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Entrepreneurship : Innovation & Job News

463 Entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All

Hunt for Points and discover culture in your community

A scavenger hunt app created to help community members discover culture in their own community will be releasing an updated version.  The concept for Pointillism was inspired by the Dirty Feet Adventure race whose tag line is ‘Never Stop Exploring’.

“We wanted to create a similar experience that people could do on their own time,” said Jeff Smith, CEO. “We wanted people to get out into the community and discover it in a fun way.”

 Smith and his team partnered with Lansing Give Camp to create the early stages of the app and eventually developed Pointillism into a mobile map where users could check in to unique local sites and earn points on a leaderboard.
The new version will allow users to create private scavenger hunts with as many points of interest as they want. The potential for commercial use is extensive. Michigan State University is interested in setting up a private hunt for incoming freshman to help them get familiar with the campus. This feature is available for a fee with a cost structure based on the amount of users able to participate.

Pointillism has already been utilized by participants of Be A Tourist In Your Own Town.

 “People may not know the awesome things in their own community. Pointillism works to provide users with an insider’s view on a new community while competing against others.” said Smith.
 
 Source: Jeff Smith, Pointillism
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

Two Men and a Truck launches Career Move Month

Two Men and a Truck launches Career Move Month in March with a goal of accepting 10,000 applications and hiring 1,000 people nationwide, 24 people in the Greater Lansing area.

"This is an opportunity to showcase the careers and potential for career advancement with Two Men and a Truck,” said President Randy Shacka. “It’s also a way to proactively plan for the busy season between May and September.”

Career Move Month began in 2013 with 1,000 applicants and 550 people hired nationwide.  The local business has seen impressive growth this year signing their largest number of new franchisees and hitting their highest revenues ever. As a system, their focus turned towards improving sales processes and finding the right people to help continue this growth.

“It was the perfect storm of people, processes and technology.  We had to ask ourselves what we could do differently to sustain our growth,” said Shacka, who originally started as an intern with the expanding company. “Companies do not make great companies. People do.”

The diverse positions available will range from movers and drivers to sales and management. The increase in staffing at the Lansing corporate office will require a 7 million dollar expansion of the Greater Lansing home office. 

In addition to the reinvestment in the economic improvement of the Mid-Michigan area, Two Men and a Truck will donate $5,000 to 5 different Dress for Success locations to support career advancement for low-income women nationwide.
Interested candidates can search for existing opportunities at careers.twomenandatruck.com.

Source: Randy Shacka, Two Men and a Truck
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor


City of East Lansing Geographic Information Site enhanced

The Geographic Information System provided by the City of East Lansing has been enhanced for usability 
and increased information.
 
“The GIS website provides data that people investing in the community would be looking for,” said Lori 
Mullins, Community and Economic Development Administrator for the City of East Lansing. “Although we 
still encourage community members to contact us for assistance on new developments, the GIS website is a good place to start with initial inquiries regarding property.”
 
The website allows for visitors to view layers of information related to parcel ownership, taxable value, zoning and links to market data. All commercial property listed publicly, as well as listings reported to the City of East Lansing is included on the mapping tool.
 
"We recognize the way that people do business today. Whether it’s making plans for vacation or any other activity, people go to the web first,” said Mullins. “If they can find info easily, they’ll have a better experience in the beginning and are more likely to take the next step in making an investment.”
 
The City of East Lansing will continue to add more information as it becomes available and community members are encouraged to submit feedback for improvement in the future.

Source: Lori Mullins, City of East Lansing
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

Conferences to help educate emerging cooperatives

The MSU Product Center will be hosting 3 conferences this spring to help groups interested in forming cooperatives answer preliminary questions.

A well rounded group of attorneys, financiers, consumer cooperatives and small cooperative representatives and staff help them investigate what their options might be and discuss topics like 5-year strategic plans, long range planning and financing.

“We want to foster sustainable businesses, said Tom Kalchik, director of the Michigan Cooperative Development Program. “Many times we have individuals working on the same thing. If we can get them to work cooperatively they are in a better position to serve customers rather than trying to compete.”

Growers that work within a cooperative are often times more attractive to buyers because they can deal with one entity for delivery and payment.  A great local example would be the Allen Street Market where they work with growers in the area to deliver food to food hubs that are a part of the project.

Attendees are required to preregister for upcoming conferences. Click here for more information.

Source: Tom Kalchik, Michigan Cooperative Development Program
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor 

E-commerce community brings student art to area businesses

In October 2013, Victoria Bujney, Ashley Brimley and Caitlin McDonald participated in Startup Weekend Lansing. Within 52 hours they had created a rough concept for Folyo, a social e-commerce community geared toward student artists.

“Even if students had amazing work, they were selling to other students who couldn’t afford their art,” said Bujney, co-founder and CEO of Folyo. “Small and medium businesses don’t have the time or resources to pursue art but they have the budget that can afford student art.”

Folyo creates a bridge between talented artists and a market of small to medium sized businesses that want beautiful original art. The co-founders focus heavily on building a community of art enthusiasts who can get to know and engage with the artists creating their one-of-a-kind piece.  It also provides a space for artists to sell their art as well as an opportunity to learn how to price and eventually market their pieces.

“I think a lot of people, expect something like this to come out of New York and California. We have extreme talent here in Michigan.” said Bujney

Folyo is set to launch in April 2014. There is an open application process for top notch artists in the Michigan area. Visit www.folyo.co for more information.

Ashley Brimley is the Chief Operating Officer and the artist who inspired the idea behind the new venture while Katelyn McDonald serves as the startup's Chief Technical Officer.

Source: Victorie Bujny, Folyo
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

4-H Renewable Energy Camp introduces local students to innovative technologies

Local youth between the ages of 13 and 19 are invited to apply to attend the 4-H Renewable Energy Camp.

Starting June 23rd, students will reside in dorms to experience college life and participate in off campus tours around the state to learn about the unique role the state of Michigan plays in renewable energy.

Topics of study will include solar, wind and cellulose power sources. Instructors will show students the process of growing crops like soy beans, corn and sugar cane specifically for the purpose of converting them into energy that can be utilized by the community they live in.

“It will be a dynamic experience that exposes children to renewable energy and how they might be a part of it,” said Jacob Dedecker, Stem Program Leader for MSU Extension. “We provide youth with examples of what careers look like now and what they may be like in the future.”

There will also be a Teen Challenge component of the camp announced in the future.  Participants will work with leading researchers and industry leaders to find solutions to renewable energy problems and make their own experiments.

While creating awareness for the work that Michigan State University and local industries do within the different facets of renewable energy technology, the camp organizers seek to highlight successes and initial endeavors in the field for students interested in pursuing a career in the field.

The application for the camp is available online here. The cost of the camp is $190 for 4-H members and $200 for non-members. The fee includes meals, lodging and camp materials. 

Source: Jacob Dedecker, MSU Extension
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

Cooley Law School supports legal writing competition

Students across the state will compete for prize money, publication and recognition through the Innovation and Intellectual Property (IP) Legal Writing Competition co-sponsored by the Intellectual Property Law Section (IPLS) of the State Bar of Michigan and Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
 
“Across the world, the industries generating jobs are those based on new technologies,” emphasized Prof. Barry, “This is one strategy to create an environment statewide where those kinds of business can prosper.”
 
Professor David C. Barry is a Professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, a private, nonprofit, independent law school and director of the Graduate Program in Intellectual Property Law.
 
“Regardless of where Michigan students eventually practice, they will have more insight into IP and be better equipped to advise their future clients.” stated Barry.
 
Open to all students enrolled in a Michigan law school, the deadline to submit entries is May 15, 2014. The IPLS provides volunteer judges who review the papers and select a winner. In addition to winning prize money, awardees have their original work published in the IPLS Proceedings journal and are recognized at their annual IP seminar in March. 

Source: Professor David C. Barry, Thomas M. Cooley Law School
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

Free Legal Clinics for Area Entrepreneurs

Mid-Michigan entrepreneurs and inventors will have an opportunity to obtain free legal advice to help them address important issues related to their intellectual property at an upcoming free clinic.
 
“Great ideas will drive economic and workforce development in the 21st century for the state of Michigan”, asserts Steve Bennett, the Vice President and Chief Program Officer for the statewide nonprofit Primas Civitas.
 
Primas Civitas coordinated the collaboration between the MSU Bioeconomy Institute and the MSU College of Law to remedy a void in economic and workforce development. Created by Michigan State University in 2006, Primas Civitas prides itself in performing small, nontraditional work while utilizing the unique advantages of working with a large, research university like Michigan State University.
 
The free clinic will be held by appointment at the MSU College of Law. Interested parties can complete an online application to secure their spot.

Addressing intellectual property law is an expensive but necessary step for inventors and entrepreneurs intending to take their innovative ideas to market. This free legal clinic will assist in mitigating upfront costs while providing law students with practical experience in their field. A practice area of the MSU Law's Legal Clinic, the Intellectual Property Start-Up Project connects interested parties to veteran attorneys who will mentor MSU law students as they discuss options, conduct legal research and set appropriate goals for protection of  new technologies for real clients.
 
Directly following the clinic, participants will be given an advisory letter generated by law students that will outline recommended next steps. 
 
“MSU’s commitment to making this initiative a reality has made them equal champions in developing the region's next big ideas,” stated Bennett.

In addition to the free legal clinic offered in East Lansing, there are two other clinics scheduled: January 28, 2014 at the Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce and  January 30, 2014 at the MSU Bioeconomy Institute in Holland.
 
Source: Steve Bennett, Prima Civitas
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

LEAP launches Fund Lansing, crowd funding for local startups

Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) announced in late August a new program called Fund Lansing. Fund Lansing is aimed to assist companies and individuals in greater Lansing who are raising investment through web-based crowd funding platforms.
 
“The concept of crowd funding is quickly gaining momentum as a means for young companies to effectively raise funding while simultaneously gaining positive press on the web and social media," says Ken Szymusiak, Co-Director of the New Economy Division at LEAP.
 
Crowdfunding is a relatively young idea in which entrepreneurs utilize small sums of investment from a range of supporters often in exchange for a product before it is available to the public. Kickstarter and IndiGoGo are two of the more well known platforms.
 
The web service is free to join and serves as a way for local companies to easily promote their fundraising efforts to local investors. LEAP's objective with FundLansing.com is to allow all companies in the region an additional platform to get the word out about their campaign and provide a service that allows local investors to easily find local companies seeking their support.
 
"By making the connections between local opportunities and capital we feel that we can provide an economic boost by making it easier to encouraging investment within our region," says Szymusiak.
 
Source: Sara Graham, LEAP
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News
 
Have an innovation news story? Send Veronica an email here.

Public relations consultant launches company, Piper & Gold Public Relations, grows team

When the demand became too much for Kate Snyder, APR to keep up with on her own doing public relations consulting work, she started working with a part-time associate and two student interns in December of last year.
 
"That growth of the team really led me to start thinking about growing a company, not a consultancy," Snyder explains. She attributes having the right people on board and amazing support for convincing her to take the entrepreneurial plunge into launching Piper & Gold Public Relations
 
Along with the new company name, identity, and office at The NEO Center,  the part-timer, Veronica Gracia-Wing, has now joined the company as a full-time Associate Strategist. Piper & Gold also continues to have two student interns per semester to help with pro bono projects and provide a value add for clients. 
 
Snyder has a pretty traditional background when it comes to an emphasis on research and strategy, but has really focused on using digital tools to build meaningful relationships over the past several years. "That blend of the core PR principles and the new tools is one of the things it's important to me to keep as we grow," she says.
 
Ultimately, Snyder would like to see Piper & Gold grow in a responsible and sustainable way, so they're focused on finding the right client mix for their backgrounds and personalities and creating opportunities when the perfect people come along.
 
Source: Kate Snyder, Piper & Gold Public Relations
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News
 
Have an innovation news story? Send Veronica an email here.

NEO Center celebrates first anniversary amid rapid growth & successes

As Lansing's first business incubator, innovation is the golden standard for The Center for New Enterprise Opportunity. "It's been an exciting and productive learning experience," says founding member, Thomas Stewart. "We're still developing and tweaking our programming and trying to figuring out the best methods for accelerating entrepreneurial success."
 
The NEO center was created in response to the growing need for an environment that supports small business ecology and that is unhindered by the existing boundaries. Promoters of sustainable economic development and preventers of deterioration, the NEO Center is looking to expand programming to other incubators in the region and the state.
 
"We'd like to develop a wide network of entrepreneurs and help standardize entrepreneur education across the state," says Stewart.
 
The past year has been an exciting and productive one for the incubator, graduating four client entrepreneurs from the incubation program and receiving additional support from major corporate sponsors. NEO Center alumni include: VizKid Designs, FlightLead Development, Tucknologies, and Oceanvue.
 
10 clients call the Center home, in what is primarily called a mixed-use incubator. Most clients are service-based businesses. Stewart says they're currently accepting people interested long-term leases and new clients to our incubator program.
 
Source: Thomas Stewart, NEO Center
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News
 
Have an innovation news story? Send Veronica an email here.

Pine Needle People looking to begin biomanufacturing, have eyes set on long-term hiring

Kevin Karpinski is dying to make things. As President and CEO of the Pine Needle People, an ambitious bio refinery and manufacturing company, Karpinski is ready to get his product in the marketplace for many reasons. "We can help the economy, help feed more people, and help farmers," Karpinski says.
 
The Pine Needle People, or PNP, are Karpinski, Waylon Sanford, Mansour Ashtiani, and Nader Ashtiani. By trade, they represent a variety of fields: chemical and manufacturing engineering, urban planning and infrastructure, and bio matter technology. The team has developed a number of products intended for patenting, the most prominent being the Cellulosic Residue Refinery for Advanced Manufacturing, or CRRAM.
 
"CRRAM essentially allows us to make products from agricultural scraps; we take corn stalks to carbon fiber," Karpinski explains. The refinery system allows PNP to create a Bio Energy Pathway system, which is a sidewalk system manufactured from biomaterials produced by the CRRAM. Karpinski hopes to have the pathway system in production soon.
 
Things are ramping up for PNP as they work with investors and industry. Karpinski anticipates being able to hire 30 to 50 employees over the next 2 to 3 years.
 
Source: Kevin Karpinski, Pine Needle People  
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News.
 
Have an innovation news story? Send Veronica an email here.

PNC Bank and Learn Live Lead Entrepreneurial Academy partner to open an in-school bank

Students at Learn Live Lead Entrepreneurial Academy (L3) can now add money management skills to their young resumes. In an exciting partnership between the Lansing Academy and the PNC School Bank Program, L3 students are getting hands-on banking experience with the grand opening of an in-school bank.
 
"L3's cutting edge approach to education offers a perfect fit for the PNC School Bank Program, which has several features aimed at developing good savings habits and money management skills," explains PNC Retail Market Executive, Jim Paul. The program is part of PNC's Grow Up Great initiative, which has served more than 1.5 million at-risk children nationally.
 
The bank will open twice a month during the school year. Five L3 students will staff the branch during lunch periods, opening bank accounts and taking deposits. The program provides an opportunity for students to establish their first bank accounts, as well as improve their math skills as they track their savings and calculate interest earned.  
 
"PNC offers leadership, advocacy, funding, volunteers and educational resources because we believe that an investment in our children now makes good economic sense and plants the seeds for the dynamic workforce of tomorrow," says Paul.
 
Source: Jim Paul, PNC  
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News.
 
Have an innovation news story? Send Veronica an email here.

Student owned and operated cheese steak stand opens in East Lansing

It's not often you hear of a 19 year old and a 20 year old opening a business, and creating their own business plan to boot. But that's just what MSU students and long time friends Alex Lennard and Hunter Mowers did when they launched State's Cheese Steaks last week.
 
"We wanted to start our own business and had originally thought about opening a hot dog stand," explains Lennard. The City of East Lansing wouldn't grant a permit for that, which got Lennard thinking.
 
While in Panama City for Spring Break, the friends came across a cheese steak stand that had a line that lasted throughout entire day. Pair that inspiration with an entrepreneurial drive to provide something new in the East Lansing culinary scene, and you've got the recipe for a food stand.
 
Located on the corner of Abbott and Albert, the stand is open Thursday through Sunday. They hope to be able to hire 2 to 3 employees beyond themselves once business gets further off the ground.
 
A finance student, Lennard says "This is teaching us way more than the classroom could; we're dealing with real people and a real business."
 
Source: Alex Lennard, State's Cheese Steaks
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News.
 
Have an innovation news story? Send Veronica an email here.

Getting Started Fellowship Program welcomes international students, receives $20,000 grant

The Global Lansing “Getting Started” Fellowship Program, led by the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) and supported by a coalition of partners including the Prima Civitas Foundation (PCF) recently received a $20,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to better connect the nearly 7,000 international students at Michigan State University and Lansing Community College with local businesses and entrepreneurs.
 
“We need to infuse these untapped talents into the community;” says LEAP Talent & Communications Director, Sara Graham, “we’re trying to get some of these qualified and driven people to stay in Lansing and create their lives and invest here.”
 
The “Getting Started” program allows international students in the Lansing community the opportunity to partner with businesses in an internship capacity, to align with their academic and professional interests. LEAP and partners have recently begun the interview process for applicants interested in opportunity. “Applicants included engineering majors, accounting majors, supply chain management majors, and more;” explains Graham, “we’re excited by the variety of applicants and for the diversity of niches we’re able make connections with.”
 
The grant will largely be used toward employing a program coordinator who will help bring both sides together over the upcoming semester, trouble-shooting issues, and identifying areas of internship focus. Partnering businesses so far include Message Makers, Allen Neighborhood Center, City of Lansing Emergency Management Office, among others determined once the applicant selection process is complete. 
463 Entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All
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