Spring Newsletter 2019

Great Lakes International Innovation Summit

Registration is open for the Great Lakes International Innovation Summit. The 2019 GLIn2 Summit will be held in Kalamazoo, MI from September 17 through September 19. The event will take place at the Radisson Plaza Hotel. A block of rooms is available at the Radisson for a discounted price of $145 per night. Don't delay reserving a room as not many rooms were held.

A special Kalamazoo beer tour will be offered on the evening of September 17. The tour will begin at the Radisson Plaza Hotel's Old Burdick's Bar & Grill at 5:30 with a trolley ride to Tibbs Brewing Company where we will enjoy a light dinner, 3 samples or a pint each, and a tour of the brewery. The trolley will then take us on a short tour around downtown Kalamazoo, narrated by a knowledgeable tour director and including complimentary snacks and bottled water. Next the trolley stops at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe where everyone will receive a full pour of beer, cider, or wine. The evening ends when the trolley delivers us all back at the Radisson Plaza Hotel at 8:30 p.m. The tour costs $60 per person and is limited to 25 people.

You can register for all activities and reserve hotel accommodations at https://www.glin2.com/. The code to receive the State Association Member discount is 2019State. A separate discount code will be provided to anyone who is selected to be a speaker at the GLIn2 Summit.

2019 MBIA Annual Member Meeting a Success

The 2019 MBIA Annual Meeting and Workshops was held in Flint on March 20. Fifteen participants made for an intimate, interactive conference experience.

Sandra Cochrane kicked off the day with a session titled "Legislative Advocacy -- Connecting with your Elected Officials." As a group we explored the differences between advocacy and lobbying, advocacy activities, and potential audiences that might need to hear advocacy messages.

Tom Hopper then led us on a discussion of Innovation Hubs. We debated the differences between Innovation Hubs and Super Hubs as well as their characteristics. This session also veered off into a fascinating discussion of pop-up spaces and the opportunity for innovation programs to utilize them as offerings.

Our third session was titled "[IN] on the Road -- Fostering your Entrepreneurship Center's Role in your Community." Paula Naas and David Merot described their programs in Flint and provided a tour of the Flint Ferris Wheel and the Pop-Up Shops on the ground floor of the Dryden Building. We had a lively discussion about inclusiveness, partnering, and current efforts across the state.

The fourth session, led by Joe Carr, focused on specialty accelerator programs. We learned about the new LEAP accelerator called PROTO InsurTech. The conversation ranged from how to start an accelerator to the challenges in recruiting corporate partners to methods of recruiting and screening applicants.

Thank you to all who attended and made the event so outstanding!

2019 Member Meetings

There are three more MBIA member meetings this year. Please plan to join us for the following.

June 18, 2019. MBIA will host a Legislative Day in Lansing. MBIA members are invited to bring a client and visit with their state legislators to share with them the success stories of their programs. Please make appointments directly with your representatives. MBIA will have a table in the west corridor in the capital building from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM and will provide refreshments for participants. Participants are encouraged to bring program materials to put out on the table.

September 17, 2019. MBIA is hosting a special Michigan-only event the afternoon of the day before the GLIn2 Summit. The meeting will take place at the WMed Innovation Center in Kalamazoo from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, and MBIA funds to pay for lunch for participants. The focus of this meeting will be how to use the business model canvas and we will complete a business model canvas for MBIA.

December, 2019. We are seeking a location and date for this final member meeting of 2019. The topic is "Next Steps for Startups: Programs to Help Companies Scale." Kevin Suboski, an Implementer for the Entrepreneurial Operating System, will present on what EOS is all about. We hope many MBIA members will come and share their ideas for how to serve second stage companies. MBIA will provide lunch for members who attend.

Upcoming TechTown Events

MedHealth Summit on April 18th at Hall of Legends at Ford Field "Where Healthcare Innovation Matches Are Made" - see details & register today at https://medhealthinnovation.org/summit/. MedHealth is transforming the way healthcare technology is discovered and sourced in Southeast Michigan and Southwest Ontario. One way we do it is by giving healthcare organizations, innovators, research institutions, and investors opportunities to participate in custom-matched, one-on-one meetings and educational programming. Register today so you can take part in our upcoming one-of-a-kind MedHealth Summit, where, together, we will help catalyze partnerships and support the growth of healthcare innovation businesses. No Cost to Attend!

 DTX Launch Detroit Applications close April 5th! See details and apply today at https://techtowndetroit.org/services/dtx-launch-detroit/. DTX Launch Detroit is a highly intensive, 10-week accelerator program designed to help college students and recent graduates explore their entrepreneurial potential, while attracting and retaining talent in the city of Detroit. Launch Detroit runs from May 21 through Aug 8, 2019.

Erie Hack 2.0 - QuarterFinal Pitch Competition occurs on April 13th @ i2C (Industry Innovation Center), located at 461 Burroughs St. Detroit MI Erie Hack is an innovation challenge that accelerates technology solutions to Lake Erie’s most pressing problems. During this year’s competition in 2019, Erie Hack will empower researchers, designers, engineers, developers and creatives around the region to build teams, develop innovations, and compete for more than $100,000 in prizes. RSVP for the April 13th Quarterfinal event at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/detroit-erie-hack-20-final-hacking-day-tickets-54612856524 "Save the Date" for the June 5th Regional Semi-Final @ Cobo Hall during the Sustainable Brands Conference.

MBIA Board Of Directors

The 2020 election is over and the MBIA board of directors is as follows:

Sandra Cochrane, President: Sandra has served as the President of MBIA for the past two years and was previously the vice-president for six years. A former member of the board of directors at the International Business Innovation Association (formerly the National Business Incubation Association), Sandra has been active in the entrepreneurial support ecosystem for the past 16 years. Sandra is the director of the WMU Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine Innovation Center in Kalamazoo. Sandra coordinates entrepreneurial training programs, and assists start-up and early-stage high-tech companies. Sandra earned a B.A. and an M.B.A. from Michigan State University and holds an InBIA Certificate in Business Incubator Management.

Carmen Wells Quigg, Vice-President: Carmen has been o the MBIA board for two years and served as the Vice-President this past year. She is a Project Manager at the University of Michigan’s Economic Growth Institute. She has personal experience in small business management through her background as a partner in both a small manufacturing firm and a start-up real estate investment company. She is a member of the InBIA and regularly participates in workshops, conferences, and events through the Michigan Economic Developers Association and the Women’s Exchange of Washtenaw, an organization supporting women in business in southeastern Michigan. Carmen received a Certificate of Entrepreneurship and Innovation from Purdue University Calumet in 2004.

Harry Blecker. Treasurer: Harry has been the MBIA treasurer for eight years and hopes to be re-elected to that position again.  As an SBDC senior growth business consultant, Harry is responsible for one-to-one counseling of a regional client portfolio as well as training activities with a heavier ratio of assisting growing companies. He is responsible for actively recruiting and building a growth company portfolio that result in high economic impact. He also assists the MI-SBDC with legislative, veterans, and microenterprise issues. Harry earned a BA and Master’s Degree from the University of Michigan.

Madelyn Pinder, Secretary: Madelyn has been the secretary of the MBIA for the past two years and has been a member for many more. Madelyn also serves on the events committee, helping plan fun and relevant events for all members. Madelyn has been with the WMU Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine Innovation Center since 2004. As Business Services Manager for the Innovation Center, Madelyn serves as the first point of contact for the client company employees and manages the day-to-day business activities of program, receives guests and solicitors for client companies, and serves as the face of the Innovation Center for visitors who come to the facility, working to ensure that the program is a positive experience for all.

Cheryl LeClaire: Cheryl has worked with the Michigan Tech Enterprise Corporation SmartZone since 2011 in several different capacities. Currently, she serves as the Facilities and Office manager at their offices in Houghton and Hancock, MI. As Facilities Manager, Cheryl is responsible for the day-to-day operations and general management of three SmartZone facilities. Additionally, she handles all of the organization's accounting, budgets, and event management. In 2016/17, Cheryl completed the Business Incubation Management Program through the InBIA, and is a certified coach in Wendy Kennedy's "So what, who cares, why you" methodology. Cheryl's lifelong skills in organization, communication, and technology make her an integral part of the SmartZone team and the Keweenaw community.
Joe Carr: At LEAP, Joe is the Startup Innovation Manager and Director of The Runway, Lansing's fashion incubator. Bringing experience from the Detroit and Chicago entrepreneurial communities he assists startups and entrepreneurs, connecting them to resources and expertise from area mentors. Prior, Joe served as a Technology Specialist for the Maker Studios project at the East Lansing Public Library, co-founded multiple startups and served as Production Manager at the first 3D printing retail/service hybrid store in the world. He is also a Startup Weekend winner and TEDx Labs presenter.
Tom Hopper: Tom is the Associate Director of the Muskegon Innovation Hub. At the Hub, Tom is responsible for general operation and for managing and delivering the business incubator program. In 2016, the Hub opened Muskegon’s first co-working space and Tom helped successfully grow it to a thriving community. Tom is an active member of both MBIA and InBIA, attending and presenting at numerous meetings and conferences. An innovator himself, Tom has served as the co-inventor on several patents, brought millions of dollars in successful new products to market, and developed new business processes that saved millions of dollars. Tom holds his bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from Alma College and a Master of Science degree in product development from the University of Detroit Mercy.

Congratulations to all board members, and thank you for your volunteer service and dedication to MBIA.

LTU Centrepolis funded by Michigan Energy Office to launch Michigan Cleantech Hardware Accelerator program

Matt Roush

SOUTHFIELD – The Michigan Energy Office (MEO) has awarded a one-year, $75,000 Michigan Cleantech Product Launch Program (MI CPLP) grant to Lawrence Technological University (LTU) and the Centrepolis Accelerator to launch a “Cleantech ScaleUp for Success” pilot program.

ScaleUp for Success is an immersive 12-month program – in this case, to support Michigan-based “cleantech” hardware entrepreneurs.

This new funding grant will allow the Centrepolis Accelerator to focus its product development, mentorship services, workshops, and events on supporting Michigan cleantech product companies to prepare products for market and manufacturing at scale.

“Cleantech hardware startups usually require extensive amounts of time and capital investment to bring their innovations to market,” said Dan Radomski, Centrepolis Accelerator director. “Their teams typically have limited manufacturing expertise, underdeveloped production plans, and inadequate access to quality product development and supply chain partners. These challenges cause hardware entrepreneurs to run out of time, funding, customer patience, and investors willing to support them. The MEO grant allows the Centrepolis Accelerator to provide critical resources and expertise to help Michigan cleantech hardware companies avoid these complexities, improve probability of success to launch their products, and grow their business.”

The new funding agreement represents the first grant that the MEO has provided to LTU.

“Today’s cleantech landscape is difficult for hardware startups. This grant provides energy startups with validation, incubation, and mentorship services which are critical to their success in the marketplace,” said Robert Jackson, Director of the MEO, which is part of the Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE).

The Centrepolis Accelerator is a Michigan-based accelerator that expedites the growth of “hardware” developers – entrepreneurs and companies that offer a physical product and process – by providing critical commercialization services using lean product development methodology. It also offers small manufacturers help with growth strategy and scaling up their business. It is supported by LTU, the city of Southfield, the Michigan Economic Development Corp., the New Economy Initiative, and, now, the Michigan Energy Office.

The Centrepolis Accelerator is part of the Southfield Centrepolis SmartZone and operates under a partnership between the City of Southfield and LTU. It plans to open a 6,300-square-foot accelerator space on campus later this year. Learn more at www.centrepolisaccelerator.com and www.southfieldcentrepolis.com.

The Michigan Energy Office is committed to promoting healthy communities, economic growth, and environmental sustainability through energy waste reduction (EWR) and renewable energy (RE). The office engages stakeholders to inform and develop Michigan’s energy future, participate in lead-by-example initiatives, and support energy literacy to develop a vibrant energy workforce. Learn more at https://www.michigan.gov/energy/0,4580,7-364-85452_86924_86925—,00.html.

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 100 universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.


ACRE AgTech Accelerator is On Track to Meet Michigan’s Innovation Needs

At the 2019 Pure Michigan Agriculture Summit, Jeff Mason, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), said it best: “. . . agriculture is in our DNA. Through new processes, tech, and products, Michigan farmers are transforming the industry.” At ACRE AgTech, Michigan’s only entrepreneurial support organization for ag, that is their focus: new processes and technologies that can transform the ag industry. The transformational science and founders are out there, but sometimes they need an infusion of capital and business assistance to get their technologies to the commercial market. To answer that need, in mid-2019 ACRE AgTech will issue a call for applications for its first cohort of accelerator program participants. In order to be selected for Michigan’s first ever accelerator program dedicated to agriculture, the applicants must demonstrate that their concept has high potential to address the specific challenge areas identified by ACRE AgTech. Challenge areas are identified through interactions that ACRE staff have had with agricultural leaders statewide, including farmers, trade associations, and agribusinesses.

Innovation is front and center in most industry sectors right now, especially in agriculture. Each year, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development publishes a magazine called Michigan Agriculture which showcases the many aspects of Michigan’s vibrant agriculture industry. This year, the magazine’s focus is on innovation, and ACRE AgTech was featured in an article alongside Michigan agtech innovators Digested Organics and FarmLogs. ACRE AgTech is a public private partnership designed to help drive the development much needed agricultural technology companies like these forward faster. According to MEDC’s Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fred Molnar, “We need accelerators and early-stage investors to ensure they have opportunities to attain the backing they need to bring their companies from ideation to commercialization.”

Early stage investors can see the opportunities in the agtech field, and they have the desire to invest. Yet venture and angel groups in Michigan do not do many agtech deals. This is often due to a lack of the knowledge about the agriculture industry that is needed to evaluate the deals, according to Grand Angels President Tim Parker. That is why he is now Chair of the ACRE AgTech Board of Directors. He wants to see venture and angel groups from across the state increase the number of agtech deals they have in their portfolios, and ACRE AgTech’s accelerator program can help bring deals to the table that are more investable. ACRE AgTech’s new partnership with GAN (a group of independent accelerators, partners and investors) will provide numerous benefits for the accelerator and its cohort participants as well, as they develop their concept and prepare to pitch to investors.

ACRE AgTech has been providing connections and resources to agtech entrepreneurs across Michigan since December 2014. ACRE, a non-profit entrepreneurial support organization, is supported from GreenStone Farm Credit, Watson IP, BizStream, Rehmann, Next Creative, Ottawa County, and the State of Michigan. For more information about ACRE AgTech and the launch of the ACRE AgTech Accelerator, please visit - www.acreagtech.com; follow - @ACREAgTech; or contact - info@acreagtech.com or 616.994.4745.
MBIA Template 1 - Spring Newsletter 2019