April 2013

2013 Conference

The 2013 MBIA conference is almost here! Register now for the event at the Atheneum Hotel in Detroit May 15th and 16th. Register before April 17th to recieve the MBIA Conference discounted room rate.

The Starting Block Expands

The Starting Block in Hart, MI, is finishing a facility at its Hart Industrial Park location for start-up meat producers. According to Ron Steiner, The Starting Block director, this will be the first of its kind and will give people who want to produce meat products a USDA-certified facility to produce and package their products in an environment with a lower chance of cross-contamination. Guidance will also be given through The Starting Block to develop the required HAACP plans. The facility will be ready in April.

For more information on The Starting Block, visit http://www.startingblock.biz.


optiMize is a new program at the University of Michigan created to link entrepreneurship to social innitiatives in a competition for students interested in creating social change. Ranging from freshmen to graduate, the students competed to have their innovation ideas funded with the help of local mentors.

University alum Jeff Sorensen co-founded the initiative last semester, saying that he believed that programs hosted by Center for Entrepreneurship and the Entrepreneurship Commission of the CSG provided an outlet for students who wanted to be entrepreneurs “for entrepreneurship's sake,” and said optiMize was a platform through which students could “take action on problems that matter.”

“We’re really happy about the demographics because, unfortunately, a lot of the entrepreneurship initiatives here are like men’s clubs,” Sorensen said. “The proportions are not where they should be; we are really happy that about 40 percent (of optiMize participants) are women.”

On April 4, the 19 teams of students who worked with the optiMize team gathered to present their business pitches. Four to five teams will then take their developed businesses to compete for a stipend and showcase their products on April 18th at 7 p.m. at the University of Michigan Museum of Modern Art.

Read the full article from the Michigan Daily

MBIA Incubator Awards Now Accepting Nominations!

Each year, the Michigan Business Incubator Association (MBIA) honors one business incubation program and one client company that exemplify the best of the industry. These organizations have made important industry contributions through their products, services and programs. These awards are about the heart of business incubation. Urban or rural, specialized or mixed-use, and wherever they’re located, we’re looking for the next champion of business incubation!

Who’s eligible? All MBIA member incubators and their current client companies are eligible to apply. The Incubator of the Year Award recognizes overall excellence in business incubation. You can also nominate your companies for the Outstanding Incubator Client award. You don’t have to choose a single favorite: you can nominate up to two (2) companies! (See nomination materials for specific criteria.)

Why should I nominate my incubator or companies? Winning an MBIA award is an honor that recognizes excellence in the Michigan incubation community. You’ll gain positive exposure for your incubator and its client companies. Submitting nominations shows you’re serious about your program and that you believe the incubator, its board, staff, and clients all are winners. Also, the application process often proves useful in identifying and articulating program strengths and challenges.

What are the benefits of winning an award? You’ll receive a personalized framed certificate that identifies your incubator as an award-winning program. Additionally, MBIA will highlight your program in the MBIA newsletter as well as on its MBIA website, so visitors worldwide can see your program’s accomplishments.

To nominate an incubator or client, please fill out the nomination form found in the FILES section of the member-only area and send BY APRIL 17, 2013. Sign in on our home page.

The Can-Do Kitchen

Since 2008, the Can-Do Kitchen, a program of Fair Food Matters, has been incubating small food businesses and increasing the availability of foods made locally with local ingredients. It creates a low-risk environment in which start-ups can test products and their commitment to business ownership. The program connects business owners to business counseling, graphic designers, markets, and more, and supports them every step of the way. The facility is licensed with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and registered as an Acidified and Low-Acid Canned Foods facility with the FDA. In addition to TCB Food Processing, their graduates of the program are Kurry Guru and The Cheese Lady. The Can-Do Kitchen also has a social mission to create access to business incubation to those unable to afford it, to and revitalize an interest in food preparation and to strengthen the local food movement. By providing affordable cooking class space, hundreds of people have gained hands-on cooking, canning, and baking skills. This summer, the Can-Do Kitchen will offer scholarships to low- and moderate-income food entrepreneurs. The scholarships will provide $8,000 each to seven start-ups entering the Can-Do Kitchen. The non-profit organization, Fair Food Matters, works to improve the physical, economic and social health of the communities it serves through local food.

Fair Food Matters' Can-Do Kitchen and The Starting Block have just celebrated the graduation of TCB Food Processing LLC. TCB makes asparagus guacamole and asparagus salsa with local asparagus out of their new production facility in Lawrence, MI. Find their products in Meier, Kroger, and farmers markets across the state for a great picnic snack!
MBIA Template 1 - April 2013

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