Tuesday, December 22, 2009

SBA Recovery Act Funding Extended

Defense Appropriations Bill contains funding to extend programs thru February 2010.

WASHINGTON – With Recovery Act funding running out and with almost 1,000 small businesses on a waiting list for about $500 million in SBA-backed loans, the Senate today voted to extend funding for vital SBA Recovery Act provisions through February 2010. United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, who along with 12 of her colleagues, requested this extension and praised the inclusion of funds to continue vital Small Business Administration (SBA) lending programs.

“Small businesses have been left in limbo since the funding ran out in late November. Today’s action by the Senate will immediately clear the waiting list established by the SBA and will provide a lifeline to small businesses in need of credit,” Senator Landrieu said. “With these additional funds, SBA will be able to offer lenders a higher guarantee for 7(a) loans and a fee waiver on 504 loans, and reduce the cost of capital for small businesses by waiving the fees on both 7(a) and 504 loans. These changes proved very effective at jumpstarting small business lending, and the need to continue them is clear. Since funds from the Recovery Act ran out in late November, we’ve seen the volume for 7(a) and 504 loans drastically decrease. Reinstating these funds is a important to small businesses and our overall economic recovery and job-creation efforts.”

Senator Landrieu, along with 12 other Senators, sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee asking for the funds to continue these provisions from the Recovery Act. Of the $479 million dollars requested from the Senators, $125 million is included in the DoD appropriations bill, with the remaining $354 million included in the jobs-creation package introduced in the House. The House jobs-creation package, which is expected to be considered by the Senate early next year, also includes the authorization to extend the authorization for the 90-guarantee on SBA loans through FY2010

Friday, December 18, 2009

ACE Business Idea Tweet Competition

ACE is all about entrepreneurs. As such, we like to think that the planning committee is entrepreneurial and keeping abreast of the latest tools for our community. In that spirit, we are trying something new, quite possibly the first time ever in the history of the world: a business idea pitch competition using twitter! The judges are anyone and everyone with access to Twitter - so get your friends and business partners engaged.

Rules for competitors:

If you don’t already have a Twitter account, please go to Twitter to set one up.

Tweet your business idea (115 characters max – assuming your username is not more than 10 characters – with #ACEbizIdea at the end) by 5:00 pm EST on 1/13/2010, and you’ll be entered in the contest.

We will RT (retweet) your plan as it comes in. (Or as humanly close as we can get to that time, during business hours.)

Others will vote for your plan by RT’ing or by marking it as a favorite. Voting will close at 5pm on 1/15/2010, so the sooner you get your plan in, the more chances you’ll have to be seen.

Rules for competitors:

Follow @ACEevent on Twitter.

Vote on business plans as they’re Tweeted, either by:

Marking them as a favorite, or RT’ing them

Only one vote per account for each business idea will be counted. You are welcome to vote for multiple business plans; but you can only cast one vote per plan!

Voting must be complete by 5pm on 1/15/2010.

Prizes and recognition:

The business ideas of the top five voter getters will be displayed at ACE.

The winner will be recognized during the program - and their idea will be shared with the audience.

The winner will receive a prize of $140 (which is even more money, on a per character basis, than Charles Dickens was paid!)
The Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurship is the place where Great Lakes region entrepreneurs gather to network, learn, and connect. Each year at ACE, you'll join an exciting, forward-thinking community of innovators, entrepreneurs, and business leaders - people like you who have the vision and drive to build new ventures for a new future.

For more information please visit: http://ace-event.org/acebizidea.aspx

Friday, November 13, 2009

Additional Dates Added for Free Market Research Courses

The Biz Resource Center at the Bailey Libary of Washtenaw Community College & MI-SBTDC announces additional Market Research for the winter and spring 2010. Dates include February 19th and May 7th. Please visit our website for further information.

Market Research Series Part I: Researching Customer Profile

Making money in your small business comes from understanding your customer; where they live, where they shop, and what they prefer to do in their times of leisure. Building a customer database is essential to growing your small business, in this course you will use the research tools of the Washtenaw Community College's Biz Resource Center to gain an insight into your customer base. From the information gained in this session you will have an understanding of the marketing resources available to you the small business owner through WCC.

Market Research Series Part II: Researching Competitor Profile

The fast-growing skill of the small business owner is and will continue to be the use of knowledge. The more you understand about the competitions infrastructure, the more you can apply this knowledge to your benefit. Gaining an understanding of your competitor can also help you to understand the unique attributes or niche of your small business. In this course you will use the research tools of the Washtenaw Community College's Biz Resource Center to gain an insight into your competitors businesses.

Please pre-register online or by calling 734-973-3429 as space is limited.

Cost: FREE
February 19th & May 7th, 2010
10:00AM to 11:30 AM &
12:30PM to 2:00PM
WCC Bailey Library
4800 E Huron River Dr
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Ann Arbor Chamber iPhone Application Available for Free Download from the AppStore on iTunes

A2Chamber iPhone Application available for free download from the AppStore on iTunes. Through this application you can gain discounts from restaurants and retail stores to auto repair and web applications. Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce members are listed for free.

Does your business need visibility? Get it listed in the A2 Chamber's m2m (member-2-member) directory of businesses. Using the power of the iPhone marketing you can reach the on-the-go person. Complete a simple electronic form allowing businesses to update the offer, as frequently as weekly: http://www.annarborchamber.org/benefits/save_money/m2m_discounts.html
Businesses listed in m2m gain a complimentary window clingy notifying others of your participation.

Gain the free application from the iTunes App Store download page for the "A2Chamber" App:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

SBA Office of Veterans Business Development

The mission of the Office of Veterans Business Development is to maximize the availability, applicability and usability of all administration small business programs for Veterans, Service-Disabled Veterans, Reserve Component Members, and their Dependents or Survivors.

Veterans Business Outreach Program

The Veterans Business Outreach Program (VBOP) is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and mentoring, and referrals for eligible veterans owning or considering starting a small business. The SBA has eight organizations participating in this cooperative agreement and serving as Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC).

Services Provided by the Centers
Pre-Business Plan Workshops:
VBOCs conduct entrepreneurial development workshops dealing specifically with the major issues of self-employment. An important segment of these workshops entails the usage of the Internet as a tool for developing and expanding businesses. Each client is afforded the opportunity to work directly with a business counselor.

Concept Assessments:
VBOCs assist clients in assessing their entrepreneurial needs and requirements.

Business Plan Preparations:
VBOCs assist clients in developing and maintaining a five-year business plan. The business plan includes such elements as the legal form if the business, equipment requirements and cost, organizational structure, a strategic plan, market analysis, and a financial plan. Financial plans include financial projections, budget projections, and funding requirements.

Comprehensive Feasibility Analysis:
VBOCs provide assistance in identifying and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the business plan to increase the probability of success. The results of the analysis are utilized to revise the strategic planning portion of the business plan.

Entrepreneurial Training and Counseling:
VBOCs, working with other SBA resource partners, target entrepreneurial training projects and counseling sessions tailored specifically to address the needs and concerns of the service-disabled veteran entrepreneur.

VBOCs conduct, as appropriate, on-site visits with clients to ensure adherence to their business plans. Additionally, VBOCs review monthly financial statements to determine whether a revision of the business plan is warranted or that desired results are being attained.

Other Business Developmental Related Services:
VBOCs also provide assistance and training in such areas as international trade, franchising, Internet marketing, accounting, etc.

VetBiz Central, Inc
Edward Ronders/Matt Sherwood
711 N. Saginaw St.Suite 206
Flint, MI 48503
Phone: 810-767-8387
Fax: 810-767-8662
Email: ed@vetbizcentral.com or matt@vetbizcentral.com
Webpage: http://www.vetbizcentral.com

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ann Arbor Chamber launching iPhone app to boost local businesses

Local businesses The Whole Brain Group and Arbormoon Software developed a free iPhone application targeted at chamber members but will be available to the public. The Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce will to introduce application this November in hopes it will assist the local business community.

About 100 chamber members have agreed to offer deals through the application, which still needs to get approval from Apple to be distributed through the iTunes Store. A demo is available here.

For further information please read the full article at www.AnnArbor.com or contact the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Small Businesses : Stay Safe Online! Forum

Stay Safe Online! Forum

Thursday October 29, 2009 from 3:00pm - 8:30pm

Saline High School (Michigan)

1300 Campus Parkway
Saline, Michigan Get Directions

Commissioner Kristin Judge and Sheriff Jerry Clayton present Cyber Security Expert Dr. Peter Fonash, Director of National Cyber Security, US Dept. of Homeland Security. Learn how to stay safe online!

  • 3:00 - 5:00 pm Cyber Security for Business and Local Government
  • 6:30 - 8:30 pm Cyber Security for Your Home and Family

RSVP, Seating is limited! - cyberevent@ewashtenaw.org or 734-222-6850

Free to all Washtenaw County Residents

Website: http://staysafeonline.org/

Thursday, October 15, 2009

ATHENA PowerLink Ann Arbor Extended Registration Deadline

The deadline for women business owners to apply for the ATHENA PowerLink Program has been extended until October 23rd. The ATHENA PowerLink Program of Washtenaw County is a mentoring program designed to connect women business owners with a skilled advisory panel.

What is the ATHENA PowerLink Program?

The advisory panel, which is made up of lawyers, bankers, accountants, insurance agents, and business advisors, provides free business consultation for one year. The panel consults to help the business owner achieve networking, capital, operational, and strategic goals. The program also helps enhance the business owner’s leadership and management skills for future business endeavors.

What is the eligibility criteria for the ATHENA PowerLink Program?
  • Own the majority of the company and actively manage it
  • Minimum of two years in business
  • Minimum of two full time employees, one of whom may be the business owner
  • Minimum annual revenues of $250,000 for manufacturing or retail business
  • Minimum annual revenues of $100,000 for service business

What is the role of the advisory panel?

The advisory panel is a group of business professionals who want to give back to their communities. They work one-on-one with the business owner for one year, helping her develop and implement her business plan and strategic goals. The group’s coordinator is responsible for leading meetings, reviewing progress, and compiling results.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Five Tips to Increase Your Firm's Chance of Getting a Small Business Bank Loan

By Robert C. Seiwert, Sr. Vice President and Director ABA Center for Commercial Lending & Business Banking

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following was released today by the American Bankers Association:

1) Get to know bankers at several financial institutions in your community.

Before requesting a loan, find out which financial institutions in your market make loans to firms like yours. Not all banks specialize in business loans. Some specialize in lending only to firms in certain industries. Others lend only to those in certain stages of the business life cycle (no startups, for example). Work with bankers who understand your industry and find out how the current financial crisis has affected credit availability in your community. Not all banks have been equally affected by today's financial crisis.

Another reason to deal with banks experienced in your industry relates to the financial advice they can offer. Because these bankers work with firms facing the same industry-related problems that may challenge you, they're in a better position to provide helpful advice and financial products tailored to your firm's needs. Many times the advice a banker gives is far more important than the product or service they sell. Seek a banker who can give financial advice that will help you survive and thrive in today's economy. In turn, you should reward that banker with your business and your loyalty.

2) Be able to articulate your firm's "value proposition" to its target markets and your business plan to reach them.

If you can't clearly articulate why other companies or customers should do business with you and how you'll effectively compete in your chosen target market segments, the chances of getting a loan are slim.
Develop a business plan that has three different scenarios: best case, most likely case, and worst case. You want the banker to understand all three since you're asking for support through good times and bad. Also, be prepared to discuss in detail the assumptions that underlie each of these scenarios.

3) Think like a banker.

Understand the risks of operating in your industry. Have a plan to mitigate those risks and share it with your banker. Bankers are going to do a risk analysis anyway, so it's important to help them. Most likely, you can provide a perspective that the banker hasn't considered. It's important for the banker to see that you recognize the risks of operating in your industry and that you have a plan for dealing with them.

4) Develop at least two ways to repay the loan.

Bankers look for primary and secondary loan repayment sources. For the sake of your business, you should, too. You are in the best position to determine possible repayment alternatives. Be sure to discuss these options with your banker before the loan is made. Secondary repayment resources could include the pledging of business or personal collateral as well as the addition of a loan guarantee by the firm's owners, suppliers or customers.
The more certainty that the banker has that the loan will be paid "as agreed," the more likely it will be that you not only receive a favorable loan decision, but also the best interest rate. Smart business owners understand that now is the time to think about alternative repayment sources, not when their business gets into trouble.

5) Don't ask for loans that should be funded with equity injections. Bankers aren't paid to take equity risks; they get paid to make loans that will be repaid on time.

The amount of equity you need to operate your business will depend on several factors. One of the most important relates to your industry and what role your business plays in that industry. The amount of equity required for a manufacturer will be different from that required to run a wholesale distribution business. Retailers in the same industry will also have different equity requirements.

The stability of the industry is also an important factor influencing the amount of equity needed. Firms in stable industries need less equity than firms operating in industries undergoing rapid change. The reason is that firms in stable industries can carry a higher level of debt due to the greater certainty of their revenue streams.

Another factor that determines the amount of equity required for your business relates to your firm's business model. Some firms offer easy credit terms to build market share and increase sales. Other firms operate on a cash-only basis. The sales terms your firm offers its customer base has an important impact on the amount of equity that your business will need to operate.
If your product or service is in great demand, consider asking your customers for upfront deposits on pending orders or extending favorable pricing terms to customers who pay their invoices within 10 days of receipt.

Another option is to ask suppliers for favorable terms of sale. Ask if they'll let you pay invoices later with no interest or give you discounts for paying invoices early. Any additional customer or supplier financing reduces the amount of permanent working capital that needs to be funded with equity contributions from your firm's shareholders.

Robert C. Seiwert is a Senior Vice President of the American Bankers Association. Prior to joining the ABA, Mr. Seiwert was a banker for over 30 years, serving as President and CEO of a high-performing community bank and Director of Commercial Marketing for one of the nation's largest financial institutions.

The American Bankers Association brings together banks of all sizes and charters into one association. ABA works to enhance the competitiveness of the nation's banking industry and strengthen America's economy and communities. Its members - the majority of which are banks with less than $125 million in assets - represent over 95 percent of the industry's $13.5 trillion in assets and employ over 2 million men and women.

Note to Editors: Over the coming weeks, the American Bankers Association will release several white papers intended to assist small business owners navigate the new banking environment. The papers, written through the viewpoint of a former commercial banker, give small business owners a rare glimpse into how bankers think and are intended to help them develop a mutually beneficial relationship with a bank, prepare to get loans, and evaluate offers. The above is the first paper in the series.

SOURCE American Bankers Association

Friday, September 4, 2009

SBA Launches YouTube Channel : Aim is to Reach Larger Audience through Popular Site

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration has begun posting informational videos on YouTube as it joins an increasing trend within the federal government to use the popular video-sharing web platform to reach a larger audience.

YouTube is a highly popular Web site, especially among younger people. SBA is intent on reaching this audience with its message of entrepreneurship, the importance of small business to the nation’s economy, and information on the agency’s programs and services.

“With millions of visitors, most of them under 35, YouTube offers a prime opportunity to use current technology and the appeal of a popular online platform to further promote the agency’s programs and services,” said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills. “By expanding its outreach, SBA will be providing more current and potential entrepreneurs with the necessary tools to start, grow and succeed in their businesses.”

The SBA YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/sba) debuted with a 60-second introduction to SBA, its programs and services, and a 10-part “Delivering Success” series co-produced with the U.S. Postal Service.

Future content will include a variety of videos with more in-depth information about SBA programs and services to inform current and potential entrepreneurs. Topics will cover how small businesses can take advantage of the Recovery Act loan programs, government contracting opportunities, exporting to increase market share, counseling and training on how to start and grow a small business, and small business success stories.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Small Business Development Centers: it's no secret By: Roger Green

Author: Roger Green for Business.gov

Once upon a time, back in 1980, Congress passed the Small Business Act that created the Small Business Development Center program administered through the US Small Business Administration. It would be a partnership primarily between colleges/universities and government to provide comprehensive small business counseling services. The SBDC program now exists in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and US territories.

Yet, the SBDC program, to too great a degree, remains unknown to a large number of current businesses as well as potential entrepreneurs who are eligible for free and confidential services. Many business advisors have started or managed their own small businesses; others come from the financial sector, such as banks, so they know what banks want to see in terms of financial projections. Additionally, low-cost training sessions are offered by the SBDCs in a variety of areas.

While SBDCs are operated at a statewide or state region-wide level, the centers throughout the states have been organized to provide local coverage. Advisors develop awareness of local business trends and are familiar with local resources that can assist their clients.

I have been a librarian for the New York State Small Business Development Center since October 1992. My colleagues and I provide reference services for the counselors of the NYS SBDC, who in turn receive questions from their clients, though counselors field many queries themselves. A few other state programs have library services, and there is also a national SBDC library. These libraries are designed to support the SBDC advisor and not the general public.However, the NYS SBDC does have blog page to which all the librarians have been contributing for over four years. We also have Twitter and Facebook pages available to the general public.

Starting a small business in tough economic times may seem counterintuitive, but based on evidence from previous economic downturns, it may well be an ideal time to follow one’s entrepreneurial dream. Go to the ASBDC website and find the Small Business Development Center for your state.

Business.gov is an official site of the U.S. Government

Friday, July 24, 2009

8(a) Business Development Program

For contracting purposes, the federal government recognizes companies as minority-owned only if they have one of the following certifications:

8(a) Business Development Program http://www.sba.gov/8abd/

What are the basic requirements a concern must meet for the 8(a) BD program?

· Generally, a concern meets the basic requirements for admission to the 8(a) BD program if it is a small business which is unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who are of good character and citizens of the United States, and which demonstrates potential for success.

What is socially disadvantaged?

· Members of designated groups. (1) There is a reputable presumption that the following individuals are socially disadvantage: Black Americans; Hispanic Americans; Native Americans (American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, or Native Hawaiians); Asian Pacific Americans (persons with origins from Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Japan, China (including Hong Kong), Taiwan, Laos, Cambodia (Kampuchea), Vietnam, Korea, The Philippines, U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (Republic of Palau), Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana islands, Guam, Samoa, Macao, Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu, or Nauru); Subcontinent Asian Americans (persons with origins from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, the Maldives Islands or Nepal); and members of other groups designated from time to time by SBA according to procedures set forth at paragraph (d) of this section. Being born in a country does not, by itself, suffice to make the birth country and individual’s country of origin for purposes of being included within a designated group.

What is economically disadvantaged?

· Net worth. For initial 8(a) BD eligibility, the net worth of an individual claiming disadvantage must be less than $250,000. For continued 8(a) BD eligibility after admission to the program, net worth must be less than $750,000. In determining such net worth, SBA will exclude the ownership interest in the applicant or participant and the equity in the primary personal residence (except any portion of such equity which is attributable to excessive withdrawals from the applicant or participant). Exclusions for net worth purposes are not exclusions for asset valuation or access to capital and credit purposes.

Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) http://www.sba.gov/sdb/

What are the basic requirements a concern must meet for the SDB program?

· Qualifications for the program are similar to those for the 8(a) Business Development Program. A small business must be at least 51% owned and controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual or individuals.

· African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Subcontinent Asian Americans, and Native Americans are presumed to quality. Other individuals can qualify if they show by a “preponderance of the evidence” that they are disadvantaged.

· All individuals must have a net worth of less than $750,000, excluding the equity of the business and primary residence. Successful applicants must also meet applicable size standards for small businesses in their industry.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Michigan State Energy Program Announces Renewable Energy Manufacturing RFP

Michigan State Energy Program Announces Renewable Energy Manufacturing RFP

GRANT DESCRIPTION: A total of $15,000,000.00 in funding is available through the State Energy Program Michigan to assist small manufacturing companies currently located in Michigan to diversify into high-growth clean energy sectors and invest in advanced manufacturing of renewable energy systems and components (i.e. wind turbine systems, solar technology, bio-energy equipment, geothermal heating and cooling systems). Request for funding will be accepted from July 16, 2009–August 14, 2009.

Full Proposal: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dleg/CleanEnergyAdvancedManufacturing_Final_RFP-13_286276_7.pdf

Proposal Announcement: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dleg/CleanEnergyAdvMan_announcement_286289_7.pdf

DOE Announces Nearly $14 Million to go to 28 New Wind Energy Projects

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the selection of 28 new wind energy projects for up to $13.8 million in funding—including $12.8 million in Recovery Act funds.

These projects will help address market and deployment challenges including wind turbine research and testing and transmission analysis, planning, and assessments. Along with the new awards, Secretary Chu announced the release of DOE's 2008 Wind Technologies Market Report, detailing $16 billion in investment in wind projects made in the U.S. in 2008—making the United States the leader in annual wind energy capacity growth, as well as cumulative wind energy capacity.


Federal Policy Updates:
Manufacturing Tax Credit:

We have word from John Parcell (Office of Tax Policy, U.S. Treasury) that the guidance for the manufacturing tax credit from ARRA is being worked on now and will be released in August as required by statute (though it was unclear they would meet this goal). When language is released I will send an update with more information on this tax credit.


A legislative update about the manufacturing loan program that I recently sent you information about. The proposal, which will establish a revolving loan program for renewable technology manufacturers, was included in the final version of the ACES bill that passed the House on June 26 under the name IMPACT. We believe it has a good chance of being included in the Senate language when ACES is taken up in the fall by the Senate. I am attaching my original summary here, please let me know if you have any additional thoughts on this provision. Thanks to those of you who provided feedback.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Taking Care of Business Series:Workshops for Small Businesses

Bill Harmer, of the Chelsea District Library, is on a mission to change the way the community thinks about its libraries. With this he has partnered with local community organizations to develop a new level of entrepreneurial assistance including free courses and one-on-one business consulting. Participating in the courses are the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC), Washtneaw Community College, MSU Product Center, Great Lakes Entrepreneur Quest (GLEQ), Chelsea State Bank, SCORE, and the Food System Economic Partnership (FSEP).

Starting a Small Business: An Orientation Session for Perspective Entrepreneurs

September 21st, 2009 6:30pm; Registration
Presented by MI-SBTDC Senior Business Consultant

Do you dream of starting a business but don't know where to begin? This session gives you the information you will need to start building a successful business strategy. Topics include sources of assistance, market research, financing, business partners, taxes, record keeping, and more.

Writing a Business Plan as if your Business Depended on it

October 5th, 2009 6:30pm; Registration
Presented by MSU Product Center Innovation Counselor

It may seem silly to ask yourself, "What business am I really in?", but some businesses no longer exist because they never answered that question. The business planning process is a powerful tool to help you anticipate the opportunities and challenges you will face, before you face them. A business plan precisely defines your business, identifies your goals, and serves as your firm's resume. Learn the essential components of a business plan and how to approach gathering the information you will need.

Finance: What many small businesses don’t know will surprise you!

October 19th, 2009 6:30pm; Registration
Presented by Chelsea State Bank Commercial Lending Services

Many entrepreneurs’ wait until they need money to start building a relationship with their bank. This session will help entrepreneur’s understand the value of having a good relationship with their commercial banker. Topics will include understanding the risks associated with common financial mistakes, preparing for going to the bank for money, and how to participate in the SBA financing programs.

Food, Farming & Business

November 26:30pm; Registration
Presented by Jane Bush

Agriculture is the largest growth sector in the Michigan economy today. The Food System Economic Partnership (FSEP) is taking a lead in SE Michigan to help farmers and those interested in value added agricultural products thrive in this challenging economy. Jane Bush, FSEP Business Counselor and successful farmer, will share what’s going right in Michigan. Learn from what others are doing, how they are succeeding, and where opportunities exist for new businesses.

Marketing Your Small Business

November 16 6:30pm; Registration
Presented by Terry MacEwen

In this session you will learn about the strategic background of marketing. You will be introduced to tactics that every small business should know and understand how to implement these tactics in your business. Terry MacEwen is a seasoned business adviser who provides entrepreneurs with awareness, education, and accountability to grow their businesses, improve their profits and free their time.

Grow Your Business:Free Counseling & Research Services

September 17, October 15, November 19th, 2009 10am-5pm; Registration

Along with our partners at the Small Business & Technology Development Center, Washtenaw Community College, Food System Economic Partnership, and Chelsea Chamber of Commerce, we will provide one-on-one meetings with experienced consultants to assist start-up and existing business owners with finance, writing a business plan, business legal issues, marketing, sales strategies, and a full range of information services to assist entrepreneurs in defining their path to success. This new service is designed for current and future small business owners to access information needed for the successful launch and operation of a small business. Call the library at 734-475-8732, x. 219 to register for a free, one-hour counseling session.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

SBA 504 Loan Program Debt Refinancing

The details for SBA 504 limited refinancing are here! This is a permanent change to the SBA 504 Loan Program. Below are some highlights of the new legislation. For more information, please contact your local MCDC rep.

Eligibility highlights:

  1. The 504 Project must include expansion of a small business. Expansion includes the acquisition, construction or improvement of land, building or equipment for use by the small business.

  2. The existing indebtedness to be refinanced may not exceed 50% of the new Project Costs. Example: a $500,000 expansion would allow up to $250,000 to be refinanced. This would make the total loan eligible for 504 financing $750,000; typically at a 50/40/10 split (50% bank/40% SBA/10% borrower).

The existing debt to be refinanced under the 504 must meet the following criteria:

  • It must be for 504 eligible assets such as a building or equipment.

  • The financing will provide "substantial benefit" to the borrower such as improving the borrower's payment by 10%.

  • The borrower must have been current on all payments for the past year.

  • The refinancing must provide better terms or rate of interest than the existing debt.

As mentioned, this post only touches on the highlights of the refinancing program. Please contact MCDC with specific project questions.


The MCDC is committed to growing the economic base in Michigan. 100% of our staff is located in our great state, which means our loan officers are close by to assist you and all of our loans are approved and serviced locally here in Michigan.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Lights, Cameras, Career: Creating Your Path to the Action

Lights, Cameras, Career: Creating Your Path to the Action
WCC offers low-cost workshop for navigating the hype around film industry jobs in Michigan

ANN ARBOR, MI – A new workshop at Washtenaw Community College was established to orient individuals on the subject of the film & digital video industry. The goal of the workshop is to explore aspects of the film industry as a career choice. The general focus moves into two areas: the workshop will focus on the realities of production - proper etiquette while working on a set; preparatory steps for finding a job in areas of production & postproduction; and examining the wide range of positions in the field. The second area of focus will utilize tools from WCC’s award-winning innovation curriculum. Exercises will be carried out to develop a personal career map focused on assessing skills, experience and strengths. With this added personal insight and knowledge gained about the film industry, participants will evaluate how they ‘fit’ in the various areas of the film industry. At the completion of this 3-day workshop, participants will leave knowing if a career in the film and digital video industry is one they wish to pursue. And each participant will have a personal plan to make informed career decisions for years to come. This course will be co-instructed by WCC faculty, Matt Zacharias and Donna Ryen, Instructor and PBS Producer. Their works have been showcased in film festivals such as Slamdance, South by Southwest and ResFest. Between them, they share 9 Emmy Awards for their work in television production.

The cost of the workshop is $189 and will run August 17 – 19 from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. For registration go to www.wccnet.edu/lifelong-learning and search Lights, Cameras, Career.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Two Midland-based Alternative Energy Companies Win Top Awards in the Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest Business Plan Competition

Kinetic Wave Power and Advanced Battery Concepts sweep the competition as more than $58,000 in cash awards were presented to companies in the GLEQ statewide business plan competition.

Ann Arbor, Mich., June 11, 2009 – Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest (GLEQ) hosted its Statewide Business Plan Competition Award Ceremony on Thursday, June 11, 2009 with partner organizations Automation Alley and NextEnergy at the James B. Henry Center on the Michigan State University campus.

The GLEQ $25,000 Grand Prize in the Emerging Company category was awarded to Kinetic Wave Power, LLC of Midland, Michigan. Kinetic Wave Power is led by Vice President of Technology James Sack and has developed unique technology to utilize renewable energy contained in ocean waves.

The Runner Up award of $5,000 in the Emerging Company category was captured by Lambert Technologies of Canton, Michigan. Lambert Technologies has developed and is bringing to market a patented stress-testing tool for engineers to verify and validate engineering designs of structural components.

In the New Business Idea category, Advanced Battery Concepts, LLC of Midland received the First Place cash award of $5,000 and RateMyStudentRental, LLC was awarded the Runner Up award of $1,000. Advanced Battery Concepts has developed battery electrode technology, branded GreenSeal™, which enables dramatic improvements in battery performance while lowering costs. Additionally, flexibility in packaging combined with weight savings enables new applications to become feasible for lead-acid batteries. RateMyStudentRental offers a web-based rental property rating system for student rentals, with a management system for landlords and a private-label housing portal for universities.

Advanced Battery Concepts also received two innovation awards. The awards are the Automation Alley Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Award of $12,500 and the NextEnergy Alternative Energy Innovation Award of $10,000. Dan Radomski, Vice President Industry Services for NextEnergy, presented both awards.

Lee Walko, President of Midland-based Walko Consulting, was awarded Coach of the Year for his work with two companies, including the Emerging Company winner Kinetic Wave Power. Marisa Smith, President of Dexter-based The Whole Brain Group, LLC was selected for the Spirit of Entrepreneurship award.

The top six teams competing for the GLEQ Grand Prize pitched their plans to a panel of investment judges made up of Pete Farner, partner at TGap Ventures; Judy Johncox, Senior Director Commercialization Services, Wayne State University; WSU Program Director, TechTown; Elias Shakour, Portfolio Manager, 21st Century Jobs Fund, Michigan Economic Development Corporation; Christopher R. Sklarin, Director of Business Development - Upper Midwest, Chrysalis Ventures; and Phil Tepley, Technology Team Coordinator, Michigan Small Business Technology Development Center.

Presentation scores were added to scores on the companies’ written business plans to determine the overall winners. Finalists in addition to the winning companies included Husk Insulation, Hygieia Inc., Blaze Medical Devices and GiftZip.com.

The keynote address was presented by Philip H. Power, Vice Chair of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation Executive Committee, and President and Founder of The Center for Michigan. A “think-and-do tank”, The Center for Michigan aims to help develop and execute comprehensive and long-range policy solutions to transform Michigan's business, economic, political and cultural climate.

For nearly forty years, Philip H. Power was founder, owner and chairman of the board of HomeTown Communications Network, Inc., a group of 62 community newspapers and 24 telephone directories throughout Michigan and around Cincinnati, Ohio.

The GLEQ awards event was held in the Main Dining Room of the James B. Henry Center on the MSU campus. The event began with an MIT Enterprise Forum panel discussion on Business Incubators and CEO success stories.

Additional event supporters included Michigan Small Business Technology Development Centers (MI-SBTDC), New Enterprise Forum, and MIT Enterprise Forum.

About Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest

GLEQ, now in its ninth year of continuous operations, is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) educational program designed to accelerate the formation of high-growth companies in Michigan. More than $31 million has been awarded to GLEQ alumni from the 21st Century Jobs Fund, bringing the total investment into GLEQ companies to more than $60 million.

GLEQ provides coaching, mentoring, business training and entrepreneurial discussions to entrepreneurs statewide. It also sponsors a two-phase statewide business plan competition each year. The competition is structured into two distinct maturity paths; companies with more developed businesses compete in the Emerging Company path, while teams with new business concepts compete in the New Business Idea path.

GLEQ leverages a portfolio of volunteer business and investment experts to provide training, coaching and mentoring. Entrepreneurs submitting an executive summary or business plan receive as many as four written critiques from members of the investor community.

The 2010 GLEQ Business Plan Competition opens for registration on Monday, August 24. Awards will be announced at ACE’10 on Thursday, January 21, 2010

Additional information is available at www.gleq.org or by calling Diane Durance, GLEQ Executive Director at 734-255-3183.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

America’s Recovery Capital (ARC) Loan Online Seminar

SBA’s new program for viable small businesses suffering hardships. ARC makes periodic
payments for qualifying business debt including:

  • Mortgages
  • Secured and unsecured business loans
  • Capital leases
  • Notes payable to vendors/suppliers/utilities
  • Home equity loans that were used to finance business operations
  • Credit card obligations that were used for business purposes

ARC Loan Training At Your Desk
Reservations Required (317) 226-7272 x115

This free seminar is repeated on the following days:
June 22, 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. (EDT)
June 23, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. (EDT)

Telephone: 1-866-740-1260 use access code 3056201#

Slides: http://www.readytalk.com use access code 3056201
Indiana District Office, 8500 Keystone Crossing, Suite 400, Indianapolis, IN 46240 www.sba.gov/in

Monday, June 15, 2009

Women's Exchange of Washtenaw will be at Top of the Park Wednesday, June 17th!

Join the Women's Exchange of Washtenaw Wednesday, June 17th at 6:30 for casual networking under the tent at Top of the Park, located on the Ingalls Mall on the University of Michigan campus. Family and friends are welcome to share the live music, children’s activities, and a movie presentation of, “Twilight.” The event will be under the tent from 6:30pm to 9:30pm with a cash bar for adults 21 and over (id required), the movie starts at 10pm.

Wear your WXW orange or blue T-Shirt that night and you could be a lucky winner. Don't have a shirt yet? Women's Exchange of Washtenaw shirts will be available for sale under the tent the night of the event.

This event is free, but please register here!

Thank you to the sponsors for this event: Solutions First and The Whole Brain Group.

Friday, June 5, 2009

DATE CHANGE: Digital Marketing with Ingenex

Using the internet effectively is a critical piece of many small businesses' marketing strategies. Learn about pay-per-click campaigns, search engine optimization, social media, blogs, podcasts and more in this information-packed session presented by Ingenex Digital Marketing. Cut through the hype and learn which of these tools can help you grow your business.

Please bring brown bag lunch. Coffee, hot tea, and water will provided

Fee: $ 10.00

Speaker(s): Derek Mehraban, CEO at Ingenex Digital Marketing

  • A graduate of Michigan State University, Derek Mehraban has 15+ years advertising, marketing and interactive experience. Mehraban is focused on digital and internet marketing, event marketing, web search, web 2.0, social media marketing, blogging and generational marketing. Mehraban is CEO of Ingenex Digital Marketing, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

SBA: About the ARC Loan Program

ARC loans can be used to make payments of principal and interest, in full or in part, on one or more existing, qualifying small business loans for up to six months. ARC loans provide an immediate infusion of capital to small businesses to assist with making payments of principal and interest on existing debt. These loans allow borrowers to redirect cash flow from making loan payments to investing in their businesses, to help sustain the business and retain jobs. For example, making loan payments on existing loans with proceeds from an ARC loan can allow a business to focus more funds on core operations, such as buying inventory or making payroll.

ARC loans are interest-free to the borrower, carry a 100 percent guaranty from the SBA to the lender, and require no fees paid to SBA. Loan proceeds are provided over a six-month period and repayment of the ARC loan principal is deferred for 12 months after the last disbursement of the proceeds. Repayment can extend up to five years.

The best candidates for ARC loans are small businesses that in the past were profitable but are currently struggling, yet have been making loan payments or are just beginning to miss loan payments due to financial hardship.

ARC loans are made by commercial lenders who are SBA participants. The SBA will pay these banks a monthly interest rate throughout the term of the loan. Lenders can find more information here. Non-SBA lenders can easily become SBA participants by working with their nearest SBA district office. Businesses interested in applying for an ARC loan should first contact their current lender.

ARC loans will be offered by some SBA lenders for as long as funding is available or until September 30, 2010, whichever comes first.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Third Annual Entrepreneurial Improv: "The Battle of the Elevator Pitch"

THURSDAY, May 21, 2009 Get Ready for a Wild and Crazy Evening... Third Annual Entrepreneurial Improv: "The Battle of the Elevator Pitch"

During this annual event, we put four entrepreneurs to the test, giving them an imaginary, offbeat company to pitch - with almost no time to prepare!

For two years straight, Dick Beedon has delivered eccentric, energetic performances that are yet to be matched, earning him the coveted NEF Battle of the Elevator Pitch trophy. Can anyone out-pitch our defending champion? Join us to find out!

The Entreprenuers:
· Dick Beedon, Winner and Defending Champion of the first two NEF Elevator Pitch Battles, and Founder/Managing Director of MacBeedon Partners.
· Keith Brophy, General Manager at RCM.
· Mike Klein, President Online Technologies Corporation.
· Josh Linkner, CEO of ePrize.

The Judges:
· Chris Holman, Michigan’s Small Business Advocate.
· Pat Morand of the Southwest Michigan First Life Sciences Fund.
· Bob Payne of the Credit Suisse First Boston.
· Tom Porter of Trillium Ventures.

The Moderator:
David Brophy, father of the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium and Professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business will return to moderate this entertaining affair for a third year.

The Wild Card:
If you were at last year's pitch battle, you know that singer/actor/presentation coach Eleni Kelakos can add some excitement to the evening. She's back!
Get a Sneak Peek; We're all a Twitter!

Check out what's coming: click here to see a short video about the battle pitch! (Requires QuickTime browser plugin.)

Also: Mike Klein and Dick Beedon are tweeting about this - you can follow them at:
· Follow Dick Beedon on Twitter
· Follow Mike Klein on Twitter

Showcase Presentation:
This month, our Showcase Presenter will be Husk Insulation, an early stage firm that converts plant-based agricultural waste into high-grade insulation that is a fraction of the thickness of conventional insulation.

Event Details:
Where: Holiday Inn North Campus, 3600 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor When: Registration & networking 5:00 p.m.; program begins at 5:45 p.m. Cost: Free to NEF members, $20 for non-members, $5 for students

Our Stakeholders & Sponsors:
We thank all of our sponsors, including our featured stakeholder sponsor for this event, the RPM Ventures. NEF is proud of the organizations that sponsor our activities; see our full stakeholder sponsor list at http://www.newenterpriseforum.org/.

Program Partners:
NEF partners with the Great Lakes Entrepreneur's Quest to deliver educational business programs and networking events for new companies and entrepreneurs.

In addition, NEF partners with the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce to provide additional resources and services for our members.

Podcasts of NEF Speakers:
NEF has partnered with stakeholder sponsor MITechNews.Com to provide easy access to podcasts of NEF speakers through an NEF podcast channel.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

SBA Launches New 100% Guarantee ARC Loan Program

SBA Launches New 100% Guarantee ARC Loan Program on June 15

Small businesses suffering financial hardship as a result of the slow economy may be eligible to receive temporary relief to keep their doors open and get their cash flow back on track through to a new loan program announced by SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills.

Beginning on June 15, SBA will start guaranteeing America's Recovery Capital (ARC) loans. ARC loans are deferred-payment loans of up to $35,000 available to established, viable, for-profit small businesses that need short-term help to make their principal and interest payments on existing qualifying debt. ARC loans are interest-free to the borrower, 100 percent guaranteed by the SBA, and have no SBA fees associated with them.

"These ARC loans can provide the critical capital and support many small businesses need to make it through these tough economic times," said Administrator Mills. "Together with other provisions of the Recovery Act, ARC loans will free up capital and put more money in the hands of small business owners when they need it the most. This will help viable small businesses continue to grow and thrive and create new jobs in communities across the country."

As part of the Recovery Act, the ARC program was created as a no-interest, deferred payment loan to help small businesses that have a history of good performance, but as a result of the tough economy, are struggling to make debt payments.

ARC loans will be disbursed within a period of up to six months and will provide funds to be used for payments of principal and interest for existing, qualifying small business debt including mortgages, term and revolving lines of credit, capital leases, credit card obligations and notes payable to vendors, suppliers and utilities. Repayment will not begin until 12 months after the final disbursement. Borrowers don't have to pay interest on ARC loans. After the 12-moth deferral period, borrowers will pay back the loan principal over a period of five years.

ARC loans will be made by commercial lenders, not SBA directly. For more information on ARC loans, visit:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New Biz Resource Center at Washtenaw Community College

As an entrepreneur in today's society it may be difficult to locate all of the resources available to the small business owner. The MI-SBTDC has joined forces with Washtenaw Community College to provide a new Biz Resource Center at the Bailey Library and has opened their doors to the public May 5. With the help of the MI-SBTDC and the BRC your business can be more efficient
and stand out from the crowd.

What is the Biz Resource Center? The BRC at Bailey Library provides a one-stop location where current and future small business owners can access information needed for the successful launch and operation of a small business.

What services are offered by the BRC? Multiple services are available at the Biz Resource Centers which include; extensive small business print and electronic material, free market research workshops, one-on-one consultation with a resource librarian, as well as the additional support of the MI-SBTDC Business Consultants.

What is the Bailey Library at Washtenaw Community College? Aligned with the College's mission and strategic directions the Bailey Library is committed to its mission of being an integral part of the learning landscape at WCC. In serving the educational needs of the community the Bailey Library aims to play two complementary roles: as the physical hub of a vibrant learning environment, and as a portal of choice for access to knowledge resources.

Are there other local Biz Resource Centers? There are multiple BRC's across the four Michigan Counties covered by MI-SBTDC's Region 12. Please visit our website for the complete list including: Adrian, Hillsdale, Jackson, and Ypsilanti locations.

Please contact the MI-SBTDC directly with any questions regarding the Biz Resource Center. To utilize the BRC market research workshops will be offered quarterly with the first session to be held May 29th.

Richard W. Bailey Library at Washtenaw Community College
4800 East Huron River Dr, Ann Arbor MI 48105
P: 734.973.3379 E: circdesk@wccnet.edu

Monday, May 11, 2009


Community Forum Scheduled to Present Committee Findings

A group of sometimes up to 25 volunteers have spent the last few months interviewing potential users, partners, and community members; conducting a truly grassroots feasibility study regarding the viability of a hybrid commercial rental “kitchen incubator” in western Washtenaw county. The results will be presented at a public community forum on Monday, May 18 at 7:00 pm at the Washington Street Center in Chelsea. The Washington Street Center is located at 500 Washington Street, Room 100.

The draft mission statement of the Chelsea Community Kitchen is to “enrich lives through education, cultivate culinary entrepreneurship and help grow sustainable livelihoods”. The plan is for “the Chelsea Community Kitchen to be a commercially licensed, shared-use facility that will incorporate on-site small business development assistance and broad educational opportunities that will be made available to encourage and inspire all members of our community”.

If you are unable to attend the community forum but are interested in learning more about the CCK more information can be found at http://www.localfoodannarbor.ning.com/ (look for the Chelsea Community Kitchen group). Additionally if you know someone who may be interested in using a commercial rental kitchen in Chelsea, please have them email their name, email, phone number and a brief statement about their intended use to info@chelseacommunitykitchen.com

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hamblin’s Brand Aid Project: Helping Business Ideas Come to Life

Hamblin’s Brand Aid Project: Helping Business Ideas Come to Life

The Concept:

2009 marks The Hamblin Company’s 35th anniversary. 2009 is also a year of serious economic concern. With this in mind, we have created the Hamblin Brand Aid Project to show appreciation and support of the organizations within our local business communities. Through this project, The Hamblin Company will offer up to $35,000 in marketing and communications products and services to help fund the communications needs of one commercial business and one non-profit organization.

The Nomination Process:

Starting April 1, 2009, The Hamblin Company will accept Brand Aid nominations from local non-profit and for-profit businesses for support of their communications goals via the hamblincompany.com website.

Organizations may self-nominate or be nominated by a third party (i.e. a Board of Directors or a volunteer). Any organization that is nominated must be a legal entity or a registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit business. Nominations will be accepted through May 31, 2009.

Nomination Criteria:

To be eligible for nomination and consideration the following criteria must be met:

■ The nominee must be a legal entity or a registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit business operating in southeastern Michigan or Northwestern Ohio.

■ One specific marketing or communications project must be identified for Brand Aid funding. The project may have multiple components.

Selection of Brand Aid Recipients:

A panel of business/communications professionals and Hamblin employees will review the Brand Aid nominations and select two recipients using the following criteria:

  1. Demonstration of monetary and/or professional need.
  2. The impact the project would have in the community or organization.
  3. The scope of the project—would it be accomplished within the monetary limits of the Brand Aid Fund?
  4. The stated vision/goals/objectives of the project.

5. Why the nominator feels the nominee is deserving of the Brand Aid.

Visit hamblincompany.com or email
service@hamblincompany.com for additional details!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Save The Date: SPARK East Open House

Join Us for a Celebration of Business Growth in Ypsilanti!

On May 8, Ann Arbor SPARK, in collaboration with Washtenaw County, Eastern Michigan University, the Eastern Leaders Group and all Eastern Innovation Campus partners, will kick off a community-wide business open house with the debut of SPARK East, the third business incubator in SPARK's Regional Incubator Network. SPARK East offers affordable office space, and critical start-up services, to new businesses.

Join us for a tour of the incubator, learn more about how Ann Arbor SPARK and the Eastside Innovation Campus grows businesses in our region, and meet entrepreneurs starting up and aiming for success. Following the SPARK East Open House, visitors are encouraged to participate in the spring kick-off of downtown Ypsilanti's Second Fridays where they can visit local shops and support local businesses. Let's celebrate business growth and opportunity in Ypsilanti!

The Honorable John D. Dingell, 15th Congressional District Dr. Susan Martin, President Eastern Michigan University Robert Guenzel, Washtenaw County Administrator Ronnie Peterson, Washtenaw County Commissioner, 6th District Host: Michael A. Finney, President and CEO Ann Arbor SPARK

SPARK East, 215 W. Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti

May 8, 2009

Open house tours will run 1:30-5pm, followed by the community-wide open house in downtown Ypsilanti from 5-8pm. A press conference and ribbon cutting will begin at 2:30pm.

Women's Exchange of Washtenaw Forum 2009

Brilliant Business Women - Don't miss a full day of WXW on May 15th!

Last May over 200 women leaders got together to talk about business, form connections, and focus on growing their companies. On May 15, 2009, we're doing it again. Only this time it's going to be even bigger and better!The Women's Exchange of Washtenaw (WXW) is hosting its second annual conference on Friday, May 15th.

This year we're featuring intensive morning workshops, and an afternoon filled with a thought-provoking panel discussion, breakout sessions where all attendees participate, plus a rip-roaring happy hour (actually it's 2 hours!). Trust me - you do NOT want to miss this event! We expect over 300 attendees. Go to http://www.wxwbusiness.com/ for info and registration

Details: Morning workshops are 2 hours long and include:

* Creating and Executing Your Vision (Facilitators: Eleni Kelakos & Carrie Hensel)
* Online Social Networking – How to Use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Other Web Tools for Your Business (Facilitators: Catherine Juon & Marisa Smith)
* Marketing - Drafting a Plan to Tackle Your Market (Facilitators: Debra Power & Rhonda Foxworth)
* Financial Strategies & Managing Cash Flow (Facilitators: Diane Gilson & Mary Hayes)
* Leading From the Middle (Facilitators: Dolly Smith & Lynette Cable)
* Time Management & Productivity (Facilitators: Beth Stoner & Tracey Roy Williams)
Lunch will be provided and with plenty of time to mix and mingle.

Afternoon panelists include:

* Debi Scroggins, CEO, Bearclaw Coffee
* Maria Thompson, President of the Government Solutions Group of A123Systems, Inc (formerly T/J Technologies, Inc.)
* Kimberly Cumming, Executive Director, The Women’s Center of Southeastern Michigan
* Moderator = Mary Morgan, Publisher of the Ann Arbor Chronicle.

Breakout sessions provide a forum for businesswomen to openly interact, collaborate, and participate in meaningful discussions about pressing issues. Topics include:

* Entrepreneurial Leadership - How to work ON the company vs. IN the company
* Team Building - Employee Recruitment and Retention
* Marketing Tactics* Sales Strategies
* Customer Service & Retention* Extreme Networking
* Strategic Opportunities For Growing Your Company
* Creating and Communicating a Vision for Your Company

Don't forget- there's a 2 hour happy hour at the end of the event where you can talk more with women you've met throughout the day. There will be wine, food, music, and ample opportunity to make business connections.

The event will be held at the Kensington Court Ann Arbor, 610 Hilton Blvd., Ann Arbor. The cost to attend is $129 for the full day or $79 for the afternoon. Register at http://www.wxwbusiness.com/.

Event sponsors include the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce, Key Bank, Allegra Print & Imaging, Ann Arbor SPARK, Arboretum Ventures, Bank of Ann Arbor, Brogan & Partners, Dollar Bill, Dykema, Homewatch CareGivers of Ann Arbor, Michigan Commerce Bank, MI-SBTDC, Plante & Moran, Whole Foods, and Weidmayer, Schneider, Raham & Bennett. Media sponsors include Ann Arbor Radio, Business Review & Corp! Magazine

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Is Entrepreneurship For You?

Is Entrepreneurship For You?

In business, there are no guarantees. There is simply no way to eliminate all the risks associated with starting a small business - but you can improve your chances of success with good planning, preparation, and insight. Start by evaluating your strengths and weaknesses as a potential owner and manager of a small business. Carefully consider each of the following questions:

Are you a self-starter? It will be entirely up to you to develop projects, organize your time, and follow through on details.

How well do you get along with different personalities? Business owners need to develop working relationships with a variety of people including customers, vendors, staff, bankers, and professionals such as lawyers, accountants, or consultants. Can you deal with a demanding client, an unreliable vendor, or a cranky receptionist if your business interests demand it?

How good are you at making decisions? Small business owners are required to make decisions constantly - often quickly, independently, and under pressure.

Do you have the physical and emotional stamina to run a business? Business ownership can be exciting, but it's also a lot of work. Can you face six or seven 12-­hour workdays every week?How well do you plan and organize? Research indicates that poor planning is responsible for most business failures. Good organization ­ of financials, inventory, schedules, and production ­can help you avoid many pitfalls.

Is your drive strong enough? Running a business can wear you down emotionally. Some business owners burn out quickly from having to carry all the responsibility for the success of their business on their own shoulders. Strong motivation will help you survive slowdowns and periods of burnout.

How will the business affect your family? The first few years of business start­up can be hard on family life. It's important for family members to know what to expect and for you to be able to trust that they will support you during this time. There also may be financial difficulties until the business becomes profitable, which could take months or years. You may have to adjust to a lower standard of living or put family assets at risk in the short-term.

Why Small Businesses Fail

Success in business is never automatic. It isn't strictly based on luck - although a little never hurts. It depends primarily on the owner's foresight and organization. Even then, of course, there are no guarantees.Starting a small business is always risky, and the chance of success is slim. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, roughly 50% of small businesses fail within the first five years.In his book Small Business Management, Michael Ames gives the following reasons for small business failure:

Lack of experience

Insufficient capital (money)

Poor location

Poor inventory management

Over-investment in fixed assets

Poor credit arrangements

Personal use of business funds

Unexpected growth

Gustav Berle adds two more reasons in The Do It Yourself Business Book:


Low sales

More Reasons Why Small Businesses Fail

These figures aren't meant to scare you, but to prepare you for the rocky path ahead. Underestimating the difficulty of starting a business is one of the biggest obstacles entrepreneurs face. However, success can be yours if you are patient, willing to work hard, and take all the necessary steps.

Excerpt from the SBA.gov site


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Washtenaw County Receives $250,000 State Grant for Spark East, As Reported by © MMIX WWJ Radio, All Rights Reserved.

Washtenaw County, in partnership with Eastern Michigan University and Ann Arbor Spark, has been selected by the Michigan Strategic Fund to receive an award of $250,000 in grant funding through MEDC and the state of Michigan. The grant will support Spark East, the third business incubator in Spark's Regional Incubator Network; located at 215 W. Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti, Spark East offers affordable office space and critical start-up services to new businesses.

In addition to the state grant, Spark East received support from many local partners, including Eastern Michigan University, the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Centers, the Ypsilanti Area Chamber of Commerce, Washtenaw County, City of Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township, Superior Township, The B-Side, the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation and the Eastern Leaders Group.

All of these organizations are providing financial and other support for initial and ongoing operations. The grant funding will be used toward operational expenses for the incubator.
"Our intention is for Spark East to be a catalyst for business and community growth in eastern Washtenaw County," said Rolland Sizemore Jr., chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners. "We've supported the establishment of the incubator as a very direct way to assist innovative companies at their earliest stage of formation and development."

Two conference rooms and utilities are included in an entrepreneur's SPARK East lease, ranging from one-month to one-year commitments. Additional resources are VoIP telephone system, T-1 Internet connections as well as use of copiers, fax machines, and cleaning services.

"The Eastern Leaders Group, a group of elected officials, business and academic leaders have been instrumental in developing a vision for the acceleration of economic development on the east side of the county," said Ronnie Peterson, Washtenaw County Commissioner. "The Spark East incubator is a first and important step in laying the groundwork for strategic local development."

Currently, LaVision, Sensei Change Associates, Brainstorm Creative and Smart Dining occupy Spark East. Lease applications for Spark East are available at http://www.annarborspark.org/start-ups/spark-incubator/#east. For a tour of Spark East, contact Shamar Herron at shamar@annarborusa.org or (734) 372-4070.

The Ann Arbor Spark Regional Incubator Network is comprised of two business and one wet lab incubator. The incubators provide physical space, essential business services and business development guidance -- at lease rates that are affordable for start-up companies. The Ann Arbor Spark Regional Incubator Network includes Spark Central Incubator located in Ann Arbor, Spark East Incubator located in Ypsilanti, and The Michigan Life Science and Innovation Center in Plymouth.

As Reported by © MMIX WWJ Radio, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

DATE CHANGE for Business Plans Workshop

Entrepreneurial Series: Writing a Business Plan has been changed from April 30th to April 23rd due to a scheduling conflict. The time will remain the same, 3:00pm through 6:00pm at our MI-SBTDC office, 301 W. Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti. If you have preregistered and cannot make the new date or need further information please call the office, 734.547.9170.

This workshop will help you understand the necessary content and best format for your business plan and show you the resources to create it. For further information or to check out the other workshops available please visit our Calendar of Events on our website, www.misbtdc.org.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

SPARK East Community Open House

SAVE THE DATE: Join Us for a Celebration of Business Growth in YpsilantiOn May 8, Ann Arbor SPARK, in collaboration with the Eastern Leaders Group and all Eastern Innovation Campus partners, will kick off a community-wide business open house with the debut of SPARK East, the third business incubator in SPARK’s Regional Incubator Network. SPARK East offers affordable office space, and critical start-up services, to new businesses.

Join us for a tour of the incubator, learn more about how Ann Arbor SPARK grows businesses in our region, and meet entrepreneurs starting up and aiming for success. Following the SPARK East Open House, visitors are encouraged to participate in the spring kick-off of downtown Ypsilanti's Second Fridays where they can visit local shops and support local businesses. Let’s celebrate business growth and opportunity in Ypsilanti!

WHERE: SPARK East, 215 W. Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti

DATE: May 8, 2009

TIME: Open house tours will run 1:30-5p, followed by the community-wide open house in downtown Ypsilanti from 5-8p. A press conference and ribbon cutting will begin at 2:30p


Monday, April 6, 2009

Alternatives to Unemployment, a SCORE Workshop

Ann Arbor SCORE is conducting a workshop/seminar, “Alternatives to Unemployment,” at Ikea in Canton, MI on April 21st, 2009 from 6-8 p.m.

Have you been contemplation starting your own business have you always wanted to have your own business but didn’t know how to get it started? Then this in one event you don’t want to miss.

Where there is a will there is a way… “Where there is a vision and a dream there is a means to make it happen. Let’s help Michigan’s economy together as a team, brush, off the dirt, let’s get back in the saddle again! Employ, Empower, and make it happen!”-Michelle Webster

Presentation topics include: how to start yourself, circle of influence, options and opportunities your SWOT analysis, and much more. Presenters from legal, accounting, banking, and SBA backgrounds will be on hand to help answer questions as well.



Friday, April 3, 2009

Celebrate Small Business

Small business is the lifeblood of Michigan's economy. Not since the early years of the era of mass production has that statement been more true. Five of the organizations that support and celebrate entrepreneurism in Michigan have banded together to create Michigan Celebrates Small Business, the state's premier awards ceremony for entrepreneurs and small business leaders.

These organizations include:

*The U.S. Small Business Administration - Michigan
*The Small Business Association of Michigan
*The Michigan Economic Development Corporation
*Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center
*Edward Lowe Foundation

Last year, over 600 leaders in both business and government gathered to honor more than 60 of Michigan's small business leaders. This year's event promises to be even more exciting and the award winners even more successful and deserving.

If you are an entrepreneur, you'll want to be sure to check out the nomination procedures and find out how your firm or perhaps the firm of a colleague might win one of these prestigious awards. Entrepreneur or not, you can still attend the event, support the cause of small business and rub elbows with some of the state's most promising business people, politicians and deal makers.

For more information please visit http://www.michigancelebrates.biz/

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Starting a Kitchen Incubator: One Community's Story

Ron Steiner of the Starting Block kitchen incubator in Hart, MI will share the story of how a small rural community in northern west Michigan starting a viable kitchen incubator.

All who are interested in learning more are invited to attend. There will be plenty of time for question and answer. This is also a time to connect with the steering committee and communicate your opinions about the project.

This event is sponsored by the Chelsea Community Kitchen Steering Committee and in place of our regular meeting

Time:April 7, 2009 from 8:30am to 12:30pm
Location: Chelsea District Library
Street: 221 S. Main Street
City/Town: Chelsea, MI 48118
Website or Map: http://www.chelsea.lib.mi.us/
Contact Info: 734) 475-8732

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bootstrapping a business TODAY.

ENTREPRENEURS - NOW Is the time! Bootstrapping a business TODAY.

On April 2nd, prepare to have all your business questions answered. If you feel knowledge is holding you back in your business, keeping you from driving more sales, lowering your costs, creating new products, or marketing your current ones, this is the premier event for you. We've brought together 5 experts in 5 industries: marketing, accounting, law, management, and entrepreneurship, for a no-holds barred, gloves off, let's get right to the bottom of the barrel, Q and A session. Parking will be extremely limited, so please park across the street at the WCC main campus. All are welcome!

Cost: Free Food: Provided Host: Student Entrepreneurs Zone Club When: Thursday April 2nd, 4 - 6 PM (6 - 8 open networking) Where: WCC Health & Fitness Center: Both Conference Rooms

Panel of Professionals:
Entrepreneurship/Management: Diane Durance
Entrepreneurship/Technology: Carrie Hensel
Business Marketing: Gerald Schorin
Business Accounting: Jeff Doloway
Business Law: Paul Callam

Please RSVP by sending an email to: sezclubrsvp@gmail.com, subject: "April 2nd Event," and don't forget to include your first and last name in the email. Thank you!


Hiring, Firing, Discipline & Interviewing Do's and Don'ts Event


Hiring, Firing, Discipline & Interviewing Do's and Don'ts is the topic of this week's First Friday Forum.

This is an opportnity to get the answers to your HR questions from a Labor and Employment Law specialist. C. Philip Baither, III is a partner of the law firm of Robison Curphey & O'Connell. His office is in the firm's Adrian office on East Maumee Street. The program is set for this Friday, April 3 at Noon and will be held at the Blue Flame Room at 117 North Winter Street, Adrain, MI. (Please park in the City Lot across the street.)

Cost is $7.50 and includes a boxed lunch. Make your reservations now. This is an excellent opportunity to learn from an expert! To make your reservation, reply to this e-mail or call 265-2320. See you there!


Monday, March 30, 2009

MI-SBTDC 2008 Statewide Economic Impact

At the MI-SBTDC we like to focus our attention on the successes of our clients. In this post we are shifting our perspective and sharing with you our accomplishments in assisting small businesses for 2008.


5,503 businesses were counseled.
6,789 clients attended training
12,382 businesses/clients were reaches by SBTDC
21,901 employed by the businesses counseled

42% of businesses were Female owned
9% of businesses were Veteran owned
22% of businesses ere Minority owned (excluding females)

58% of businesses counseled were existing.
42% of businesses were startups.
360 businesses counseled were started
3,379 new jobs were created
$289,963,167 capital raised (traditional & technology companies)


Total number of high-tech clients served: 358
Total number of client hours of assistance: 6825

Total number of new technology jobs created: 282

Total capital raised (including SBIR): $54,433,706
SBIR Phase I and II capital raised: $9,974,352


The SBTDC and the Kaufmann Foundation have launched a statewide program to help dislocated workers start small businesses? The Fast Trac*New Venture* program aims to help dislocated workers evaluate business opportunities and develop and action plan for owning their own small business.

The SBTDC, as a managing partner of Michigan Celebrates Small Business event, has vetted its 50 Companies to Watch and 11 SBA Recognitions. The event is aligned to be another success. Twenty-seven of the 50 companies to watch are SBTDC clients, an outstanding fact in year 5 of this event.

The goal of the MI-SBTDC is to continue to make a difference by strengthening companies, creating new jobs, and assisting companies like yours in defining their path to success.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Business.gov Launches First Government-Sponsored Online Community for Small Businesses

WASHINGTON – SBA’s Business Gateway Program announced today the launch of a new Web initiative – http://Community.Business.gov – the first government-sponsored online community built specifically for small businesses.The objective of the Business.gov Community supports the White House’s mission to create a transparent and connected democracy, and aims to provide small business owners, bloggers, and the government with a place to discuss and share information about starting and running a successful business.

An extension of Business.gov, the Business.gov Community combines discussion forums, blogs, an idea exchange, and more, and offers advanced tools for navigating the labyrinth of government resources, policies, laws, and opportunities that impact the small business owner.

In addition to providing a “home” where users can share expertise and unique experiences, the site also provides a pioneering opportunity for small businesses to provide direct input into Business.gov and voice the ways government and the online community can better serve them.

“Over the past year, we have significantly expanded our efforts to engage with small business owners, by giving them easy access to the information they need to run their business,” said Nancy Sternberg, program manager of Business Gateway. “The launch of the Business.gov Community represents a new milestone. Through the application of Web 2.0 technologies, we hope to unite small business owners, industry experts and government, and take the program to a new level of collaborative knowledge-sharing and insight.”

Over the next few months, the Business.gov Community will expand to include additional features and resources that address specific user interests and provide access to the wider pool of government and Business.gov partner resources available to the small business owner.

About Business.govBusiness.gov is managed by the U.S. Small Business Administration in partnership with 21 other federal agencies. This partnership, known as Business Gateway, provides innovative information services to the small business community that save time and money, engage citizens to participate, and enable collaboration across all key levels of government. Launched in 2004, Business.gov provides a single access point to government services and information to help the nation’s businesses with their operations

Friday, March 13, 2009

SBA Revises Goodwill Lending Provisions in SOP; Will Consider Higher Limits Case-by-Case

WASHINGTON -The U. S. Small Business Administration announced that it is accommodating concerns raised regarding the recently announced policy guidance on the financing of goodwill. SBA will consider loans for larger goodwill amounts on a case-by-case basis through August 31, 2009. The announced policy guidance originally allows SBA loans to be used to finance goodwill, but limits that financing to no more than half the loan amount, up to $250,000.

"We are aware of the concerns surrounding SBA limits to goodwill lending and are taking measured steps to address those concerns in a responsible manner," said SBA Acting Administrator Darryl K. Hairston. "SBA is committed to helping our lending partners finance small business, but access to capital must be balanced by our need to manage the risks in
our portfolio and the implications those risks have for potential costs to the taxpayers."

"Goodwill" is the difference between what a buyer pays for an existing business and the book or fair market value of the assets of the business. Goodwill is one of the riskiest assets that can be financed, because it typically has no liquidation value in the event a loan defaults.

Until the new Standard Operating Procedures, or SOP, were issued for SBA loan programs last year, the previous guidance for goodwill was that sellers should finance it when a business was sold. However, as lenders increasingly used SBA-guaranteed loans to finance business sales, the agency issued more specific guidance, which was due to take effect on March 1, 2009.

The new guidance, issued February 6, 2009, allowed use of SBA-backed loans to finance goodwill up to a maximum of 50 percent of the loan amount, up to a maximum of $250,000.

The agency received comments from lenders and business brokers expressing concern that such limit would effectively stop business acquisitions at a time when many newly unemployed individuals are considering the purchase of a business.

After thorough consideration of the comments, SBA decided to review loan applications that do not meet the guidance in the SOP on a case-by-case basis. SBA will use the next six months to study the types of transactions involving substantial goodwill and consider a revision of the current policy when the semi-annual update of SOP 50 10 is published in September of 2009.