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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.

Lansing-based target marketing firm rebrands and increases outreach

A targeted media firm in Lansing recently rebranded as it reinvigorates its mission to harness the power of data to drive sales, growth, and donations for businesses and organizations.
 
Shortly after the calendar turned over to 2015, Change Media Group transformed from the previous Michigan Blueprint Strategies, and set out to expand its reach and track record to a broad base of clientele.
 
"We wanted to communicate that we're a targeted media firm that can help clients adapt to the changing media landscape," says CEO Amanda Stitt. "Our rebranding shows who we are, and communicates that we are working with clients outside of Michigan, too."
 
Stitt says that Change Media integrates sophisticated data and targeting with the most up-to-date tools and technology to help organizations adapt to a dynamic media landscape. The way people consume news, information, and media is ever-changing, she adds, and can leave organizations with more limited resources outside the communication loop.
 
"We saw there wasn't a lot of help out there for non-profits and small- and mid-sized businesses," says Stitt. "We see ourselves as strategists, designers, writers, data scientists and storytellers that can help you find your audience in an incredibly targeted way."
 
Stitt and her husband, Ryan Irvin, launched Change Media in 2012 under its original name. In three years of business, the company has grown from a handful of clients to about 60. Services include research, data analysis, custom audience modeling, targeting, digital advertising, website and video creation, direct mail, graphic design, data visualization, and general consulting.
 
Change Media relocated from a smaller downtown office to the NEO Center at 934 Clark St. in the summer of 2014. The move, says Stitt, helped accommodate the addition of two new staff members. Stitt projects the small company will grow from six employees to about 10 staff by the end of 2015.
 
Source: Amanda Stitt, CEO, Change Media
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.

Training for fledging farmers finds support through USDA grant

A recent grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will enable Michigan State University to continue helping small farmers get their start through a variety of training programs.
 
As part of the $750,000 grant, the MSU Student Organic Farm will expand its Organic Famer Training Program in partnership with the Michigan Food and Farming Systems and the Center for Regional Food Systems.
 
With roots dating back to the early 2000s, the MSU Organic Farm has trained 112 new farmers, with participants ranging in age from 18 to 63 years old.
 
"There's really no typical student anymore," says Denae Friedheim, recruitment coordinator and instructor for the farm. "We have people who have worked on farms and are pretty sure they want a career in agriculture. We also have career shifters who are craving a connection to the land."
 
The 15-acre certified organic farm is home to the first year-round Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in Michigan, and offers an intensive training program that prepares the next generation of organic farmers. Programs start in March and run through mid-November. Up to around 17 students are accepted each year, with applications still open for the 2015 season.
 
Friedheim says the farm grows produce year-round through hoop houses. The program also added livestock to the mix, allowing students to participate in the lifecycle of pigs, turkeys, geese, chickens and cattle. Some animals, too, "assist" with the annual cropping system, cleaning up residue and rooting the field once a crop is spent.
 
Students in the program learn through hands-on management and decision-making, and are given the opportunity to use and operate farming equipment. Experienced teaching staff and faculty guide students through the creation of a business plan that can be the basis of a real world farm once the student graduates.
 
"Everything we do on this farm serves as a model for our students," says Friedheim. "We try to do things as close to a regular farming business as possible."
 
The MSU Organic Farm has six full-time teaching staff as well as about a dozen part-time staff, primarily students.
 
Source: Denae Friedheim, Recruitment Coordinator and Instructor, MSU Organic Farm
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.

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.

Ham Sweet Farm ventures into second year of meat CSA program

Kate Spinillo shines with the eternal optimism of a farmer.
 
For three years, Kate and Christian Spinillo have been hard at work building Ham Sweet Farm—a small, 30-acre farmstead in Williamston specializing in meat from animals that lived good lives.
 
"In the short time we've been on our property, we've taken back the land that was overgrown and covered in weeds," says Spinillo of the farm at 357 Holt Road. "It's amazing how much more area we have for raising our animals and growing."
 
Last year, the Spinillos launched a Community Supported Agriculture program for people interested in getting a diversity of meats each month. Ham Sweet Farm partners with Schneider Organic Beef and Grandpa's Best Pork to offer customers small, medium or large monthly packages that start at about 7 pounds of meat on up to 30. Packages are seasonal and may include selections of chicken, beef roast, ground beef, pork chops and pork sausage. Adds on include stock bits, bacon, rib eye and New York strip.
 
Ham Sweet Farm's CSA is slated to run from March to November, with signups beginning in February. Customers pay up front, and pick up meat each month. And since the program culminates in November, customers can select their own Thanksgiving turkey in the spring, and experience how the animal is being raised. It's a connection, Spinillo says, that's invaluable and represents one of the driving missions of the farm.
 
"If we can pinpoint one reason why we do what we do, that's it," says Spinillo. "We want to connect people with what they're eating, and to allow them to see how the animal lived. That's a connection that's really been lost and something we feel strongly about."
 
The Spinillos work with local processors that reflect their humane farming philosophy, including Munsell's Poultry Processing and Countryside Quality Meats. Last year, Ham Sweet Farm raised up to 250 animals including chickens, ducks, turkeys and pigs. Animals rout, roam, graze and feed in pastures and woods, living as natural a life as possible while also being offered protection and shelter from the elements and predators. Other animals and pets include goats and sheep, and a family dog.
 
"They're our farm ambassadors that greet our visitors," says Spinillo. "We love all our animals."
 
Source: Kate Spinillo, Co-owner, Ham Sweet Farm
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Innovation News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Thumb Tied expands distracted driving app to new users, new markets

A Lansing-developed app that can prevent texting and driving is expanding across platforms and markets as people look to keep drivers focused on the road and not on their mobile devices.
 
Developed by PNP Technologies and TucknologiesThumb Tied senses when the user of a mobile device is driving and blocks incoming texts, calls, emails and other notifications. Drivers can still access up to three emergency contacts and 911. When the user is done driving, the app shuts down, allowing the smart phone user to see missed notifications and messages. And since the app works with Blue Tooth, drivers can use navigation features as long as commands are voice activated and hands-free.
 
"Parents love it," says Waylon Sanford who came up with the concept for Thumb Tied with his business partner Kevin Karpinski. "But my personal point in developing the app was to get the trust of teens."
 
Thumb Tied can be downloaded for free from Google Play for Android as well as the parent's pairing feature for a small fee. Sanford says the app averages about three to five downloads a day since its inception in 2013, and has been downloaded on all continents except for Antarctica.
 
PNP is currently working on a corporate package for fleet and company drivers, with a release slated for late summer 2015. Plans are also in the works to develop a version for the iPhone, as well an in-dash apps for new cars.
 
While marketing of Thumb Tied has been limited to Lansing and social media, PNP is working with Michigan Creative and LEAP to push the campaign down the I-96 corridor in 2015. Sanford and Karpinski are also networking with grassroots organizations like Focus Driven and People Against Distracted Driving to build awareness on the harms of distracted driving.
 
"Our new campaign is 'just drive'," says Sanford. "A lot of the messaging around distracted driving is based on scare tactics. Our hope is to take away the negatives and just focus on the pure positives of driving."
 
Source: Waylon Sanford, Chief Operating Officer, Thumb Tied
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.

Tripper's new Comedy Club keeps Lansing laughing

Steve Tripp has his mind set on giving Lansing something to laugh about.
 
That's why in early January the owner of Tripper's Sports Bar partitioned off underused space in his Frandor sports bar for a comedy club—one that he says can help fill the void when the long-standing Comedy Connxtions closed in April 2014.
 
"We're convinced there is still a market for comedy in this town," says Tripp. "And since we've wanted to broaden our demographic for a while and have this space we've never used, we thought the timing was perfect."
 
Tripp opened the Comedy Club inside Tripper's immediately after New Year's Day. The club will occupy 2,500 square feet and seat 180 people. Tripp says his 40-member staff have the option to pick up extra hours in the club, with Jacob Burkhart serving as the comedy manager. He plans to add more staff in the coming year as the club grows to satisfy Lansing's appetite for comedy.
 
The Comedy Club becomes Tripper's newest wheel, adding to the mainstays of sports, food and beverage, and charity fundraising. Having comedy in a separate, dedicated area, Tripp says, ensures that sports fans can enjoy sports and comedy fans can enjoy comedy—without any interference.
 
Shows run Thursdays, Friday and Saturdays. Thursdays are set-aside for college night and open mike, and weekends reserved for nationally recognized headliners and up-and-coming talent. Dinners, appetizers and full cocktail service are offered during show time.
 
"While we have national acts coming in, we're also giving up and coming comics a place where they can get up on stage and hone their skills," says Tripp. "We're looking to help develop new talent, and there's really no where to start out but in these types of venues."
 
Tripper's inaugural act featured comedian Shane Mauss, followed by Kris Shaw. Upcoming acts include Mike Stanley, Vince Morris, Grant Lyon, Spencer James, April Macie, and Dave Landau.
 
"These are comics who have worked the road and paid their dues," says Tripp. "We want to keep comedy going here and want comics to know they still have a place to go in Lansing."
 
Source: Steve Tripp, Owner, Tripper's Sports Bar
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Innovation News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Startup Weekend encourages manufacturing, business creation

Lansing’s first ever Maker Week will wrap up on Friday, October 10th but for some, the fun will be beginning. Maker Week was actually born as simply Startup Weekend, but so many organizations brought so much to the table that they extended what was meant to be a weekend to a week long event. 

When Maker Week ends, Startup Weekend begins. Teams will be instructed to come up with a brand new idea, they will pitch that idea, and the chosen teams will have 54 hours to take a project from the idea phase to a product. 

At the end of the weekend, one winner will be picked and that team will be given the resources, sponsorships and guidance needed to take their product to market. “By the end of this,” says Sarah Parkinson of LEAP (one of the sponsors), “we expect to see actual prototypes and products.” Judging by the success of past participants in previous events like this, including one that turned into an international service, Sara says, “It’s not outrageous to think these ideas will turn into full-fledged companies.”

Through a partnership with LCC, teams will have access to the tools the trade students get to use, giving them the chance to manufacture their products. 

Source: Sara Parkinson, LEAP
Author: Allison Monroe, Innovation New Editor

College of Music endowment encourages MSU music students to become entrepreneurs

The Withrow Career Building Endowment in the College of Music, created by long time donors and supporters Jack and Dottie Withrow, is helping talented students gain the skills they will need no matter what type of career they pursue. Though, the intent, says David Rayl of the College of Music, “is to give them the chance to pursue non-traditional music careers that will enhance the community.” 

There are a wide range of goals surrounding the endowment and a major one is to help students develop an entrepreneurial mind set that will lead to valuable, art-related businesses within the community. “The presence of art in a community makes it more vibrant,” says Rayl. The purpose of this endowment is to show students there are a lot of ways to make a living and contribute to the community with a music degree. 

Funds from the endowment give support to a wide range of activities. A music business class teaches students how to put together a business plan, and guest speakers that come in from the community include successful alumni that have taken non-traditional paths. 

While many of the students will become performers or play in orchestras, they can’t be present in the community if they can’t make a living. This endowment helps them do just that. 

Source: David Rayl, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in Music
?Writer: Allison Monroe, Innovation News Editor
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