What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
We have worked with the University of Michigan's Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studie
s, the U-M Center for Entreprenuership
, TechArb, Ann Arbor SPARK, and the U-M Frankel Fund
. We have also competed in several business plan competitions including, Dare to Dream
, Michigan Business Challenge
, and the Rice Business Plan Competition.Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
Nothing to announce yet but come talk to us soon.Where did you find your first employee?
He saw a description we had published for a career fair and reached out to us.Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
We have not had any interns yet, but we have one employee that was part-time while he finished school and we recently made him a full time employee.Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
For seed funding we put in our own money, and received a grant from Dare to Dream. We recently won an award for placing second in the Rice Business Plan Competition
, and received the Norm C. Harbert Summer Accelerator Grant from TechArb
.Name an idea, policy or mindset from elsewhere that you would like to see this region adopt?
I don't really have the experience to answer this question, but I have heard many people in the entrepreneur and venture capital community say that the culture in Michigan has a very low risk tolerance. Here, if you start a business and it doesn't succeed you are considered a failure. In the Bay Area, if you start a business and it fails you are considered experienced. Again, I don't have the expertise to properly evaluate that analysis, but growing up in Michigan, I would agree that we tend to be risk averse, and most of us set a goal of getting a great job, rather than creating one.What could local leaders do to help attract and retain more entrepreneurial young people to Metro Detroit?
That's extremely difficult, and I don't think there is a formula. I am encouraged that in Ann Arbor there is a huge effort towards creating resources that help entrepreneurs succeed, including Ann Arbor SPARK
, TechArb and other programs through the University. Whenever we have needed resources we have found someone willing to help. I don't know what the correct steps are but the fact that we have so many people putting time and energy into helping entrepreneurs succeed means we are heading in the right direction.