Fall 2015

Follow Us!

Sandra Cochrane

Did you know that MBIA has an account on many social media sites?  You can follow MBIA on these sites and keep up with news, events, and interesting subject from the world of entrepreneurship.  Follow us, and we'll follow you right back.
Facebook: Michigan Business Incubator Association
Twitter: @MichIncubation
LinkedIn Group: Michigan Business Incubator Association


The Next Iteration of the University Research Park

Jeff Smith

Brookings defined the Innovation District as the “geography of innovation,” with the primary function to be a hub of educated, innovative, startup-minded, people and companies. University Research Parks suit that definition well. In the past, land adjacent to the University had been reserved for industry sponsored research, talent attraction, tech transfer, incubators, and co-creation; and the Research Park was born. 

Today, research parks are mature and include uses such as housing, retail, incubators, private and public users, and entertainment options. The Innovation Districts identified by Brookings are today’s fully functioning research parks. For those parks that are being considered for development today, the Master Plans must include a walkable, 24-hour community that is centered on knowledge transfer.  

The demands have changed slightly and businesses and employees want to be in a cluster of activity and within a short stone’s throw to a coffee shop or café’. Pete Engardio of Bloomberg describes the change in demand as a trend toward living, breathing communities, rather than compounds of research silos.  

Demand is dictating transit systems, housing variety, retail selection, and entertainment that also include elements of research and creation. The separation of uses was a trend, for the sake of safety and abundantly available inexpensive land. But now, Innovation Districts and Research Parks are moving toward one another. For many existing parks, there is enough time and available land to make adjustments to Master Plans to include additional uses and multiple layers of connectivity.   

The next iteration of the research park is here and it is a great example of economic development that includes, incubation, acceleration, growth and expansion, housing, and retail, while keeping higher education collaboration at the core.

Culture Matters!

Jane Graham

Many thanks to our member partner Turnstone for providing this blog article for inclusion in the MBIA newsletter.

Companies large and small are waking up to the fact that culture matters.

Founders, entrepreneurs, and intrapreneurs, the innovative teams within large organizations, are on a mission to create exciting, authentic environments that communicate a sense of personality, passion and self-expression. They're looking to enable and sustain the kind of agility that makes quick pivots and the constant flow of ideas possible. When these flow together in equal measure, what results is something we're calling startup culture.

For the past year, Turnstone researchers, in partnership with Steelcase WorkSpace Futures researchers, traveled the U.S. to spend time with founders of small companies to learn about what they value, how they do business, how they craft their teams, and perhaps most interestingly, how they foster a culture that produces engaged employees and attracts and retains talent.

After sifting through months of notes, we've identified four common values in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. If you're ready to activate your own sense of startup culture, here's how you can put them to work for you:

1. Passion: Passion is that guiding north star that catalyzes founders and entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams and ideas for the world. Whether those dreams take root in a new product, app, non-profit venture, innovative service or other pursuit, passion drives everything founders do. What's more, they put their passion on display in their space to inspire their team and influence company culture. This kind of persistent optimism and laser focus helps attract and retain like-minded talent who not only bring skills to the table, but a shared vision and commitment to the work.

TIP: Wondering how to weave your passion into your surroundings? Display your mission statement and work-related motivational quotes on your walls, highlight customer wins, testimonials and photos of your efforts to communicate your dedication.

2. Agility: The agile work environments of startups is amazing: no bureaucracy. No red tape. No committees. But it isn't just the organizational structure that remains agile—it's the physical space, too. Workers have been supplied with options and available spaces to move between standing height tables, traditional desks and lounge settings—and they have the freedom to use them all. This kind of flexible environment promotes the fast exchange of ideas, strategy and action items, directly impacting business results.

TIP: Want to become more nimble? Offer your team a palette of places and postures from which to choose throughout their day. Allow them to choose the settings that best help them to focus, and model their use yourself.

3. Personality: Much like passion, personality is key for startups. Gone are the days of beige and boring spaces—these founders inject their unique view on the world into everything they do. For many entrepreneurs, this exhibits itself in the curation of unique items for their space: reclaimed or repurposed wood. Rich materials like wool and felt. Commissioned artwork. Founders have realized that feeling comfortable in your space is the first step to being engaged and productive, two things that spur forward movement for the company.

TIP:  Inject personality into your space by paying attention to small details and spending money on the things you value most. If you lead a team of coders who sit most of the day, perhaps task chairs top your list. If your people congregate to the cafe or lounge, add more of those spaces. Regardless of what you plan to do, do it in a curated way that represents who you are and what you're about.

4. Authenticity: The freedom to truly be yourself without compromise is the holy grail of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. We don't want to pretend to be something we're not when we get to the office—we want to be accepted and authentic inside the workplace and out. To do this, celebrate each person and the diversity they bring to the team by inviting people to bring in photos, trip souvenirs and other personal items to add to the workplace.

TIP: With studies showing 50% of American workers put in over 40 hours a week, adjusting your office to match the people inside is critical. Try creating a wall designed to hold and display personal photos of your team and send the message that plants and other objects from home will always have a place at work, too.

Co.Starters Coming to Flint

Nic Custer

This September, Flint residents will have the opportunity to attend a CO.STARTERS business boot camp and be better prepared to develop their own start-up ventures.

The nine-week program, produced by Sprout Lab of Grand Rapids, will teach team building, customer relations, marketing and branding, business structures, accounting, business planning and elevator pitches to a group of local participants. The last session of the course is a pitch competition, which allows the participants to compete for a spot in the annual Pitch and Prize Showcase with teams from other statewide Sprout Lab boot camps. The winning team receives several thousand dollars to launch their idea. Please see http://sproutlab.org/costarters.html.

OU INC Teams With Strategic Partners for Exciting Upcoming Events

Whitney Miller

OU INC, a state designated SmartZone business incubator and innovation center, cultivates a healthy environment for the growth of new startup companies as well as providing support for growing companies. Collaborating with strategic partners and Oakland University broadens the programming resources, has resulted in the following recent and upcoming events. Learn more about OU INC at: http://wwwp.oakland.edu/ouinc/
Through partnership with Oakland County, tech248 connects with over 2,000 tech companies in Oakland County to stimulate growth in the tech industry. Tech248 aids tech companies by providing access to talent, connectivity, and branding. On September 16 from 4:00 to 6:00 PM, OU INC is hosting tech248’s #TrendingInTech meetup! Join other tech-minded individuals for a unique networking event where you mold the discussion based on the latest topics #TrendingInTech that you want to hear about. Register today at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tech248-september-meetup-registration-17918955077
On October 23, Oakland University will be hosting its second TEDx Oakland University conference! TEDx events are one-of-a-kind community gatherings with a focus on sharing ideas that provoke wonder and inspiration. This year’s event will be open to the general public and will bring together the area’s brightest minds for an unforgettable experience. OU INC is proud to be part of a university that engages with the community and promotes the sharing of imaginative and innovative ideas. To learn more about TEDx Oakland University visit their website: http://tedxoaklanduniversity.com/.

MBIA Annual Membership Dinner & Workshops

MBIA Annual Membership Dinner & Workshops
Tuesday, September 29, 1:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Join us for a day of networking, learning, sharing, and supporting entrepreneurship in Michigan. More details will be coming soon in a separate email.

The event will be held at the The H Hotel in Midland, MI.

Reserve your room at:

Draft Agenda (Subject to Change):
1 pm - 2 pm - Registration
2 pm - 3:15 pm - Break Out 1 - Intro to Incubation OR Advanced Incubation Roundtable
3:30 pm - 4:45 pm Break Out 2 - Angels and Incubators OR Advanced Roundtable cont.
5 pm - 6:15 pm - Networking Reception and Dinner Registration
6:15 pm - 8 pm - Dinner with business meeting and keynote address

Please register at this link:

click here to setup an email reminder for this event

Discounts for Returning Members & NBIA Members

Sandra Cochrane

Are you a former MBIA member who let your membership lapse? If so, now is the perfect time to considering rejoining. MBIA is offering several new benefits that we think you'll enjoy. We know how valuable talking with peers can be. Learning new ideas and sharing best practices are the main purposes of the newly launched membership meetings. Offered every other month, these face-to-face meetings across the state are great ways to cennect on a personal level with others in your profession. And if you can't travel to the meetings, there is always a phone-in option. And in 2016, MBIA will partner with the Wisconsin Business Incubation Association to host an incubation conference in Milwaukee. Don't let the word incubation fool you--the conference will also address seed acceleration, co-working, crdowdfunding, and more.

Are you a member of the National Business Incubation Association, but not of the Michigan Business Incubation Association? Why not? The NBIA is a great organization--in fact almost half of all MBIA memebrs are also memebrs of NBIA. What does MBIA offer that makes it a worthwhile expense? MBIA offers local interaction and focus. The MBIA strives to pick up where the NBIA leaves off. MBIA is Michigan-focused organization that encourages local networking, performs statewide advocacy, and helps its memebrs stay current on Michigan issues affecting entrepreneurship. 

Hopefully you are convinced that MBIA is a valuable organization that can bring value to your endeavors. To encourage you to make the committment, MBIA is offering a 10% discount to former MBIA members and to current NBIA members who have never been members of MBIA. If you'd like to take advantage of this offer, please contact the MBIA office at michigan.incubation@gmail.com.

Tell Us What You're Doing for Global Entrepreneurship Week

Sandra Cochrane

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is fast approaching. From November 16 to November 22, 2015, people in countries all across the world will be celebrating entrepreneurship in a variety of ways, both big and small. Started in 2007 by Jonathan Ortmans, president of GEW, Carl Schramm, former president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation and Gordon Brown, former prime minister of the United Kingdom, the first GEW featured 37 countries and 18 host organizations. Just one year later, host organizations in 77 countries had officially signed on, and 3 million people participated in 25,022 events and activities.

Are you participating in GEW this November?  If so, MBIA would like to hear about your experience and share your event. Please send event inforamtion to michigan.incubation@gmail.com. We'll post your event on the MBIA calendar. If you have a success story or other article, send it to us for possible inclusion in the MBIA newsletter.  The best content always comes from members themselves.

Do you want to do something but you're not sure what to plan? Check out the activities database at the GEW website: http://www.gew.co/events-list. From panel discussion breakfasts to radio shows, workshops to summits, poster sessions to pitch parties, there are lots of great ideas to borrow. And once you plan something, share it with us at MBIA so we can help you promote it.

WMU inventors win $10,000 Brian Patrick Thomas Award

Stacey Markin

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The Western Michigan University duo that recently made headlines for winning the Lemelson-MIT National Collegiate Student Prize Competition has won another impressive award—the Brian Patrick Thomas Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.

WMU alumnus Stephen John of Portage and senior Joseph Barnett of Kalamazoo received the $10,000 award for their invention, NeoVent, a respiratory support device designed to treat critically ill infants in developing nations.

The Brian Patrick Thomas Entrepreneurial Spirit Award is to be awarded annually to the company in Starting Gate, WMU's student business accelerator, which seeks to move teams of people to a common cause with a higher social purpose. This is the inaugural award.

Please see the link for the complete story: https://wmich.edu/news/2015/05/24028

Entrepreneurial Events in MI

Capital Raise Meetup

Social Media: Facebook 101
This free seminar will give you a closer look at the popular social media network – Facebook.

Business Model Canvas Workshop
Learn the nine building blocks of the Business Model Canvas from an industry expert.

SBIR/STTR Proposal Prep for DOD
This one-day seminar presents essential information for crafting a competitive proposal to meet the mission, standards and requirements of the Dept. of Defense SBIR/STTR program.

This one-day seminar presents essential information for crafting a competitive proposal to meet the mission, standards and requirements of the Dept. of Defense SBIR/STTR program. - See more at: http://www.bbcetc.com/event/sbirsttr-proposal-prep-for-dod-3/#sthash.aT19cYIq.dpuf

Michigan Inventors Expo 2015
Come to the Inventor Expo where inventors can collaborate and network with other professionals from across the State.

What Drives Customer Choices?
Presented by TiE Detroit. As a follow-up to Raj Vattikuti's recent dynamic growth strategy session, this will dig deeply into the core reasons why customers choose your offering (or not!), and how this determines your growth.

Webinar: ABC’s of SBIR/STTR Funding
Is your technology company eligible for non-dilutive federal funding through the government’s SBIR/STTR program? Find out in this informative webinar.

Get Your Business Online – First Things First

What should your website look like? Before you can answer this question you need to know what role the internet should play in building your business. This free webinar will help you understand the role online presence has within your overall marketing strategy.

SBIR/STTR 101: Introduction & Overview
This half-day class helps small, technology entrepreneurs and businesses assess their eligibility to receive R&D funding through the government’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

Commercialization for Early-Stage Companies
While focusing on the science of their technologies, early-stage companies often overlook commercialization, which is the crux of any discussion of funding, SBIR or otherwise.

Webinar: How to Prepare a Budget for SBIR/STTR Proposals
Developing a proper budget for a grant or contract proposal should not be overlooked.  

SBIR/STTR Proposal Prep for NSF
This one-day seminar presents essential information for crafting a competitive proposal to meet the mission, standards and requirements of the National Science Foundation’s SBIR/STTR program.

Getting To Yes
For over sixty years the U.S. Small Business Administration has helped small businesses start, grow and succeed. Getting to Yes! provides an innovative solution to an age-old problem…increasing access to capital. In as little as 7-8 weeks, this challenging fast-track program will help you to complete your loan package and submit it to a variety of lenders of your choice.

Building Your Team
As your business grows, you’ll want to build your team to keep your momentum going and create an organization that is designed well to accomplish more. This webinar focuses on hiring your first employee and everyone after that.

emerge Xcelerate's Demo Day
Come see our first cohort of companies pitch their new technologies to investors. zthe event is free and open to the public.

Crowdfunding 2015 Conference
Learn the elements required to build a high quality local investment market through the MILE Act, when it is right for you, and how businesses and nonprofits can connect with investors.

Webinar: What You Need to Know About Gov’t. Audits
Technology firms who have received a grant or a contract, such as SBIR or STTR, are often unprepared to deal with a government audit.  Are you ready for an audit? 

MBIA Annual Membership Dinner & Workshops
HOLD THE DATE for the MBIA annual membership dinner and workshops. Join us for a day of networking, learning, sharing, and supporting entrepreneurship in Michigan.

The 15th Annual Great Lakes Women’s Business Conference
09/29/2015- 09/30/2015
This conference will address the needs of both aspiring and established business owners and will deliver strategies for succeeding in a highly competitive market. The conference is attended by women business enterprises, corporate procurement and supplier diversity professionals, government representatives and partner organizations.

Webinar: Learn About NSF’s SBIR/STTR Program
This informal session will provide a broad view of the National Science Foundation’s SBIR and STTR programs for those considering applying for upcoming NSF deadlines.  

Amy Cosper, Editor-in-Chief of Entrepreneur magazine
Join Amy Cosper as she discusses entrepreneurship and innovation, and how pushing boundaries will lead to your greatest successes.

Webinar: Practical Strategies for Indirect Rate Development
This session will explain indirect cost treatment and how to prepare an indirect cost proposal.  

Getting To Yes
For over sixty years the U.S. Small Business Administration has helped small businesses start, grow and succeed. Getting to Yes! provides an innovative solution to an age-old problem…increasing access to capital. In as little as 7-8 weeks, this challenging fast-track program will help you to complete your loan package and submit it to a variety of lenders of your choice.

SBIR/STTR Proposal Prep for NIH
This seminar presents essential information for crafting a competitive proposal to meet the mission, standards and requirements of the National Institutes of Health SBIR/STTR program.

Getting To Yes
For over sixty years the U.S. Small Business Administration has helped small businesses start, grow and succeed. Getting to Yes! provides an innovative solution to an age-old problem…increasing access to capital. In as little as 7-8 weeks, this challenging fast-track program will help you to complete your loan package and submit it to a variety of lenders of your choice.

Webinar: QuickBooks and Compliance for SBIR/STTR Recipients
This webinar will discuss how to manage your SBIR/STTR grant or contract to can improve your odds of moving from Phase I to Phase II, and Phase II to Phase III (transition and/or commercialization).  

Macomb Pitch 2015
MACOMB PITCH 2015: A Competition for Small Businesses. Congratulations to our Finalists!

Social Media: Twitter 101
You’ve thought about what social networks to use for your business or nonprofit, and you’re ready to take the next step. This free seminar will give you a closer look at the popular social media network – Twitter.

Webinar: Essentials of SBIR/STTR Commercialization Planning
A credible commercialization plans can be a key differentiator for SBIR/STTR proposals, so it’s important to know what the agencies are looking for and how to go about developing good plans.

More events can be found listed on the MBIA calendar at www.michiganincubation.org

MBIA Template 1 - Fall 2015