Monday, January 25, 2010

Small Business Development Centers are visiting Michigan to learn how to become a technology designated state

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — In the current economic climate, Michigan has had a particularly difficult time. But it's not all bleak news — representatives from six states will be visiting the state to learn about the small business training and assistance offered by the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC).

A group of 13 representatives from six states will attend a comprehensive three-day demonstration of Michigan's development of its commercialization assistance program from January 20 - 22. They will learn the key elements for development of a strong commercialization program, with strategies for launch and ongoing growth.

"The Michigan SBTDC received numerous inquiries from other Small Business Development Centers nationwide about our technology work," said Carol Lopucki, SBTDC State Director. "They expressed interest in visiting Michigan to learn about our program. Instead of working with each SBDC individually, we decided to invite all of them to Michigan and demonstrate how Michigan's technology team has been so successful."

There are 63 SBDCs across the nation and only 7 are accredited with a technology designation. In 2003, The Michigan SBTDC was the first state to be accredited with that designation by the American's Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC). North Carolina SBDC offered guidance to Michigan because of their strong technology work within their state.

California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, and Minnesota are among the states that have requested guidance from the Michigan SBTDC on how to become "T" designated and to learn technology-related best practices.

The agenda during the "T" tour will consist of participants learning how to integrate technology into the SBDC program, analyzing the tools used to assist technology businesses and developing strategic partners. The tour will also visit a few of the technology team's strategic partners which includes SPARK, Automation Alley and TechTown.

"Our strategic partners here in Michigan, as well as our technology business consultants, are what makes the Michigan Technology Team so successful," said Phil Tepley, SBTDC Technology Team Coordinator. "The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) leads Michigan's economic diversification strategy and has played a key role in the success of this program."

COVERAGE OP: The "T" Tour will be at Tech Town in Detroit on Thursday, January 21. The media is invited to attend the Tech Town tour that is scheduled from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. "T" Tour participants will be available to answer questions from the media following the tour. Tech Town is located at 440 Burroughs Street, Suite 100 in Detroit.

About Michigan SBTDC Technology Team

The MI-SBTDC Technology Team's mission is to help Michigan transition to an innovation based economy by providing direct assistance to Michigan's emerging technology companies. The Technology Team was created as a collaboration between the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

The Team, comprised of 9 technology consultants, provides no cost specialized counseling in the following areas: financing assistance (equity and R&D grants); business, strategic, and commercialization planning; and access to resources.

About Michigan SBTDC

The Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center provides counseling, training and market research for Michigan's new business ventures, existing small businesses, expanding new businesses, new technology companies, and innovators. The MI-SBTDC is located at the Grand Valley State University, Seidman College of Business in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As host of the MI-SBTDC™ State Headquarters, the Seidman College of Business oversees the twelve-region MI-SBTDC™ network. Entrepreneurs and small business owners may access the services of their nearest MI-SBTDC by calling 616.331.7480 or visiting

Friday, January 15, 2010


The MI-SBTDC Region 12 office in Ypsilanti is closed due to a power outage. Monday, January 18th the office will remain closed in observance of Martin Luther King day. The office will reopen for normal business hours Tuesday, January 19th.

Please feel free to leave a message on our voicemail, 734.547.9170 or email the office and we will get back with you Tuesday. Thank you for your patience during this time.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Washtenaw County Leaders Celebrate Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Merger

Over 300 Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Chamber Members and elected officials crowded into the meeting space at Washtenaw Community College’s Morris Lawrence Building for the First Tuesday Breakfast of 2010. This was the first open event where joint Chamber President Diane Keller addressed the merger of the chambers.

In attendance of the event was Washtenaw Community College President Larry Whitworth, Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center Directors Charles Penner & Richard King, Ann Arbor SPARK CEO Mike Finney, and Chair of Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce Karl Couyoumjian, among other noted community members.

As many are concerned with the cost and support of the new organization Keller stated, “We will be run as if we were entrepreneurs and it’s our own money. We will make sure we spend your dollars toward economic development in this community." Although the new due schedule is yet to be determined Keller advised members to pay as currently scheduled and the new chamber will retain their anniversary date.

Currently members of both chambers also have the opportunity to attend all scheduled Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Chamber events. “You can now go back and forth to both chambers for same member price,” said Keller.

Currently the new Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Regional Chamber is split between two offices in the downtown area of both cities. The chamber is turning to members as well as the community to determine a locale. Possibilities include one main office with smaller satellite offices, or two smaller offices in each area. Members are able to voice their opinions and concerns through email to

This merger is the first step in taking down the "invisible wall" at the intersection of Washtenaw Avenue and US-23. The community is striving to join together all resources and support for two of the largest cities in Washtenaw County. “We hope to be a model of prosperity in our community,” Keller said

Friday, January 8, 2010

Buy Michigan First with Rep. Pam Byrnes and the Michigan Department of Management and Budget

To help local business owners win state contracts, Rep. Pam Byrnes and the Michigan Department of Management and Budget are hosting a "Buy Michigan First" seminar. The seminar will be held January 11, 2010 from 9am to noon at the Washtenaw Intermediate School District in Ann Arbor.

Rebecca Nevai, Buy Michigan First vendor outreach coordinator will speak on topics such as about bidding opportunities, how to register as a State vendor, free resources for research and bid preparation, and navigating the State contracting process. Many speakers with multiple resources for Michigan entrepreneurs include the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center, Washtenaw Community College, and SCORE among others.

While the event is free pre-registration is required due to space limitations. For further information please visit:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Free Seminar Women in Business- Mom-preneurship at the Chelsea Library

Visit the Chelsea District Library for a look at the ways female entrepreneurs have struck the balance of running a business and running their families. Learn about creative solutions for dividing your time and managing your resources to allow you to start your business on your own terms and time constraints.

The evening begins with a short presentation about being a woman entrepreneur and will break into a roundtable discussion on the issues moms face in the business world. The purpose of the presentation is to introduce the idea that many women, specifically moms, have their own unique journey when starting and running a business.

Speakers: Victoria Bennett, Associate Dean of Business, WCC
Breanne Stuart, Homewatch Caregivers
Donna Lewis, DLA Group LLC & Natural Kids
Francisca Fernandez, New Chelsea Market

Fee: Free

Date: January 11th, 6:30pm-8:00pm

Please preregister with the Chelsea Library as space for this free event is limited, 734.475.8732