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Collaborative design project celebrates Lansing, raises funds for art education

From T-shirts, to stickers, to tongue-in-cheek humor, Lansing's grittiest, grassroots, art-driven promo company has ventured into fundraising—forever empowered by the #LoveLansing movement.
 
JiveOne5even—a collaborative art project started by Paul Vetne and Marcus Cottom—recently held it's very first fundraiser in the form of a #LoveLansing party at the Green Door. The event was organized to raise dollars for elementary art programs in the Lansing School District. After an afternoon of live music and activities involving local vendors, Cottom says the event pulled in about $3,600 to purchase art materials and fund scholarships for places like REACH and MSU SmART.
 
"We're going to try to do this on an annual basis," says Cottom, a Lansing native. "Both Paul and I are artists, so it was something we felt strongly about."
 
Cottom and Vetne launched JiveOne5even in the spring of 2014. The two came up with a handful of original designs, printed them on T-shirts, and ventured out to test the appeal through local festivals. The T-shirts caught hold, leading them to branch into stickers, buttons and other items that pay homage to the city.
 
While not Versace or Nike, Cottom says the JiveOne5even label projects a certain cache, and celebrates Lansing through an ironic, urban and respectful sensibility. Designs are created using elements from existing concepts—similar to how a rapper or DJ would build music from samples.
 
"Sometimes I think Lansing has a bad reputation," says Cottom. "You can look at it from the outside and say one thing, but when you live here, you see there's a lot of good going on. It's not just potholes and a big cement parking lot where GM used to be. It's a place full of people starting businesses and making music and art—all kinds of things."
 
JiveOne5even currently has eight designs that can be printed on T-shirts, stickers, buttons, and other small novelty items. Most are available through local stores on the East Side, East Lansing and near downtown.
 
Source: Marcus Cottom, Co-Owner, JiveOne5seven
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
    
Got a story idea for Innovation News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

SBAM connects businesses with job seekers through cutting-edge recruitment platform

A new cutting-edge job-matching technology recently introduced by the Small Business Association of Michigan through a partnership with WorkFountain can help businesses streamline the recruitment process by connecting them with prospective employees.
 
The SBAM Talent Exchange uses sophisticated matching algorithms to connect employers to candidates based on skills, interests and requirements. Employers who join the exchange create an account and are walked through a series of questions that help them identify the type of employees needed for a particular job or jobs. The system then searches through a pool of job seekers and presents seven candidates for each position specified by the employer.
 
"It's basically a match.com for employer and employees," says Sarah Miller, director of marketing for SBAM. "Candidates are presented to you based on specific job titles to education to skill set—whatever you specify."
 
SBAM says that the talent exchange focuses on small- to mid-sized businesses since companies with 500 or fewer employees are responsible for a sizeable amount of hiring. Just over half of the private sector jobs, and nearly two-thirds of the nation's net new jobs in the past decade-and-a-half, have been created by businesses that range from 1 to 500 employees, according to figures reported by SBAM.
 
"We know that finding qualified talent is one of the most significant challenges for businesses," says Miller. "This technology is a good resource for finding the talent, and can save businesses time, money and resources."
 
Members of SBAM can join the talent exchange for $35, while job seekers can register and post their credentials for free. About 53,000 potential employees have already joined the talent exchange which is available to SBAM members state-wide.
 
SBAM serves about 23,000 small businesses that range from accountants to appliance stores, manufacturers to medical, and restaurants to retailers, in all 83 Michigan counties. Approximately 1,300 businesses of SBAM's membership are in Ingham County.
 
Source: Sarah Miller, Director of Marketing, Small Business Association of Michigan
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
    
Got a story idea for Innovation News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

The Errand Man helps busy professionals reclaim leisure time

While everyone talks about the secret to work-life balance, it can sometimes be the little everyday tasks that threaten to tip the scales.
 
Enter The Errand Man—a man with a mission to help people reclaim and transform otherwise hectic hours into sensible leisure time.
 
"I know what's it like to be juggling so many things that you feel there's just not enough hours in the day," says Skip Lare, a retired career Coast Guard officer and human resource executive. "I used to feel that way, but now I'm here to help people with those everyday tasks that can eat up all your spare time."
 
Lare started his personal concierge service in August. His goal? To be the extra hands people sometimes need to keep up with the pace of modern life. He's there to pick up that bike at the repair shop, deliver garden mulch, and do weekly grocery shopping. No task or errand is too small or too large. He'll find a way, he says, to make it work.
 
"Wouldn't it be nice to be able to shoot me a text asking me to pick up eggs, bread and milk so you can avoid yet another trip to the store on your way home?" Lare asks. "I can do that."
 
Lare got the idea for The Errand Man from his daughter, and set out to model his business after concierge services he had seen in metropolitan areas like Detroit, St. Louis and D.C. He runs errands, shops, and provides pick-up and delivery services for both individuals and businesses. He's also there to help transport or do everyday things for the elderly. Lare is licensed, insured and bonded, and a mobile notary. Above all, he says, he's among one of the fastest growing groups of entrepreneurs: senior citizens.
 
"I like helping people out because now I have the time to do that," says Lare. "I can do things last minute or at a scheduled time. If you need something done, I can help."
 
Source: Skip Lare, Owner, The Errand Man
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
    
Got a story idea for Innovation News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Lettuce Live Well weighs in with free nutritional programs

Kelly Zielinski has a losing proposition that promises to be a winner for Greater Lansing.
 
As the co-founder and president of Lettuce Live Well, Zielinski and her business partner Ashley Logan got Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero to "weigh in" and launch Lansing Loses a Million at his recent State of the City address.
 
The free initiative, Zielinski explains, is modeled after a program in Oklahoma City in which city residents pledge to lose a combined 1 million pounds. Participants can log into a website to track food and calorie intake, fitness, blood pressure, body measurements and other wellness indicators. The Lansing program also offers participants the chance join online groups or community activities for additional support.
 
"We're looking to get as many people signed up as possible," says Zielinski, mentioning that more than 400 people are already on board. "It's ongoing, so there's no end date. We figure it will take a few years at least to lose a million."
 
Lansing Loses a Million is just one part of Zielinski's efforts to provide free community resources focused on nutrition and wellness. She and Logan founded Lettuce Live Well in July 2014 to provide nutritional and fitness coaching to groups and individuals through pre-arranged sessions at community centers, businesses and other public sites.
 
Lettuce Live Well also holds educational grocery store tours that provide advice on how to buy healthy foods on a budget. Each participant receives a $10 gift card to spend toward a meal that includes all five food groups. The program is supported through the national Cooking Matters at the Store Program, with tours conducted at local ValuLand, Meijer, Wal-Mart and Aldi stores.
 
"I'm just incredibly passionate about nutrition and want to help people," says Zielinski who learned about nutrition from volunteering at food banks and interning with dieticians. "There's not a lot of free nutritional resources out there. But more important, eating is the most important thing we do every day, and sometimes no one shows us how to do it properly."
 
Lettuce Live Well is a volunteer organization supported by sponsors. As programs and initiatives grow, Zielinski hopes to move into a brick-and-mortar location by late spring, and to add to her roster of more than a dozen volunteers and business interns.
 
Source: Kelly Zielinski, Co-founder and President, Lettuce Live Well
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
    
Got a story idea for Innovation News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

The Runway receives MEDC grant to develop cutting-edge curriculum

The state's first and only fashion business incubator will begin offering cutting-edge training and educational activities to fashion start-ups thanks to a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
 
The $65,000 grant to the Lansing Economic Development Corporation will enable the development of strategic and sustainable curriculum for The Runway—curriculum that LEAP says will nurture the growing fashion industry across the state.
 
"The Runway is the catalyst to start the conversation about the fashion industry in Lansing as well as state-wide," says Quin Stinchfield, manager of business incubation for LEAP. "It's a way to help people coming out of our various fashion programs stay in the area and build a business."
 
Curriculum and training, Stinchfield says, is key to the success of The Runway, located inside the renovated Knapp's Centre in downtown Lansing. Potential partners in curriculum development and delivery include fashion programs through Lansing Community College and Michigan State University, Michigan Fashion Proto, the MSU Alumni Association, Detroit Garment Guild Group, Michigan Garment Industry Council, and other fashion-focused organizations across the state.
 
Workshops under construction include pattern making, draping basics, fashion sketching and various studio sessions that help people refine and learn garment-making skills.
 
"We're working to put a curriculum in place that no matter what stage you're at, there's a offering or piece that you can gain knowledge from," says Stinchfield.
 
Other educational and knowledge-based activities supported through the grant include a web-based library, a monthly speaker series, an international fashion exchange program, and quarterly trainings on equipment. Some activities will be open to the public. In addition, Foster, Swift, Collins, and Smith PC—one of The Runway's key sponsors—will be on site twice a week to provide legal services to members of The Runway.
 
"We want to be able to provide a full package to help someone launch a company," says Stinchfield. "When we say we want to bring retail back to Lansing, this is among the great ways and methods to do it."
 
Source: Quin Stinchfield, Manager of Business Incubation, LEAP
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Innovation News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Swim Lively has legs as fashion-minded athletic and leisurewear

Thoughts of spring break or summer fun can be warming but also chilling when thoughts of pulling on a swimsuit come to mind.
 
Fine artist and sculpture Mary Gillis set out to take the edge off that shared anxiety by creating a swimsuit she felt comfortable wearing. Her design ended up being much more than a swimsuit, and became the platform for Swim Lively—her new Lansing-based business located in The Runway in downtown Lansing.
 
"I frequently travel and loved everything about it except putting on a swimsuit," says Gillis of her sojourns to sunny climes. "It seemed logical that a lot of women wouldn't want to wear a bikini or a typical swimsuit. I thought someone would design a comfortable suit, but no one did."
 
Gillis went to the drawing board combined elements of athletic and leisure wears and created a suit that can be worn for swim, yoga, sports, recreation or leisure. Made from high-tech fabric, the retro-styling provides more coverage in the hips and thighs with a chic, slimming silhouette. Side-zippered legs open to hips for lounging by the pool or beach, while options for bodice and back styles add to the figure flattering fits.
 
"I wanted to create something that was both athletic and chic," says Gillis. "I also wanted the structure of the suit to accommodate different body types by offering what I call the perfect fit equation."
 
Gillis made her first prototype suit in January 2014 and took it on a test run to Cabo. She said that so many women asked about her suit and where they could get one that she decided to take the plunge and launch the brand.
 
Gillis was among the inaugural members of The Runway in the renovated Knapp's Centre. She makes her own digitized patterns, sources materials, and works with a Michigan manufacturer who cuts and sews the suits. Swim Lively maintains a small inventory of suits in simple sizing from S, M, L and XL at the Runway store, with most sales directed online.
 
"Swim Lively is a sculptural art form I didn't anticipate getting into," says Gillis, whose work has been exhibited internationally through public, private and corporate collections, including Lansing's Accident Fund and the Board of Water and Light. "But I'm a visual problem solver. It goes with my DNA."
 
Source: Mary Gillis, Owner, Swim Lively
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
 Got a story idea for Innovation News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Contest gives Greater Lansing residents a chance to show their love

Lansing residents have a chance to share their affection for the capital region by entering a video contest designed to show why it's so easy to fall in love with the area.
 
The Love Letters to Lansing Video Contest will award cash prizes for the best short videos that showcase the ways the Lansing area is a great place to live, work and play. The contest, say organizers, presents opportunity for residents to show off their artistic sides while also telling the region's story.
 
"Love Letters to Lansing is a way for our citizens to talk about why they love Lansing and win some prize money in the process," says Dominic Cochran, director of Lansing's Public Media Center. "In the end, we'll also have some great videos to help promote our area to others."
 
The contest is supported by the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitor's Bureau in cooperation with the Lansing Public Media Center—which also coordinates the Capital City Film Festival. Winning videos will join other user-generated content on the CVB website that shows everyday people talking about why they stay and what they love about the region.
 
The CVB provided funding for $4,000 in cash prizes to be divided among the top four winners, with other potential prizes from local merchants. The best-of-the-best entry will also be played before feature films, providing the chance for the winner and other contest participants to see works on the big screen.
 
"Lansing is full of passionate, energetic residents who take pride in where they live," says Tracy Padot, vice president of marketing communications for the Greater Lansing CVB. "This contest is a perfect opportunity for those who just can't contain themselves to tell the world why Lansing is the place to be."
 
The deadline for entry is March 16, 2015, at noon. The contest entry fee is $10 per entry, and videos must be no longer than three-minutes in length. Entries must be emailed here or physically delivered to Lansing Public Media Center, 2500 S. Washington Ave., Lansing. Full contest rules and more information can be found here.
 
Source: Dominic Cochran, director, Lansing Public Media Center
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
    
Got a story idea for Innovation News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Records Redone puts new spin on old vinyl, expands to five retail outlets

Two friends with a penchant for music are putting a new spin on old vinyl by repurposing records into conversation-starting décor.
 
With creative operations in Lansing, Records Redone transforms 33-1/3 long-playing records into silhouettes of recording artists, city skylines, or custom images on request. The recreated works are suitable for framing, says co-owner Derek Vaive, and are a perfect way to up cycle less-than-collectible records gathering dust in basements or attics.
 
"We had both been vinyl junkies for a long time," says Vaive who co-owns the online business with Michael Fleyte. "We came up this idea to take what we had around the house and see what we could come up with."
 
Vaive and Fleyte started by cutting the 2-D sculptures by hand using a Dremel tool. The initial pieces got friends talking and prompted requests for custom works. Within months, the two began retailing their creations through a novelty store in Chicago.
 
Since laying down those first tracks in 2012, Records Redone has spun its way into retail outlets in Lansing, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Denver, Minnesota and New Orleans. Five of those connections, Vaive says, were made in 2014.
 
Bestselling pieces include the Beatles, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix and Elvis. City skylines like Detroit and Chicago also make the top 10. Custom works have included a skyline for the Country Music Hall of Fame, and silhouettes of U.S. presidents for a D.C. restaurant. Pieces typically retain the original recording label, or customers can choose to embellish with a signature Records Redone label.
 
Because of demand, Vaive and Fleyte switched their means of production to a custom-built CNC machine. Images are designed on laptop, cut by machine, and meticulously trimmed and cleaned by hand. All production is done in a home-based workshop, with business driven online. Customers can supply their own record, or request vinyl from the Records Redone stock.
 
Charting a record year in 2014, Vaive and Fleyte are looking to possibly hire an employee and open a brick-and-mortar shop.
 
"It's great," he says. "It's amazing what's happened since that first request from a friend for a hand-made disc."
 
Source: Derek Vaive, Co-Owner, Records Redone
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Innovation News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Area partners invests in kids with innovative education savings initiative

Families of kindergarteners in Lansing are getting a boost toward saving for their future education thanks to a new financial program unveiled in mid-January through the City of Lansing, the Lansing School District, and the MSU Federal Credit Union.
 
Lansing SAVE—or Student Accounts Valuing Education—involves opening up an MSUFCU savings account for 357 kindergarten students at five schools to help families save for their child's post-secondary education. Students at Cumberland, Lyon, Reo, Riddle and Willow schools were enrolled in the first phase of the program. Other schools and groups of elementary students will join over the next four years, with the end goal being an MSUFCU savings account for every kindergartener in the Lansing School District.
 
"We all have the same goal to see our children be successful in life and be a positive contributing member of the community," says April Clobes, MSUFCU executive vice president and chief operating officer. "That ultimately leads to a better community for everyone."
 
The MSUFCU provided the initial funds to open up the individual accounts for students. Lansing SAVE will seek private sponsors to contribute to accounts, while family members and friends are encouraged to make regular contributions. The credit union has also committed to provide a $100 graduation gift to students that complete the program, graduate from high school, and go to college.
 
Lansing SAVE account holders will also receive in-school financial education from the MSUFCU in cooperation with the Lansing School District. The programs will include teaching children about money through a progression of age-appropriate courses. Subjects will include how to save, spend and donate, as well as future lessons on budgeting and understanding credit. All the lessons are paired with activities children can do at home with their family.
 
"Our children are our future," says Clobes. "They're our future employees, parents and elected officials. Investing in children and helping them to be successful is how we continue to have a vibrant and successful community."
 
Source: April Clobes, Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer, MSU Federal Credit Union
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Innovation News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

New women-in-construction group builds membership

A newly formed group in Lansing is building momentum within just four months of breaking ground.
 
In September, a couple dozen women launched the Greater Lansing Chapter of the Professional Women in Building Council. Since then, numbers have climbed to 45 strong, with more women joining or expressing interest about careers in the building trades.
 
For PWB member Jessica Cooper, the uptick is astonishing, but not totally unexpected.
 
"In Michigan, women are do-it-yourselvers," says Cooper who was among the council's inaugural members. "I grew up in the area and was always raised that if you could do something, you'd do it. To me, women in Lansing aren't scared to pick up a drill and are able and want to be in this industry."
 
Cooper, who works as a remodeler for the Meridian Company, came to the building trades through her 10-year stint at Home Depot. After seeking out additional training and education in the trades, she settled at her current post with the plumbing, heating, air conditioning and remodeling company a few years ago.
 
The building trades, Cooper reflects, provide decent career paths and wages. Over time, she says she's seen more women working in construction, design, and building and doing tasks like drywall and tile work.
 
"We'd like to encourage more women to consider the building trades," says Cooper. "There's a fair amount of job availability and it provides you with some pretty empowering skills."
 
Cooper comments that women can offer different perspective on building outcomes that men sometimes overlook—which adds dimension to a traditionally male-dominated industry.
 
"We approach things differently than men," says Cooper. "As a remodeler, I know how a woman would use her kitchen or bathroom—what would be functional for her."
 
The PWB is among local chapter nationwide, and is affiliated with National Association of Home Builders. The local Lansing council receives support from the Home Builders Association of Greater Lansing and provides a means for professional women in the building industry to network, support one another, and give back to the community through grants and scholarships.
 
Source: Jessica Cooper, Member,  Greater Lansing Chapter of the Professional Women in Building Council
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Innovation News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Historic warehouse finds new life as meeting space for businesses and organizations

Businesses, executive boards and non-profits looking to strategize in an environment apart from the office or corporate meeting room will find a new space in Lansing expressly designed to inspire.
 
Beginning in February, David Seitz and Traci Riehl will open the doors to ThinkSpace—a repurposed warehouse that sets the tone for innovative thinking through flexible, edgy and comfortable meeting spaces.
 
"We've both used traditional external spaces a lot," says Seitz who has worked in the tech sector and public policy arena. "I ran into some really innovative spaces in Chicago and New York but not so much here in Michigan. Traci and I thought we'd start by building an amazing space that inspires people to come together."
 
The two co-founders scoured the commercial real estate market for months and happened upon the facility at 416 S. Cedar Street last summer. Located on the River Trail, the building emanated with potential, and had the post-industrial-forward-thinking vibe envisioned by the two experienced facilitators and meeting planners. 
 
Seitz and Riehl rolled up their sleeves and remodeled the interior to create what they say are ideal collaborative and one-on-one spaces for fostering creativity. The end result is a facility repurposed for the future—reflecting their mission to provide spaces where organizations can take old ideas and recreate them into something new.
 
"ThinkSpace is designed for creativity," says Riehl. "It sets the tone that you'll be undertaking a brand new experience."
 
Riehl and Seitz decked out the former 100-year-old storage facility with bright colors and flexible furnishings, accentuated the building's natural light, and provided "back door" access to the River Trail. Equipped with a kitchen, a loft, and various meeting spaces, the 2,000-square-foot facility can accommodate training sessions, strategy meetings, retreats and off-site sales pitches. Groups can also enlist professional facilitators and motivational speakers to guide meetings and sessions held within ThinkSpace.
 
"Our focus was to build a complete experience," says Seitz. "We're really excited to be doing this in Lansing. It's a chance for people to come here as a destination and to build a future for their own organization."  
 
ThinkSpace is planning a grand opening event for sometime in March.
 
Source: Traci Riehl and David Seitz, Co-founders, ThinkSpace
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea? Contact Ann Kammerer here.

Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association relocates to Okemos, renews focus on education

An association with a statewide presence approaching 110 years will focus on growth and renewal in 2015 after moving to a new location in late 2014.
 
The Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association picked up 300 square feet plus easy-on, easy-off access to I-96 with the cross-town relocation from Lansing to 2175 Commons Parkway in Okemos. The 18,000-square foot office, says association leadership, also provides space to grow and for coordinating conferences and educational events related to Michigan's lodging and tourism industry.
 
"We've grown in recent years," says Steve Yencich, president and CEO of the MLTA. "This move serves as an opportunity to expand our operations and to put our best foot forward as we move toward the future."
 
The upcoming year, Yencich says, will renew MLTA's focus on education, with plans to develop up to eight regional education seminars on leadership skills for all levels of hotel and lodging industry staff. Other core activities include leading advocacy efforts for the Pure Michigan Campaign, and fostering professional development and networking opportunities through the coordination of the Pure Michigan Governor's Conference on Tourism. Started in 2006, the conference has grown from an initial 275 attendees to nearly 1,000 in 2014.
 
Formed in 1905, the MLTA is the only statewide trade association that advocates for Michigan's lodging and tourism industry. The association represents hundreds of hotels, motels, resorts, and bed and breakfasts across the state, comprising more than 50,000 guest rooms. The MLTA membership includes suppliers and vendors, convention and visitor bureaus, colleges and universities, students, attractions and transportation operators.
 
Tourism, says Yencich, generates upward to 18 billion dollars in economic activity each year for Michigan, and employs more than 200,000 people statewide.
 
"That includes high school and college students, and high school and college graduates," says Yencich. "It's a wonderful career opportunity for people of all ages."
 
The MLTA currently employs three full-time staff, two part-timers, several college interns, and works with dozens of industry professionals for seminars and job- and leadership-based educational training.
 
Source: Steve Yencich, President and CEO, Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Innovation News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Innovation News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Hatching contestant pitches Mini Maker Space

With the introduction of various Maker spaces in the area, inventors and creatives are getting more opportunities to bring their ideas to life. But, with all these opportunities, Melissa Rabideau Allen noticed a particular group that was being left out. “Kids are pretty much geniuses,” says Rabideau, “but their creativity isn’t always harnessed.”

As part of the team that brought us The Poochie Bowl, Rabideau presented her idea for a Mini Maker Space at last months’ Hatching and brought home the grand prize. The space will be open to kids ages 4-12, but Rabideau says they won’t exclude those older or younger that would like to participate. “A lot of the time kids have ideas, they just don’t know how to make them happen,” says Rabideau. 

The space will have hands on tools, technology and other inventors available to them that can help with the logistics of their idea. They will have access to 3D printers and scanners, motors, circuits and anything else that will help them take an idea and turn it into a product. 

The Mini Maker Space will have a flagship store in the Meridian Mall and will look to other Maker Spaces to connect with them. They expect to hire at least 10-12 people within the next 6-12 months. 

Source: Melissa Rabideau Allen, Founder
Author: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor

LEAP launches foreign investment program, welcomes new companies, jobs, to the area

As manager of business attraction for the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), David Olson is currently in Italy as a part of the newly launched Direct Foreign Investment Attraction Program. Here, he will spend three weeks connecting with businesses and firms interested in expanding and bringing new business and jobs to the region. 

Many other regions in the state have had great success with programs like this over the last few decades and Bob Trezise, President and CEO of LEAP, is happy that it’s happening here. “We are very excited that with David Olson’s leadership and a very targeted and smart approach, the time is right for us to be able to attract investment in Lansing.” 

There are many reasons the time seems to be right for Lansing to launch a program like this one one of the biggest being that, for the first time in a long time, Lansing has a story to tell. “We really are a great place to invest,” says Trezise, “we are a fired up, emerging, global economy.” 

And while it may take a few years for the program to have maximum effect, it has already landed a few contracts with smaller plants, a typical starting point. These contracts will bring at least 5 jobs to the area and are just a jumping off point. 

Source: Bob Trezise, President and CEO, LEAP
Author: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor

Prima Civitas, Maker's Coalition push for re-growth of the cut and sew industry

Prima Civitas is working with the Maker’s Coalition to re-establish an industry that has been brought back to Lansing’s attention through the establishment of The Runway Fashion Incubator; the Cut and Sew Industry. While the incubator has sewing machines that will take a design from prototype to product, this industry is much more than clothes. 

The Cut and Sew Industry can include awnings, tarps, clothing, boat covers, leather goods and much more. But whatever they produce, they need human hands to create it. And, in many of the companies in this industry, those human hands are about to retire. Prima Civitas and the Maker’s Coalition want to work with community colleges to provide the training one would need to enter the growing industry. “We want to couple the curriculum with a workforce development program,” says Prima Civitas CEO, Arnold Weinfeld, “Hopefully to get people on the job and re-establish the industry in Michigan.”

The program has already been initiated in Southeast Michigan but they see Lansing as a great future city. They are looking to establish a program of six months or less that would teach sewing techniques, preparing people for a career with good wages and bright future. 

Source: Arnold Weinfeld, Prima Civitas 
Author: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor
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