Innovations to help entrepreneurs to gain exposure, insights and support that will help them truly move the needle,” said Paul Riser, Director of Technology-Based Entrepreneurship at TechTown Detroit.

"Access to investors and the opportunities to pitch without having to travel are signs of a healthy startup ecosystem,” said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK. "We are excited to have the Ann Arbor region included in Pitch Club; this new avenue for connecting startups and potential funders is a terrific addition to the existing ways entrepreneurs are able to attract capital as well as the investors already interested in what's happening here."

About Kyyba Innovations:
Kyyba Innovations is a global accelerator and collaboration eco-system that provides innovators and entrepreneurs the environment to enable their ideas to become reality. We provide services that allow startups to scale to the next level. We do this by investing in businesses and leveraging our network to empower your organization to accelerate your mission forward. 
 
About Bodman PLC:
With more than 150 attorneys in offices throughout Michigan, Bodman PLC has delivered extraordinary results to our clients for more than 85 years. Our attorneys provide savvy business counsel to some of the region's most successful companies and individuals on a broad range of issues, and we provide clients with the personal attention of a small firm with the talent and skill expected of the nation’s leading law firms.
 
About TiE:
The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), was founded in 1992 in Silicon Valley by a group of successful entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and senior professionals with roots in the Indus region. There are currently 13,000 members, including over 2,500 charter members in 61 chapters across 18 countries. TiE’s mission is to foster entrepreneurship globally through mentoring, networking, education, incubating, and funding. Dedicated to the virtuous cycle of wealth creation and giving back to the community, TiE’s focus is on generating and nurturing our next generation of entrepreneurs.

12-year-old Michigan girl gets candy product into Walmart

Excerpt

Alina Morse, the 12-year-old founder of Zolli Candy, The After You Eat Treat, announced that she has expanded her 250k Smiles Program to 1 Million Smiles as her line expanded into 4,000 plus Walmart stores. A resident of Wolverine Lake, Michigan, Morse made the announcement on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) live on CNN, Feb. 27.

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Lawrence Tech-based business incubator receives state grant to continue fostering innovation, growth

Small manufacturers and hardware entrepreneurs throughout the southeastern Michigan region could be better equipped for success, at least up until March 31, 2019, as it's been announced that the Lawrence Technological University Collaboratory Gatekeeper Business Incubator has received further funding.

The Michigan Strategic Fund has granted the business incubator a $100,000 extension as part of its total of $1.7 million in grants awarded to foster entrepreneurial support throughout the state.

This marks the third such grant for the LTU business incubator, allowing it to continue helping small manufacturers and hardware entrepreneurs in their scale-up efforts. The focus of the incubator remains on early-stage technology companies in the product design, engineering, and prototyping and manufacturing sectors.

"Collaboration resources such as those available through Automation Alley, TechTown and SmartZones across Michigan are essential in providing our state’s entrepreneurs the necessary support needed to spark innovation and spur the business economy," Fred Molnar, vice president for entrepreneurship and innovation at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, said in a statement. "The continued funding of these programs demonstrates their impact in not only building and growing startups in Michigan, but in attracting out-of-state talent."

The LTU incubator falls under the city of Southfield's SmartZone, a state program that fosters the growth of tech businesses and jobs by connecting universities, research facilities, and industry to one another, building a network of growth. The business incubator itself connects business leaders with everyone from mentors to college students, from workshops to workspace.

Visit the LTU Collaboratory online to learn more about its programs.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

SS Digital Media selected as finalist for Killer Content Awards

SS Digital Media, a nationally recognized digital marketing agency, is a finalist for the Killer Content Awards, in the category “Measurable ROI.” The awards are bestowed annually by the B2B Marketing Exchange at a ceremony in February in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“This is what it’s all about,” says president Nick Skislak.  “I feel it solidifies us as a leader in digital marketing that focuses on measuring ROI.  We don’t just ‘drive traffic’ or ‘get clicks,’ we’ve focused heavily the last seven years on user experience and customer journey.  It’s great to be recognized for that.”

In 2017, the agency has been a finalist or has won a half dozen local and national awards for strategic marketing excellence. Michael Taylor, creative director and agency partner, says, “Our approach is as scientific as it is creative, because success relies on a delicate balance between the two. The data doesn’t lie, and when understood and used properly, the data is the difference between a mediocre campaign and one that gets truly amazing results.”

The agency’s work for Avian Enterprises impressed the judges because of the results generated by solution-based content created for the company that supplies bird-repellents for farms, golf courses, dairy barns, and outdoor venues. Prior to this, products had been sold primarily through distributors. Now, Avian has a thriving e-commerce presence and has seen an increase of 511% in online sales revenue.

About SS Digital Media

SS Digital Media is a nationally recognized digital marketing and advertising agency in Troy, Michigan, focused on e-commerce companies. Services include e-commerce strategies and development, search and social marketing, brand strategy and implementation, website design and optimization, video production, measurement and reporting. For more information, please visit www.ssdigitalmedia.com.


New co-working space for entrepreneurs and small businesses opens in downtown Pontiac

There's a new co-working space opening in downtown Pontiac, and it's hoping to gather like-minded people and grow a community of entrepreneurs and start-ups.

It's called Pontiac Tribe, and the co-working space is celebrating its grand opening with an open house on Thursday, Feb. 8, from 5 to 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Ben Carr is looking to jump-start downtown Pontiac's start-up scene. One of the things the community was lacking, he says, was a co-working space that offered desks, conference space, and a collaborative environment. While co-working is a trend that has taken off in downtown Detroit, Carr believes that Pontiac is uniquely situated to become a start-up destination in its own right.

The city is not only located in the center of Oakland County, but its centrally located within the region itself. Carr contends that leaving from Pontiac, he can meet clients in either downtown Detroit, Ann Arbor, or Port Huron, and all within 45 minutes. And towns like Flint aren't that far away.

"Hopefully this opening will attract people that want to be in Pontiac," says Carr. "This is dedicated office space that's affordable, and without driving all the way to Detroit."

Pontiac Tribe occupies 1,800 sq. ft. on Saginaw Street, a floor above two street-level breweries, Exferimentation Brewing Co. and Fillmore 13 Brewery, and each with their own kitchens. Desks, private offices, and a dedicated conference room are available to rent on a monthly basis, ranging in prices from $155 per month to $350 per month. Fresh paint and carpet are complemented by modern amenities like wifi Internet service and more.

Carr's own business is among Tribe's tenants. He owns and operates advertising firm Ad Local, and does so out of Pontiac Tribe. He believes that the co-working environment can only help grow his firm.

"I can work from home if I want to. I don't need an office but I wanted to plant my business here and grow it here in Pontiac," says Carr. "There's nothing like Tribe here in Pontiac."

Pontiac Tribe is located at 7 N. Saginaw St. Ste. 300 in downtown Pontiac.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Southfield debuts online toolbox to increase odds of success for small business

A healthy small business community is vital to any city's success. With the announcement of a new online interactive toolbox for small business owners and entrepreneurs, the city of Southfield hopes that its newest investment in small business will further nurture along existing businesses while also help to attract new ones.

It's called the Business Catalyst, and it provides local business owners and would-be entrepreneurs with several data sets to help them inform their decision-making and succeed. Data includes information on business climate, industry trends, customers, competition, local opportunities, zoning controls, workforce, and available properties.

According to Southfield’s business and economic development director Rochelle Freeman, the Business Catalyst is a resource designed to help business owners thrive in Southfield. The online toolbox will be kept up-to-date and easily accessible.

"It can be challenging for new businesses and entrepreneurs to find the correct resources and information they need to create effective business plans," Southfield Mayor Kenson Siver said in a statement. "The Southfield Business Catalyst will address these challenges by providing the most current data available in one convenient place. We’re excited to offer this toolbox and want entrepreneurs to know that Southfield is open for business!"

The Business Catalyst website also serves as a promotional tool for the city itself. The online portal touts the benefits of Southfield's infrastructure, access to high-speed fiber optics, broadband, and satellite services, as well as its central location within the metro Detroit region.

Interested entrepreneurs and businesses can access the Southfield Business Catalyst online.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Southfield debuts online toolbox to increase odds of success for small business

A healthy small business community is vital to any city's success. With the announcement of a new online interactive toolbox for small business owners and entrepreneurs, the city of Southfield hopes that its newest investment in small business will further nurture along existing businesses while also help to attract new ones.

It's called the Business Catalyst, and it provides local business owners and would-be entrepreneurs with several data sets to help them inform their decision-making and succeed. Data includes information on business climate, industry trends, customers, competition, local opportunities, zoning controls, workforce, and available properties.

According to Southfield’s business and economic development director Rochelle Freeman, the Business Catalyst is a resource designed to help business owners thrive in Southfield. The online toolbox will be kept up-to-date and easily accessible.

"It can be challenging for new businesses and entrepreneurs to find the correct resources and information they need to create effective business plans," Southfield Mayor Kenson Siver said in a statement. "The Southfield Business Catalyst will address these challenges by providing the most current data available in one convenient place. We’re excited to offer this toolbox and want entrepreneurs to know that Southfield is open for business!"

The Business Catalyst website also serves as a promotional tool for the city itself. The online portal touts the benefits of Southfield's infrastructure, access to high-speed fiber optics, broadband, and satellite services, as well as its central location within the metro Detroit region.

Interested entrepreneurs and businesses can access the Southfield Business Catalyst online.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Pontiac's Catherine Johnson on how G.I.R.D.L.E. helps women build self-esteem

Pontiac resident Catherine Johnson knows the value of valuing oneself.
 
“I realized, through my own experience, that when your self-esteem is not high, it causes you to make bad decisions sometimes and then you're not able to reach your full potential,” she says. “I’ve overcome it by reading a lot, affirmations and just by doing self-talk that I am who I was created to be and I can fulfill my purpose and that I don't have to compare myself to someone else.”
 
And since 2013, Johnson has been actively helping other women in her community to believe in themselves through G.I.R.D.L.E (God Is Raising Devoted Ladies For Excellence), a support group for women aged 12 and older who live in Oakland County. The groups are designed to help them see their value.
 
“We help women by addressing topics that let us know whether or not we have issues with self-esteem,” she says. “We talk about our thinking patterns; first you have to change your mindset and then your actions, and then your behavior will change.”
 
The organization takes on topics like depression and self-care, issues that are particularly important to women, according to Johnson. Currently, the organization is funded through donations and an annual fashion show, and Johnson says more is needed. She sees the need in the community for expanded services; she'd like to find a permanent physical location for the organization as well as funding staff a nurse and a counselor.
 
“Women tend to have more of an issue with self-esteem than men,” she says. “From a young age, usually around 10 or 11, women start having issues with self-esteem, and there is no real help for us. Because of the things that I went through in my life, I want to be able to help at least one person overcome those barriers.”
 
The group has helped one woman realize a dream of publishing her book, and another to face and overcome the trauma of rape. The groups meet every other month and decide what topics to cover based on their needs and interests.
 
Johnson says the idea for G.I.R.D.L.E. came to her during Bible study.
 
“There was a scripture that said, ‘Gird up your loins,’ and we know a girdle shapes and supports us and that's what G.I.R.D.L.E. wants to do,” she says. “We want to shape women and to give them the support they need, so they can reach their full potential, that they can be who they were created to be.”

January LTU Collaboratory events

The Lawrence Technological University (LTU) Collaboratory is on a mission to accelerate the growth of Southeast Michigan’s small manufacturers and hardware entrepreneurs by providing access to key resources specific to their unique needs. The Collaboratory provides leaders of these businesses with access to mentors, workshops, cutting-edge technologies, corporate connections, college students, events, workspace, and a collaborative community of peers. Additionally, Collaboratory clients will soon have access to a state-of-the-art 6,200 sq ft facility featuring additional workspace, training facilities, and a premier manufacturing technology lab. Among the Collaboratory’s programs are Scale-Up For Success and Hardware Massive.

Scaling for Success: Leaning Your Product Design!   Jan 19, 2018, 8:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Location: Munro & Associates, 1140 Centre Road, Auburn Hills, Michigan, 48326


The Build4Scale training program is designed to help advanced manufacturing and “hardware” product developers with scaling their business.  Companies that would find the most value in this training program are those that have a unique physical product or process, have already developed prototypes or low volume production and need to move to a higher volume scale. • Designing Your Product for Manufacturability, Durability and Cost Reductions• Developing a Bill of Materials (BOM) & Bill of Process (BOP) as a method to support quality and reduce components and manufacturing steps.


The Lean Startup and Basics of Customer Discovery   Jan 20, 2018, 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Location: LTU Buell Building M336


What is a “lean” startup?  This workshop starts by introducing the concept and principles and outlines the methodology of lean.  Avoid spending inordinate amounts of time, energy, and money only to fail for reasons you could have predicted. Then: You have what you think is a great idea for a product or service.  But how do you know if there’s actually a money-making business around it?  The workshop continues with the basics of “Customer Discovery:” the process of validating your hypotheses to quickly determine how to move forward for success.


Tech Tuesdays: The Impact of Autonomous Driving on Business  Jan 30, 2018, 8:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Location: LTU Buell Building M336


Autonomous driving capabilities are being offered in vehicles today with higher level of automation expected in the near future.  The session will provide intelligence on the visions systems and sensors that are enabling autonomy in vehicles as well as inform on what is driving this movement, businesses likely to be disrupted, and business models that are likely to be created.  This session looks at both the challenges and opportunities this faces for suppliers of durable goods and the lasting impact autonomous driving will have on the broader automotive value chain.

Rochester Hills couple builds gourmet catnip company from scratch

Rochester Hills couple Rich and Lisa Jackson launched gourmet catnip company Skinny Pete's Gourmet Catnip this fall, though they've been developing their products and working the floors of trade shows for longer than that.

It was in 2014 when Rich, a professional director and visual effects artist -- wife Lisa is a producer -- was sitting at a coffee shop, working on an illustration of a cat. While listening to National Public Radio on his headphones, a story came across detailing a growing industry: Gifts for pets.

Around that same time, Rich noticed that wild catnip was growing in their garden. Imbued with an entrepreneurial spirit, the Jacksons saw an opportunity. And thus the seeds for Skinny Pete's Gourmet Catnip company were sown.

The Jacksons say there are two main focuses of their business. Their catnip is a high-quality, organic catnip. So much so, in fact, that they say that it makes for a good tea suitable for human consumption.

The other aspect that separates their product from the pack is the Skinny Pete packaging. The gourmet catnip is sold in packages of three varieties: Blue Meowy Wowy, Furmaceutical Grade, and Purruvian Pink. The catnip comes in artfully designed tins, keeping the product fresh and fresh-looking.

"We have three cats at the house, and they each respond to the catnip differently," says Rich Jackson. "Panda responds as if its a stimulant. The one we call Skinny Pete gets real lethargic. And Tucker gets real lovable and affectionate."

"Cats that ingest it act differently than the ones inhaling it."

Though they've only been officially on the market for a month or so, the Jacksons say that the response has been fantastic. The main bulk of their sales come directly from their website, though they also sell at local independent retailers. The Jacksons sell cat-related apparel and poster on their website, as well.

"One thing we've noticed with our clients is that they really love their cats," says Lisa Jackson. "There are real emotional connections there."

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

123Net surpasses over 100 employees

123Net, an internet service provider based in Southfield, recently hired its 100th employee—and the company continues to grow.

According to the company, the "arms race for more bandwidth has driven 123Net to continue hiring to keep pace." The jobs filled recently include fiber team employees, fiber designers, a software designer and several sales employees.

123Net offers services in sectors like automotive, healthcare, software, finance, and its mission is to get the the entire state connected. According to the company, which was founded in 1995, it is continuing to expand its 3,500-mile fiber network throughout Michigan. It also aims to expand its team at least 30% every year.

"We pride ourselves on hiring diverse, Michigan-based talent," 123Net President and CEO Dan Irvin says in a release. "This business was built on the backs of hardworking Michiganders hired from our own backyard."



 

Innovative Learning Group recognized as a MichBusiness "Designing Star"

Innovative Learning Group, Inc. (ILG) has received a Best of MichBusiness award in the category of Designing Stars for its corporate headquarters. The award recognizes those companies that create a great working space.

“In designing our space, my goal was to provide an environment where we can collaborate; do focused individual work; be comfortable; host our vendors, clients, and colleagues in the learning community; and be inspired to create engaging learning solutions for our clients,” says ILG CEO Lisa Toenniges.

ILG worked with design firm Young & Young Architects in Bloomfield Hills, builder Kelly Building & Development Company LLC in Birmingham, workplace interior design and furnishing company iscg in Royal Oak, and interior designer Melody Smith in Birmingham.

ILG’s corporate headquarters opened in February 2016. It is 10,100 square feet and was completely renovated from a light industrial building.

The Best of MichBusiness Awards honor the companies and individuals that make Michigan a great place to explore, connect, and thrive. Awards were distributed at the 2017 Best of MichBusiness Awards and Gala held on Nov. 30 at the MGM Grand in Detroit.

About Innovative Learning Group, Inc.

A performance-first learning company, Innovative Learning Group, Inc. creates custom training and tools that help employees of Fortune 1000 companies do their jobs more effectively. Headquartered in Troy, Michigan, ILG is a privately held, certified Women’s Business Enterprise founded in 2004 by CEO Lisa Toenniges. Visit www.innovativeLG.com to learn more.

Vectorform's Vazzano talks VR, AI, IoT and digital transformation

Excerpt: 

Vectorform co-founder Jason Vazzano talks about his digital transformation company in Royal Oak that works with Amazon, Walt Disney and other big players to help them innovate, another of the Tech248 Member interviews conducted by Irene Spanos with Oakland County government.

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New store mixes fun merchandise with charitable giving

Excerpt

Shoppers support charity with every item they buy from Tenacity Boutique, a new clothing and gift store in downtown Milford. 

“Our M.O. is supporting charities that are dear to us. We wanted to give back on a lot of levels,” said Genise Horsley, who owns the shop with her husband Eric. The couple also owns the adjacent women’s apparel shop, The Clothing Cove.

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498 Entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All
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