Winter 2015--Funding In Michigan

MBIA Board of Directors: Call for Nominations

Calling all leaders! It is time to nominate individuals for the MBIA board of directors. If you have a desire to serve and a few hours to spare each month, you could be just the person the board needs. The self-nomination process is easy--just write a brief, one-page letter telling the MBIA nominating committee why you want to serve on the board of directors. Round out your letter with your qualifications and experience in terms of entrepreneurship, incubation, and what skills and abilities you could bring to the organization. The MBIA nominating committee will select 10 candidates to run in the election in March 2016. The elected board members will be notified in May and they will take office in June. If you want to become one of the 7 members of the MBIA board of directors, email your letter to by January 31, 2016.

Annual Membership Meeting Is Rescheduled

The MBIA Annual Membership Meeting that was cancelled back in September will now take place on March 7, 2016 in Midland, MI. The location (at the H Hotel) and agenda are expected to remain the same, just the time will shift from an evening dinner event to a day-time luncheon event (10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.).  Please mark your calendars now and be on the lookout for additional information as it becomes available.

Two New Board Members Appointed

The MBIA Board of Directors welcomed two additions in October. Paul Jacques was appointed to finish the term of resigning board member Bonnie Dawdy. Paul works with the MSU undergraduate students on their business ideas and inventions to potentially get them to market. He also works with the State of Michigan community on all entrepreneurial efforts and events. Paul earned his Bachelor of Science in Advertising/Public Relations from Grand Valley State University and followed up with a Masters in Public Relations from Michigan State University. In addition, he also has taught classes at the university and has focused his energy on social media and its effects on commerce and society. He is the CEO of WeConnectTalent, a recruiting firm in East Lansing, COO of Spray and Play, a temporary sealant for toys, a partner of Pure Venture Capital, , a Founding Member of The NEO Center, a business incubator in Lansing, and director of Conquer, which is MSU's Accelerator.

Madelyn Pinder was appointed to complete the term of resigning board member and Secretary Amy Butler. Madelyn has been with the Innovation Center since 2004. As Business Services Manager for the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, Madelyn Pinder serves as the first point of contact for the client company employees. Madelyn manages the day-to-day business activities of SMIC, receives guests and solicitors for client companies, and serves as the face of SMIC for visitors who come to the facility, working to ensure that the Innovation Center is a positive experience for all. Madelyn previously served as Community and Investor Relations Specialist at Southwest Michigan First and participated in the planning and build-out of SMIC. She also gained development experience at Kalamazoo College and as Program Manager for a private foundation.

The MBIA board of directors is confident that Paul and Madelyn will be valuable members of the board. Both Paul and Madelyn will be up for re-election in 2016.

Get Involved! Committee Members Needed

Are you interested in getting more involved in MBIA? Do you have some good ideas you'd like to share? If so, consider serving on an MBIA committee. Both the events committee and the membership/marketing committee are looking for member input.

The events committee is led by Chris Moultrup and focuses on programming various events for members. These events include the MBIA annual member meeting (to be on March 7, 2016 in Midland) as well as a larger annual conference in collaboration with the Wisconsin Business Incubation Association. The joint WBIA/MBIA conference will be in Milwaukee in 2016. It is slated to take place somewhere in Michigan in 2017. For people who enjoy event planning, serving on this committee may be rewarding.

The membership/marketing committee is led by Sandra Cochrane and is dedicated to determining what kinds of benefits add value to MBIA members and delivering those benefits. This committee is also responsible for membership recruitment and outreach. If you like meeting new people and promoting MBIA, this committee is for you.

Committees typically meet via telephone conference call once a month for an hour. If you'd like to participate on one of these committees, please email Michelle at

2016 Member Meetings: Locations Needed

A new event that MBIA started this year will continue into 2016: membership meetings. These brief meetings are held every other month at various locations across the state. The goal of the meetings is to give members an opportunity to engage in face-to-face peer networking. Whether the membership meeting entails a facility tour, a guest speaker, an update on state or federal programs, or some other topic of interest, everyone benefits from sharing thoughts and perspectives. Although the meetings are designed to foster face-to-face interaction, members who want to participate via telephone are always offered a call-in option. All membership meetings are from noon until 1:00(-ish) on the first Monday of every other month. We are seeking locations and topics for the following dates in 2016:

January 4
May 2
July 11 (the second Monday due to July 4th holiday)
September 12 (the second Monday due to Labor Day holiday)
November 7

If you would like to host the membership meeting at your facility on one of these days, please email us at And if you have a topic you'd like to offer, like a guest speaker or a tour, please include that in your email message.

(NOTE: The March 7 event has already been scheduled. That will be the day MBIA hosts the re-scheduled membership event from fall 2015. This will take place in Midland, Michigan from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. More details will be sent out as they become available.)

Show Me The Money!

Some people say love makes the world go round, but money makes the business world go round. And just like looking for love, looking for money can be a long, heartbreaking process. So where does a startup go to find money, especially in Michigan?  Take a look at the information below to learn about some of the financing options for startup companies in the Great Lakes State.

Emerging Technologies Fund: Matching funds for federal SBIR awards.
Business Accelerator Fund: Funds used by participating business accelerators statewide to provide specialized business acceleration services to companies commercializing advanced technology.
MI Pre-Seed Capital Fund: A $6.8 million fund investing in high-tech start-up companies; $1 million is dedicated to a University Commercialization Fund to help universities transfer technology to the marketplace. Investments are made to turn innovative early stage Michigan tech companies into viable businesses, which expand and strengthen our state’s economy.

Invest Detroit: A group of funds dedicated to the development of the Detroit region. Funds include the First Step Fund, the Small Business Fund, and the Detroit Innovate Fund.

Bioscience Research & Commercialization Center: Provides startup and gap funding to promising Michigan-based life sciences and medical device ventures entering the commercialization phase of development.
Michigan Venture Capital Association: A list of venture capital firms operating in Michigan.
Michigan Angel Fund: Established by Ann Arbor SPARK and funded by the MEDC to help finance early stage companies in the state of Michigan and to attract additional angel investors to the Michigan entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Ann Arbor SPARK Microloan: For companies in the city of Ann Arbor with a product near commercialization, or that are ready to ramp up sales.
Automation Alley Pre-Seed Fund: For Southeast Michigan startup companies in competitive-edge technologies (e.g. alternative energy, advanced manufacturing, homeland security, information technology, etc.). Funds up to $50,000 investment.
Battle Creek Unlimited Direct Investment Fund: Fund is used to recruit businesses to Battle Creek and to help established businesses grow. The fund supports the economic development efforts of the City of Battle Creek and its designated economic development agencies. Both loans and equity investments are available from $30,000 to $500,000 (up to 50% of the total capital in any deal).
Lakeshore Seed Capital Fund: a $1M fund to assist startups and early-stage growth businesses with moving from concept to incorporation.
Macomb Community College Innovation Fund: Provides technology startups with awards of up to $100,000 so entrepreneurs can validate their technologies and prove out their business models. Investments focus is on companies in advanced manufacturing, information technology, alternative energy, healthcare, and supply chain and logistics. Award recipients must be currently located or willing to locate within Genesee, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Shiawassee, St. Clair, Washtenaw, or Wayne counties.
Northern Initiatives: Provides loans to small business owners and entrepreneurs that might not qualify for loans from traditional banks for a variety of reasons.
Opportunity Resource Fund: Provides loans of $10,000 to $250,000 for the start up or expansion of a small business previously denied credit by another lender and/or those who do not meet traditional underwriting criteria.
5X5 Night: At emerge 5x5 Night, the community will vote on their five favorite ideas. The five creators with the most votes will have five minutes each to sum up their ideas. Five judges from the community will then pick one idea to receive five thousand dollars to help make the idea a reality.
Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition: This international business competition is designed to highlight Michigan as a robust and vibrant venue for innovation and business opportunity. Top prize is $500,000.
Momentum Business Plan Competition: The $50,000 competition is open to anyone living in or agreeing to relocate business operations within Mason County, Michigan and continue operations in Mason County for a minimum of three years from the date of the award.

Green Light Business Model Competition: A startup event series that brings together entrepreneurs and small business supporters from all over the State of Michigan. In addition to networking with innovators and venture capital investors from across Michigan, participants pitch their new business ideas to a panel of esteemed judges for a chance at winning up to $50,000 in prizes.
Local Stake: Growing small businesses can raise between $50,000 and $500,000 in debt or equity funding from local investors efficiently, effectively, and securely. In return for their investment, investors receive either a share of the future revenues of the business, or equity ownership in the business.

CraftFund: A platform for local residents passionate about crafting better communities through investments in food, drink, and real estate development.
FundMIFriend: Connecting Michiganders looking to keep their investment dollars local with promising small and start-up businesses in the state in search of the capital each needs to get rolling and turn ideas into action.
Relay Fund: An online community focused on second-generation crowdfunding – funding focused on raising debt and equity for every day ideas, businesses and entrepreneurs.
ZipCap: Unique crowdfunded loyalty program that helps customers reward their favorite local businesses. ZipCap turns customer loyalty into a line of credit. Unfortunately, banks won't lend to most small businesses and the other options for capital are too costly to consider. Access to a line of credit through ZipCap will make a huge difference.

SMIC Client Wins Bernard Blum Award

Vestaron Corporation’s bioinsecticide technology is the recipient of the inaugural Bernard Blum Award for Novel Biocontrol Solutions, presented this week at the opening ceremony of the ABIM Congress in Basel, Switzerland, the largest biopesticide industry gathering in the world.
The Bernard Blum Award recognizes innovations that have a high impact in management of pests or diseases while having a low impact on human health and the environment. Judges unanimously selected Vestaron’s entry as the leading submission out of 13 entries. Vestaron received the award for its Spear ™ product line, a series of bioinsecticides derived from spider peptides with activity on Lepidopteran, Coleopteran, and several other classes of insects. The Spear product line also uses the addition of Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) to improve performance as a part of an integrated pest management system.
Dr. Bob Kennedy, Chief Science Officer of Vestaron, accepted the award on Monday.
“I am pleased to accept this prestigious award and am proud of the excellent work of the Vestaron team,” said Dr. Kennedy.
“On behalf of the entire Vestaron team we gratefully accept this honor. Bob’s leadership of the R&D team is evident and the execution of the science behind this groundbreaking new product has been exceptional. This award further verifies the importance of Vestaron’s discovery platform for new bioinsecticides with the efficacy and safety that these products bring to the industry,” said Dr. John Sorenson, Director and CEO of Vestaron.
About Vestaron Corporation
Vestaron Corporation exploits the natural insecticidal properties of a class of peptides which have potent insect killing potential, but which are safe to humans, birds, fish and the environment. These peptides utilize new modes of action that have never before been used for insect control, and therefore do not suffer from insect resistance. In addition to bioinsecticdes, the Company is also leveraging its peptide technology with the development of traits and synthetics that also have a favorable safety spectrum. Vestaron is a venture-backed company that recently closed an oversubscribed Series C round of financing, totaling $14M.
About the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center
SMIC is a 69,000-square-foot, purpose-built incubator/accelerator created to support life science ventures of all kinds, from the earliest startups to maturing companies. SMIC residents benefit from subsidized, low-cost laboratory, office and conference space; high quality scientific equipment and expertise; and a range of support services crucial to every life science business. SMIC opened its doors in 2003 in the heart of the Business Technology & Research Park at Western Michigan University and resides in a state-designated, tax-advantaged SmartZone. The region enjoys a rich history of life science innovation, an array of scientific and business know-how, and an amazing quality of life.
MBIA Template 1 - Winter 2015--Funding In Michigan