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

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:

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 (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

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 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 or email 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 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

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