Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Free Social Media Conference - June 15

The 2012 Small Businesses Social Symposium separates itself from other local events. The half-day program is designed by business owners for business owners through engaging sessions which include insightful industry tips from recognized business leaders. More than 300 attendees are expected to gather for this year's Small Business Symposium. In addition to breakout sessions covering social media, website design, and managing your online brand, the event will feature local experts from businesses and business support organizations who will provide information and services to help your business grow.

Event Schedule:

12:00pm – 12:30pm Event Registration & Exhibitors Booths

12:30pm – 1:30pm Welcome and Keynote Speaker: David Lorenz, MEDC

1:30pm – 2:15pm First Workshop Series: Doughnuts and Search Marketing , Digital Marketing Panel with Lucy Ann Lance, Secrets to Successful Web Design

2:30pm – 3:15pm Second Workshop Series: Facebook Advertising, Digital Marketing Panel with Lucy Ann Lance, Secrets to Successful Web Design

3:30pm – 4:15pm Third Workshop Series: Customer Service in the Digirtal World, Facebook Advertising, Secrets to Successful Web Design

4:15pm – 5:00pm  Networking with Experts & Exhibitors Booths
To register please visit:  Please preregister as space is limited for this free informative half-day conference.  We look forward to seeing you June 15th at Washtenaw Community College.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

New MI-SBTDC Growth Group Consultant

The Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC) hires experienced business consultant to join the Growth Group Team. Catherine Abad  will now serve as the Growth Group Consultant for the Greater Washtenaw MI-SBTDC, working with growing companies throughout Southeastern Michigan assisting with business expansion, improved profitability, restructuring, and financial analysis.

“I am very pleased announce that Catherine has joined the statewide  MI-SBTDC Growth Group Team. Cathie has worked as an independent contractor for the MI-SBTDC since 2005 covering Hillsdale, Jackson and Lenawee Counties. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience that will be an invaluable addition to our Growth Group Team,” stated Greater Washtenaw Regional Director, Charles Penner.
Cathie is an entrepreneur and business advisor with extensive SEO, market research and business marketing expertise. Before joining the MI-SBTDC, she owned a manufacturing firm and a marketing/graphic design agency. Cathie has worked with partner agencies in Southeastern Michigan providing entrepreneurial support and assistance.
“Her expertise and experience with her own businesses will offer great assistance to growing companies. We look forward to having her continue with our network in this expanded capacity,” stated Penner.
As a Growth Group Specialist, Cathie will provide business counseling and assistance to advanced growing companies in Southeast Michigan. Cathie will be based in Ann Arbor and will have an office at the MI-SBTDC Greater Washtenaw Regional office at Washtenaw Community College.
The Greater Washtenaw Region will continue to provide assistance for the Hillsdale, Jackson and Lenawee area. Businesses seeking assistance  may visit and complete an online counseling request form or call the office directly at 734-477-8762.
The MI-SBTDC Growth Group is an experienced team of professionals who guide management in the evaluation of strategies focused on preparing companies for the next stage of growth.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Michelle Mueller new Vice President of Economic Development at WCC

When you look at Michelle Mueller’s long list of business-related activities, you assume that she’s a successful businesswoman. But you would be wrong. WCC’s new associate vice president for economic development and community and corporate alliances is an experienced educator, administrator, and business collaborator.
Mueller will use her experience to expand the College’s partnerships and programs in the local and regional business sectors. She also will establish new alliances with educators, executives, and government agencies throughout southeast Michigan. It’s an assignment for which she’s well qualified.

As dean of workforce development at St. Clair County Community College, Mueller served on the leadership team and was the former chairperson of a consortium of nine southeast Michigan community colleges. WCC was one of the members. The consortium worked collaboratively on workforce development for the region.

“I am very happy to be at WCC,” Mueller said. “At St. Clair I worked on regional initiatives with MEDC [Michigan Economic Development Corp.] President Michael Finney when he was president of Ann Arbor SPARK. We also collaborated on regional strategic planning and developed the model for regional collaboration; it was a great experience for me.”

In addition to her work with the consortium, Mueller has served on Automation Alley, Detroit Regional Chamber, and Southeast Michigan Council of Governments committees. Automation Alley is Michigan’s largest nonprofit technology business association, which helps drive growth in southeast Michigan.

Her experience with educational associations at the state level also gives her a unique understanding of the challenges and opportunities that face communities in and around Washtenaw County.
She served as vice chair of the Michigan Association of Continuing Education and Training. And she was a member of the Michigan Occupational Deans Administrative Council, as well as the Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

Collaborations Opened Up New Partnerships

Mueller and Demas worked closely with the St. Clair Chamber of Commerce and Lambton College, a two-year institution across the St. Clair River in Sarnia with international campuses in China, India, and Saudi Arabia. After a stint as co-chair of the St. Clair Higher Learning Commission reaccreditation visit, Mueller was given the assignment of dean of workforce development.
There she had success with short-term programs, contract training, and professional development contracts. However, she says that one of her biggest successes was a $2 million U.S. Department of Labor grant to develop job training in the areas of transportation, distribution, and logistics.
The proposal was written in partnership with Mott Community College, which provided grant-writing support. This successful outcome serves as an example of Mueller’s knowledge of community issues and opportunities, enthusiasm for collaboration, and ingenuity in securing resources.

“St. Clair is right on the I-69 corridor,” she said. “There is more commerce traffic across the Blue Water Bridge than Detroit has, in part from the double-stacking tunnel between Sarnia, Ontario, and Port Huron. A lot of cargo moves through that system to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and beyond. It’s truly a world trade route.

“You have to know what the plans are for the region in order to be a successful grant planner. You have to know where organizations like SEMCOG are going and what their challenges are in order to bring them on as partners. That’s where the opportunity is.

“If there’s anything that I do well, it’s connecting ideas with people and finding the resources to do it. It’s like a puzzle for me. I love finding where all of the pieces fit.”

Adapted from WCC News. For the full story please visit:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Free Trainings to Celebrate the BRC Opening in Ypsilanti

A variety of small business training programs are offered in celebration of the grand opening of the Business Resource Center at the Ypsilanti District Library.  These seminars are offered to entrepreneurs at no cost due to the financial support of the YDL Whittaker Branch.

April 17th, 6:00 to 8:00pm: Fundamentals of Starting a Business
You have a passion ... a hidden talent. Do you know what it takes to turn that skill into a successful business? This seminar is designed for individuals who are considering self-employment, or are at the beginning stages of starting their business. You will be introduced to the key characteristics of successful business ownership, and what it takes to start and run a thriving business. Plus, you will be provided with available resources to help launch new ventures in Michigan. Get focused, motivated and ready to go!

April 25th, 6:00 to 8:00pm: Writing a Business Plan
A business pan is an essential tool for your small business. Every existing or prospective business needs a plan, but every plan is unique. This seminar is designed for individuals who are considering self-employment, or are at the beginning stages of starting a business. You will be introduced to the key characteristics of successful business ownership, and what it takes to start and run a thriving business. Plus, you will be provided with available resources to help launch new ventures in Michigan. Get focused, motivated and ready to go!

Looking to go into business for yourself?  Did you know that there is a wealth of information about small business development at the library?  Come learn about YDL’s small business resources from YDL staff, including databases and their NEW Business Resource Center, a targeted collection of books geared to small business needs.
May 15th, 6:00 to 8:00pm: Fundamentals of Marketing
This free marketing workshop focuses on the development of your sales & marketing plan. We will define your business, the competition, and your target market. We will also be covering the components of an elevator speech and how to correctly brand your business. Throughout this workshop we will be taking a hands-on approach that will enable you to leave with the actual beginnings of your own sales and marketing plan.

May 22nd, 6:00 to 8:00pm: Fundamentals of Finance
An introductory seminar, this course covers the basics of financial management, including how to start an accounting system and how to apply the information from key financial statements to help you manage your business. Accounting language including debits and credits, preparation of the balance sheet and profit & loss statement are explained. Cash flow analysis and breakeven are also covered with specific small business examples.

The Business Resource Center is a collaborative effort between the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center of Washtenaw Community College and local partner organizations like the Ypsilanti District Library. Biz Resource Center's offer:

  • One-stop locations where current and future small business owners can receive business assistance and advice
  • The latest computer technology, hardware and software, and extensive small business reference library of hard copy books, and publications
  • Software for a variety of business applications, addressing diverse business needs
Ypsilanti District Library Business Resource Center
Whittaker Road Branch
5577 Whittaker Road
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

For more information please contact the Ypslilanti District Library, (734) 482-4110.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Business Resource Centers Opening to Assist Entrepreneurs

Three new Business Resource Centers (BRCs) in the Greater Washtenaw Region will be opening this spring in Ypsilanti, Chelsea, and Howell.  BRC’s are provided by the Small Business & Technology Development Center and local community partners.

The BRCs offer a wide variety of resources to businesses, including:

·         Computer technology 

·         Specialized software with business applications such as creating business plans, drafting financial statements, writing policy manuals and performance reviews, and more

·         Small business reference library of books and publications

“The BRCs offer entrepreneurs and small businesses owners a place to find answers to their business questions,” stated Charles Penner, SBTDC Regional Director.  “If the BRC does not answer all of their questions, the entrepreneur may call the SBTDC Regional office for additional assistance.”

The Greater Washtenaw region upgraded 8 BRCs and has added 5 new BRC’s since 2011.  In order to start a BRC, it needs to be supported by a community partner, such as a library, educational institution or another type of economic development office.

 The BRC Openings in Greater Washtenaw Region are as follows:

·         April 10th, BRC Grand Opening Ypsilanti District Library (Whittaker Road)

·         April 26th, BRC Grand Opening Chelsea District Library

·         May 24th, BRC Grand Opening Howell District Library

To find out more about the SBTDC services or the BRCs in your area contact the local SBTDC Regional office at  (734) 477- 8762 or e-mail at

About the MI-SBTDC

The Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center provides counseling, training and research for Michigan’s new business ventures, existing small businesses, expanding new businesses, new technology companies, and innovators.  Entrepreneurs and small business owners may access the services of their nearest MI-SBTDC by calling 616-331-7480 or visiting   

Thursday, March 1, 2012

MI-SBTDC Greater Washtenaw Growing for 2012

We are pleased to announce the Greater Washtenaw Region MI-SBTDC has grown for 2012! Our small business consultations and trainings will now be offered in Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe and Washtenaw Counties.

 With this change we are welcoming additional MI-SBTDC Business Consultants to the Greater Washtenaw team. Each month we will be featuring a Business Consultant from our newly expanded region.

Nancy Johnson - Livingston County

Nancy Johnson, Satellite Director of the Livingston County MI-SBTDC, is pleased to be joining the Greater Washtenaw MI-SBTDC Regional Team. She took over as the Director of Livingston County in 2008 and has created new partnerships bringing Fundamental classes and FastTrac to county chambers of commerce, libraries, and Cleary University. Nancy received the "Making It Happen" award for the 2010 FastTrac program from the Howell Chamber and the "Business Investment Award" for the 2011 Fast Trac program from the Brighton Chamber of Commerce.
Nancy grew up in an entrepreneurial family starting as a manual inserting & mailing business to a full service direct mail/printing business. She worked at the business and served the Board of Directors until the business was sold in the late 1990's.
From 1989 - 1991, Nancy assisted the set up of the Livingston SBC and was certified as a business counselor through Wayne State University. She enrolled in the MSU MBA program when life took a twist with the birth of twins.
Since 1999, she has owned and operated a real estate/property management business giving her a personal view of the current business challenges.
Nancy's background includes advertising and experience as a campaign manager.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Love a Local Business - $25,000 Intuit Grant

Support local businesses in your city! This month, Intuit is giving away $25,000 to a deserving local business.

The Love A Local Business competition lets fans, including customers, vendors, employees, and the community, determine who deserves some love - in the form of small business grants. Votes from small business owners and fans accumulate between January 1- 31, 2012.

Voting is easy, and fast.

Just share a few brief thoughts about why you love a local business. Nominate a favorite business yourself if you don't find it on the list. Only one vote per business, but you can vote for as many businesses as you like. The more votes a business gets, the more chances it has to win the $25,000.

Your words matter!
So make your opinion known, and vote to help out a deserving local business in your communinty
. At the end of the month, one business is randomly chosen from all of the votes posted since the start of the contest on January 1st. Intuit has already awarded over $850,000 in small business grants.