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Why hire veterans?

Join Automation Alley’s Education and Workforce Committee as they kick off Season 2 of the “Michigan’s Got Talent” event series with a panel discussion focused on hiring veterans. “Veterans: The Untapped Talent Pool” will educate the business community on the value of hiring veterans, government sponsored incentive programs and how to create a veteran hiring initiative within their companies. Experts will share how their agencies can assist employers as they navigate programs to hire this highly skilled, yet overlooked population.

July 14 - 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

  • David Dunckel, Veterans Initiatives Manager, Roush Industries
  • Mark Meadows, Disables Veterans’ Outreach Program Specialist, Michigan Workforce Development Agency
  • Herbert Thomas, Employment Services Specialist, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Mike St. John, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Expetec Technology Services 
  • Chris Walker, Veteran Recruitment Liaison, Kelly Services
Member Price: $20.00
Non-members Price: $40.00
Foundation Price: Free
Walk-in Member Price: $30.00
Walk-in Non-member Price: $50.00
Pre-registration closes July 10.

Rochester College launches social entrepreneurship center

Rochester College is launching a Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and is drawing from the local talent pool to lead it.

The small liberal arts college will house the center in its School of Business, offering a social entrepreneurship degree that emphasizes both profit and the public good. The degree is expected to dovetail well with the institution for higher learning's ethos.

"I was impressed with the campus's mission, which is to work on solving a lot of the world's problems," says Jaymes Vettraino, director of the Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Rochester College. "It spoke to me in a way that I felt pretty passionate about."

Vettraino worked as the city manager of Rochester until this week, stepping down to take the job at Rochester College. He worked as an adjunct professor at Rochester College over the last year and has an MBA from Lehigh University.

Rochester College students studying in the Center for Social Entrepreneurship will work on both solving societal problems through commerce and contributing to their communities. Internships emphasizing servant leadership and social justice will be a focus of the Center. They will partner with local businesses, other educational institutions, non-profits, and government entities.

"My first six months is really about relationship building," Vettraino says.

Source: Jaymes Vettraino, director of the Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Rochester College
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Applied Technology Systems diversifies clientele to grow

Paul Agosta didn't build his business from scratch, but he has worked long and hard for years to build it into what it is today.

Applied Technology Systems was originally called Lab Corp when Agosta started working there more than two decade ago. At the time it made training programs for K-12 schools. Agosta helped expand it to do the same for more customers, such as industrial firms.

"That created enough work for me to buy it from my predecessor (in 2001)," Agosta says.

The Franklin-based firm and its four employees generate revenue from a variety of of sources. Fifteen percent of the firm's revenue comes from industrial firms, 25 percent from K-12 education, and 60 percent from post-secondary education.

"Everything is skill development," Agosta says. "Everything is developing skills for tomorrow’s workforce. There is a renewed focus on career development."

Agosta expects that trend to continue in the near-term, especially now that major local leaders, such as Gov. Rick Snyder, are emphasizing it.

"We want to be the prominent service provider for skills development," Agosta says. "We're getting there. Our name is pretty well-known, but we still need to go further."

Source: Paul Agosta, owner of Applied Technology Systems
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Sunscreen Mist adds convenience to sunscreen application

Tony Fayne turned an unfortunate turn of events into a growing business.

The metro Detroit resident had a friend develop skin cancer at age 30, catching him and his circle friends and family off guard.

"It was shocking," Fayne says. "I had no idea you could get cancer that early in life."

That played a significant role in Fayne's inspiration to launch Sunscreen Mist, a startup that makes applying sunscreen quick and easy. The Commerce Township-based company created a sunscreen application system that is part sunscreen spray and part booth.

The users can either step into the booth and be sprayed with a mist of sunscreen or use a spray gun to spritz themselves with sunscreen. Sunscreen Mist’s stations are designed for placement in theme parks, beaches, and poolside at hotels.

"I wanted to bring this to the market to make it so people could easily access sunscreen," Fayne says. "Melanoma is so preventable."

Fayne and Sunscreen Mist’s CEO, Josh Kaplan, recently appeared on the entrepreneur show TV show "Shark Tank" to pitch its product. The 1-year-old company and its staff of six people is just getting started deploying its stations, with 25 being used around the world right now.

Source: Tony Fayne, founder & president of Sunscreen Mist; and Josh Kaplan, CEO of Sunscreen Mist
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Oakland University now offers a degree in forensic nursing, the first of its kind in Michigan


Enthusiasts of health care and criminal justice can now bridge the gap by studying forensic nursing at Oakland University.

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Secret pickle recipe inspires Michigan-made movie, qualifies for $500K incentive


A film created by two former Detroit advertising executives that will be produced by a pair of West Bloomfield natives has qualified for a tax incentive of nearly $500,000 from the Michigan Film Office.

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Gongos and General Motors recognized for best client-supplier collaboration in mobile market

Gongos, Inc. and General Motors accepted the award for excellence in client-partner collaboration at the first annual Market Research in the Mobile World (MRMW) North America Conference & Awards Gala in New York on May 20th. Celebrating innovation and excellence in the market research industry, MRMW recognizes companies and individuals who have achieved significant breakthroughs in mobile market research.
Gongos and General Motors have collaborated since 2010 on new and emerging approaches to integrate mobile into the consumer research process, including live mobile ethnography, app-based communities, and Google Glass-enabled qualitative research. Joyce Salisbury, General Motors’ Technical Director, Digital Research & New Methods, Global Research shepherds the use and optimization of new technologies within GM’s market research organization.
“For the past five years, we have been leveraging and familiarizing ourselves with smart devices to truly understand the best way to capture the voice of the customer,” said Salisbury. “Our collaborative journey with Gongos really began in 1991, so essentially this feels like a lifetime achievement award.”
“It takes an interdisciplinary team with an experimental mindset to cross the innovation territory together,” adds Bob Yazbeck, Vice President, Digital Methods, Gongos Research. “We constantly push ourselves, while keeping our spirits fresh along the way.”
Salisbury and Yazbeck were present at the Gala in New York to accept the award for their respective companies. To learn more about the MRMW Awards, please visit here.
Gongos, Inc. is a decision intelligence company that partners with Global 1000 corporations to build competency in making great consumer-minded decisions. Gongos brings a consultative mindset in developing synergies among its clients’ analytics, insights and knowledge management groups.
OIntegrated, its data sciences group, extracts value from enterprise data with a relentless focus on solving the business challenge. Gongos Research, the company’s primary research division, acquires proprietary knowledge to deepen strategic insights. Arti¦fact, its insight curation practice, transforms the way organizations preserve and socialize consumer wisdom.
Gongos works with companies such as Mars-Wrigley, Johnson & Johnson, Chase, GM, OnStar and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. In 2007, the company was first named to the Inc. 5000 list of “The Fastest Growing Companies in America” and is among the Gold Top 50 U.S. marketing research organizations. For further insight into the Gongos culture, visit gongos.com or facebook.com.

Michigan's health care industry contributes $33B to economy, adds 580K Jobs


Michigan health care organizations added about 580,000 jobs across the state in 2013, and contributed $33 billion to the state's annual economy, through wages, salaries, and benefits, says a new report released today by the Michigan Health & Hospital Association and the Partnership for Michigan's Health.

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Farmington Hills women turn scone-making into business


Mary Wallace and Julie Tenbusch want their homemade-style scones to smell as good as they taste.

The Farmington Hills residents and food entrepreneurs create, cut, freeze and package dough in seven different flavors, but leave the baking up to their customers.

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Oakland University's med school graduating first class


Oakland's medical school is one of 16 new med schools in the United States since 2007, and the first of three new schools in Michigan.

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Cranbrook Academy of Art graduate awarded artist residency in Berlin


Cranbrook Academy of Art has announced that Aaron Patrick Decker has been awarded the 2015 Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Emerging Artist Award. This is the 10th year Mercedes-Benz Financial Services has given an Academy graduate the award.

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Mentorship program at Pontiac Academy for Excellence focuses on making lifetime impact

Pontiac Academy for Excellence (PAE), the only charter district in Pontiac to offer ninth through twelfth grades, and Winning Futures, a leading mentorship program in Michigan, are working together to change the lives of local students.
At the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, 66 PAE students were chosen to participate in Winning Futures, a mentorship and scholarship program. Throughout the year, mentees attended an hour-long session once a week with their mentors. During the meetings, students were provided with tools needed to refine character building skills such as goal setting, conflict resolution, professionalism and self-awareness.
“Thanks to Winning Futures I learned how to express myself and have more confidence,” Lizannette, Rivera-Colon, an eleventh grade student at PAE and Winning Futures participant. “I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this program and am honored to be the recipient of the Winning Futures scholarship. While my time in the program has come to an end, I know this is the beginning of a better future.”
Outside of the walls of PAE, the 18 mentors made it a priority to reinforce the skills taught during the sessions and provide emotional support as their mentees faced real-world situations.
Amanda Rymiszewski, Lizannette’s mentor during the past school year, said “Lizannette has only lived in the United States for one year and she already has such a clear vision of her future because of the Winning Futures program. Seeing her and the other young women I mentor succeed is incredibly rewarding and heartwarming. I wouldn’t give up my experiences with Winning Futures for anything.”
Since the partnership between PAE and Winning Futures began in 2013, more than 140 students have participated in the mentorship program. An average of 95 percent of former mentees go on to pursue further education and training beyond high school.
About PAE:
Pontiac Academy for Excellence is a charter school district in Pontiac, Michigan, that supports the whole child, whole family and whole community in the pursuit of educational and life success. Founded by OLHSA, a Community Action Agency, in 1998 to offer a superior educational experience, PAE is the largest charter option in Pontiac, serving students from kindergarten through grade twelve. At PAE children and families are provided with the stability and resources needed to grow both in the classroom and beyond. Safety, respect, learning and community are the pillars of excellence honored by each student and the district. www.pontiacacademy.org
About Winning Futures:
Winning Futures is an award-winning non-profit organization that empowers youth to succeed through mentoring and strategic planning.  We partner with high schools in metro Detroit to facilitate weekly innovative mentoring sessions in the school where we engage youth through trusting relationships with mentors, energizing experiences, and unforgettable life lessons. We focus on character value development, self-exploration, goal setting, job readiness skills, overcoming obstacles, and strategic planning.  Over 95 percent of students continue their education past high school and we have awarded over $1.7M in scholarships to local youth.  Since 1994, 39,000 students have been impacted by Winning Futures.  www.winningfutures.org

One Stop Shop June Business Workshops

Business owners and entrepreneurs who need assistance are encouraged to attend seminars offered by the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center. Unless otherwise noted, all programs are held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, west of Telegraph, in Waterford. For pre-registration and a location map, visit www.AdvantageOakland.com/businessworkshops or call (248) 858-0783.

Capital Raise
June 9, 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
If you are a startup or early-stage growth-based business looking for funding, come meet and listen to capital expert, Mike Brennan. He will detail the various capital sources in Michigan, and talk about how to properly position your company to be qualified for private funding, including private equity, the angel network and venture capital, and/or public funding, including grants, pre-seed, micro-loans and venture match.
Fee: This workshop is free but pre-registration is required.

CEED® Small Business Loan Orientation 
June 10, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Many small business owners face obstacles when trying to obtain a business loan. If your business is in Oakland County and you need alternative financing, consider the Center for Empowerment and Economic Development (CEED) Small Business Loan Program. Discover the requirements and process necessary to apply and obtain a CEED small business loan. Fee: This workshop is free but pre-registration is required.

Business Research: Feasibility to Expansion
June 10, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Are you thinking of starting a business and want to research your business idea? Do you want to identify market trends and opportunities to grow your sales? Are you looking for new customers or to diversify your market base? Business Research shows you ways to find your ideal customers, your competitors, perform competitive analysis and more. Fee: This workshop is free but pre-registration is required.

Starting a Business
June 11, 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
This workshop is designed for individuals who are at the beginning stages of starting a business. It will help aspiring entrepreneurs assess their abilities to lead and manage a company, as well as evaluate market and sales potential for their products/services. Startup costs, financing options and business planning are introduced, along with necessary steps to getting started.
Fee: This workshop is free but pre-registration is required.

Introduction to QuickBooks®
June 11, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
This introduction class will provide an overview of QuickBooks. It is designed for a person who is new to QuickBooks or has worked within the software in a limited capacity. ATD Solutions will cover the basic areas such as invoicing customers, receiving payments and making deposits, entering and paying vendor bills, generating financial statements, and more.
Fee: $60 per person

Government Contracting 101
June 18, 9 a.m. to noon
Find out what it takes to sell your goods and services to the federal government and the state of Michigan. What makes a successful government contractor? What services and resources are available to a small business pursuing the government market? If your company is considering government contracting, this seminar will give you the insight you need. Management and key players who will support and facilitate government contracting within your company should attend. Presented by Alexander Masters, PTAC of Schoolcraft College
Fee: $45 per person

Legal Basics for Small Business
June 23, 9 a.m. to noon
Legal Basics for Small Business gives new and existing Michigan entrepreneurs an understanding of the key legal and financial considerations when starting and operating a business in Michigan. The program addresses how to select the best legal entity for your business, how to protect your business interests when dealing with customers, suppliers or independent contractors, and important information and guidelines for establishing short- and long-term succession plans for your business.
Fee: $25 per person

Future Workshops
July 2015
08: CEED Small Business Loan Orientation
09: Starting a Business
14: Business Research: Feasibility to Expansion
August 2015
12: CEED Small Business Loan Orientation
12: Business Research: Feasibility to Expansion
13: Starting a Business
14: Team SBA Financing Roundtable
12: Create Your Marketing Plan

Transitions Legal partners with Vezina Law in downtown Birmingham

Working together is often the sort of business strategy that not only brings firms together but helps them become more successful. Those benefits are why two small law firms in downtown Birmingham are collaborating.

Transitions Legal and its principal attorney, Alisa Peskin-Shepherd, are now of counsel with Vezina Law. The idea is that each firm’s expertise will help complement the other’s strengths.

"We each have something that adds to our respective firms," Peskin-Shepherd says.

Transitions Legal specializes in family law and mediation. Peskin-Shepherd has grown to a staff of two people. Vezina Law focuses on business, healthcare, and employment law. It has offices in Michigan and Louisiana.

"They have been referring cases to us for two years," Peskin-Shepherd says. "We wanted to formalize that relationship."

Source: Alisa Peskin-Shepherd, principal of Transitions Legal
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

MagWerks LED develops cutting edge light technology

LED lights have a reputation as being lean, mean, and ultra-energy-efficient. The reality is, however, that the less energy they use, the heavier they become. It's a challenge that's keeping LED lights from reaching their full potential.

"It's a largely unknown subject but an important one," says Michael Pickholz, CEO of MagWerks LED.

The Oxford-based startup believes it has an answer for that dilemma. The LED lighting design and engineering firm’s technology aims to make high-powered LED lights smaller, lighter, and cooler. The first target market is automotive lights. MagWerks technology leverages the structural properties of magnesium, which is 20 times stronger than plastics.

"It brings a vast improvement in performance," Pickholz says. "It makes it lighter and brighter."

The 3-person firm has recently joined Automation Alley's 7Cs program, which helps new companies leverage advanced manufacturing practices to grow their business.

"There is a need," Pickholz says. "How can you grow a company fast enough to satisfy that need?"

Source: Michael Pickholz, CEO of MagWerks LED
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
1104 Articles | Page: | Show All
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