Leadership

Washtenaw Community College Offers Free Business Planning Support
Funding, Leadership

Washtenaw Community College Offers Free Business Planning Support

So you’re laid off, or already thinking of starting a new company, but now it not the ideal time to apply to an elite startup incubator. What does a company that doesn’t quite qualify as tech or can’t get funding do right now to fill in the mentorship gaps on the road to starting a new business in Southeast Michigan? Kristin Gapske is the Director of the Washtenaw Community College Entrepreneurship Center, which helps new startup and Main Street small business founders get the help they need to:

COVID-19 Response The Startup Way: First Aid for Entrepreneurs
Leadership

COVID-19 Response The Startup Way: First Aid for Entrepreneurs

In 2011, Eric Ries rocked the business world when he published The Lean Startup. His ideas about how to bring discovery of customer behavior to the forefront of everything was a revelation for millions. Since that time, Eric has himself been on a journey of discovery. He has learned that his ideas are valuable to organizations of all sizes and in different ways than even he imagined at first. During the ensuing six years, Eric worked with companies large and small to implement the ideas that he and his team developed. The culmination of that work was delivered in 2017 to the rest of us in the form of a book entitled The Startup Way.

Washtenaw Community College Offers Free Business Planning Support
Funding, Leadership

Washtenaw Community College Offers Free Business Planning Support

So you’re laid off, or already thinking of starting a new company, but now it not the ideal time to apply to an elite startup incubator. What does a company that doesn’t quite qualify as tech or can’t get funding do right now to fill in the mentorship gaps on the road to starting a new business in Southeast Michigan? Kristin Gapske is the Director of the Washtenaw Community College Entrepreneurship Center, which helps new startup and Main Street small business founders get the help they need to:

Behind The Scenes of Midwest Tech During COVID-19
Funding, Leadership, News

Behind The Scenes of Midwest Tech During COVID-19

We’ve spoken with a number of executives in the past 3 months who are responding to COVID-19 for their big tech business or small startup, and we noticed some trends in how businesses are responding to the pandemic. Quite a few people from virtual panel attendees to readers to interviewees have asked Cronicle questions about what we’re seeing in our interviews with Midwest Tech. It’s the million-dollar question: what’s next? How are businesses coping, and how does that impact their workers and public health? Here are the top trends we’ve noticed behind the scenes in Midwest tech in our interviews from manufacturers and scientists pivoting to produce PPE to tech startups creating new software for public health initiatives. All of this is based in our limited interview time and virtual networking, not an official survey. Here are, in order that they appeared, the behind the scenes trends we’ve noticed in Midwest tech businesses responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 Response The Startup Way: First Aid for Entrepreneurs
Leadership

COVID-19 Response The Startup Way: First Aid for Entrepreneurs

In 2011, Eric Ries rocked the business world when he published The Lean Startup. His ideas about how to bring discovery of customer behavior to the forefront of everything was a revelation for millions. Since that time, Eric has himself been on a journey of discovery. He has learned that his ideas are valuable to organizations of all sizes and in different ways than even he imagined at first. During the ensuing six years, Eric worked with companies large and small to implement the ideas that he and his team developed. The culmination of that work was delivered in 2017 to the rest of us in the form of a book entitled The Startup Way.

Mentors of MI Tech: Melanie De Vries Supports Tech Startups via Desai Accelerator & The SBDC
Leadership

Mentors of MI Tech: Melanie De Vries Supports Tech Startups via Desai Accelerator & The SBDC

Many Michigan small businesses and startups are scrambling for resources to bridge the COVID-19 outbreak gap, or to pivot to thrive beyond the coronavirus shutdown. Resources for small businesses are often only known by those founders who have already been through the startup process, so in addition to recently posting a number of small business loan resources for Michigan tech startups, we wanted to catch up with someone who is known for mentoring founder through the challenging startup phase. Melanie de Vries, who mentors both at Desai Venture Accelerator in Ann Arbor and as Technology Business Consultant for the Michigan Small Business Development Center, was gracious enough to answer some questions about what it’s like helping business owners navigate challenging times.

Well On Your Way: How Business & Wellness Coaches Support Startup Founders Through Hard Times
Leadership

Well On Your Way: How Business & Wellness Coaches Support Startup Founders Through Hard Times

If you’re a tech founder or a tech worker who has navigated a tough set of decisions in your career, you know the scenario: maybe you have to find a new job under less than ideal circumstances. Maybe your business is gaining traction, but you’ve lost yourself in the hectic grind of making it happen for yourself and your employees and now you’re worried about a new set of hurdles to keeping your business running. Wellness coaching and business coaching are a support in times like these to tech founders all over the globe, and nowhere more than in places like Ann Arbor, which is home to a wide variety of coaches and wellness professionals. What do they wish you knew? That they’re here for the hard times and the early days of starting a business, not just a luxury for the more affluent. This is because business and wellness coaching is a support that saves individuals and founders the very practical resource of time–and therefore a lot of runway. That isn’t to say that coaching is something everyone can afford, but it can be a lifesaver in more ways than one.

How To Know If An Incubator or Accelerator Program Is Right For Your Startup
Funding, Leadership

How To Know If An Incubator or Accelerator Program Is Right For Your Startup

Incubator programs are the newest way to get a business off the ground. They offer mentorship, free rent on office space, guidance through customer discovery or clinical trials and securing early funding. Who wouldn’t want that kind of help through fragile early stages of building a company? But incubators don’t all work the same. We’ve been pitched lately with everything from revenue sharing to rapid cycle business development processes and realized that there is a broadening landscape out there of what an incubator or accelerator really is.

Red Hat’s Chris Short on Redirecting A War Vet’s Energy To Lifelong Learning & Technical Leadership
DevOps, Leadership

Red Hat’s Chris Short on Redirecting A War Vet’s Energy To Lifelong Learning & Technical Leadership

It’s a common story in startup culture: people comfortable with the risks of starting a new business often have a background in which they became comfortable with chaos, whether that experience was a difficult early start in life or work in the military. Red Hat’s Chris Short is a disabled veteran whose service-connected injuries have taken years to manage. Short is a DevOps professional turned marketer and community advocate as Principal Technical Marketing Manager for Cloud Platforms at Red Hat. He is a Cloud Native Computing Foundation Ambassador, Kubernetes SIG-ContribEx member, a public speaker and blogger, founder of DevOps’ish, and believer in open source principles bettering interactions and promoting conversations.

Human Element, of Top 20 Fastest Growing Companies in Michigan, Creates The Kind of Culture They Want To Stay In
Leadership, Marketing

Human Element, of Top 20 Fastest Growing Companies in Michigan, Creates The Kind of Culture They Want To Stay In

“We’ve been experiencing 3-4 years of 30% growth rate year over year,” Human Element’s Ben Lorenz tells us. “We’ve been an Inc 5000 company 3 years in a row and last year were named one of the Top 20 fastest growing companies in Michigan.” Ann Arbor is one of the fastest growing tech hubs in the Midwest, but what explains some companies like Human Element growing so much more quickly than others? To some extent, it’s positioning and the market they’re in. It’s no secret that AI companies are hot, as well as security. An e-commerce strategy company like Human Element has a lot of work to do catching up Midwest companies to digital business processes and online sales. But that’s not all it is.

Michigan Tech Podcasts: Dave Haviland of Phimation Strategy Hosts SPARK.Grow
Leadership

Michigan Tech Podcasts: Dave Haviland of Phimation Strategy Hosts SPARK.Grow

Continuing our series on podcasts in the Michigan tech scene is Dave Haviland, new host of the SPARK.Grow podcast sponsored by Ann Arbor SPARK that interviews executives around the Ann Arbor business community. Haviland is an executive coach through Phimation Strategy Group to second-stage tech company founders and executive teams in the Ann Arbor area. We found him in his offices on the 8th floor of the First National Building on Main Street and Liberty, which has a lovely view of downtown.

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