Entrepreneurship :Innovation & Job News

537 Entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All

Companies join forces to provide a la carte professional services

Four like-minded businesses in Lansing have merged their thought processes to form a new approach to delivering marketing and consulting services to nonprofits, small business and second stage companies.

In May, AKEA Web Solutions, CJBuck Consulting, Glow Social Media and UnoDeuce Multimedia unveiled 2nd Brain Collective—a collaboration of four partner companies. The collective offers clients the ability to engage with any or all of the four partner companies through a unique pay-only-for-what-you-need service offering.

"We witnessed a lot of agencies that have built their successes on an all or nothing bill," says Schmidt. "But a lot of the folks we work with aren't necessarily ready for full service."

Schmidt says 2nd Brain Collection takes a more a la carte style by offering clients the ability to pick the service or services they need from four providers. Each company maintains their independent operations but shares and refers clients based on perceived needs.

"Each of us has collaborated with each other in different ways in the past," says Schmidt. "The best analogy is we're now like The Avengers—each of us is an individual, but we come together to solve a major problem."

While focused on problem-solving, messaging and storytelling, the 2nd Brain Collective also concentrates on connecting businesses and building community. Among the methods and venues the collective devised are the networking event The Drinking Lunch and the information-driven 2BC Podcast featuring professionals and industry experts.

Source: Paul Schmidt, Communications Director, Meridian Township
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Michigan Creative commits to work-life balance with on-site daycare

Michigan Creative has brought in a new generation to add to the quality of work life. And right now, CEO Brian Town says the company's new team members are learning to walk before they can run.

In February, Town made good on his commitment to provide and pay for in-office day care when two members of his leadership team came back from maternity leave. He set aside a room in the company's new digs in REO Town, hired a nanny, and equipped the space with essentials for infant care and comfort.

Since then, Melissa Meschke and Jenn Putmon have been bringing their babies to work three out of five days a week. And while focusing on career, the two new moms can enjoy the assurance of quality day care and strive for the work-life balance essential in today's world.

"It's a way for me to give back more to the people who have got us to where we are today," says Town. "We eat lunch with the babies. We play with the babies. When we're having a hard day, they're a good distraction."

Town founded Michigan Creative six years ago, incubating his small marketing agency through the NEO Center on Lansing's north side. Then, as now, Town's guiding principle includes surrounding himself with great people who care about the company and clients, and providing for their happiness and satisfaction through the company's culture.

Michigan Creative moved to REO Town around the spring equinox. The goal, Town says, was to be part of the area's positive growth and creative energy. Town's staff regularly supports local merchants and food and beverage businesses as a means to re-energize their creative work that involves video production, web services, digital marketing and design. And with a location at 1149 ½ South Washington, it's never more than a block from their 1,500-square foot, second story office flat to small businesses like Blue Owl Coffee, Saddleback BBQ, Izzo's Pub, Vintage Junkies and The Nook.

"We wanted to follow the artists, follow the local businesses, and be part of a community," says Town. "We feel that if we can be a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the positive growth in REO Town, we'll be happy."

Michigan Creative has 10 employees, with half of those being added in the last 12 months.

Source: Brian Town, CEO/Owner, Michigan Creative
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.

The Runway signs five fashion start-ups, alumnus gains national recognition

Five new fashion start-ups have joined The Runway fashion incubator in downtown Lansing, with their designs set on achieving levels of success similar to a recent alumnus.

The five new tenants will bring a host of new services, products and innovation to the Greater Lansing Region. New designers include:

  • Jon Lewis, Project I: A Fashion venture capital firm from New York City
  • Ashton Keys of the Ninety6: A streetwear line that connects with creativity and energy
  • Tyler Mehigh of Northern Etiquette: A northern-themed prep apparel company
  • James Eisenbeiser: A line of totes and fashion accessories
  • Stephane Awuro of 4ace: A menswear line

"It's exciting to see so much new creative energy coming to downtown Lansing through The Runway," says Joe Carr, startup innovation manager at the Lansing Economic Area Partnership and director of The Runway. "We are excited to work with these designers to develop and refine their brand and further solidify The Runway's reputation as the premiere fashion incubator in the State of Michigan."

Carr added that Project I will bring a new capital investment to the region, further positioning metro Lansing as a leader in the fashion industry. The Runway also reports that alumnus Lawrence Hunt has secured a second brand ambassador with New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shephard. The wide receiver joins Detroit Tigers James McCann in donating 200 Lawrence Hunt shirts to students and veterans who are preparing for new careers.

Launched from The Runway, Lawrence Hunt Dress Shirts is best known for designing high-quality professional dress shirts that keep the wearer cool in the heat or during high stress situations.

Founder Jeff Schattner says The Runway was a critical force in the development of the company.

"The Runway was such a great experience and really helped us get our footing and foundation in place," says Schattner. "I talk about it all the time as part of our development."

The Runway Lansing was created in 2014 as Michigan's premiere fashion incubator, and helps aspiring designers produce and move collections to market by providing essential resources like creative space, education and programming. The Runway is funded by the Lansing Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) and is located in downtown Lansing in the Knapp's Centre, 300 S. Washington Square, Suite 100.

Source: Joe Carr, Director of The Runway
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Doberman Technologies honored as top company, merges with Michigan firm

There are multiple reason that Doberman Technologies is being recognized by Michigan Celebrates Small Business as one of the 2017 "Michigan 50 Companies to Watch." And while many of those reasons can be stated through facts and numbers, many trace to the culture that surrounds the managed-IT services provider based in Mason, Michigan.

Founded in 2005, Doberman has focused on delivering customer-centric, fixed rate IT solutions to solve business problems. Since 2010, the company has grown a minimum of 30 percent year over year, with 60 percent for top line revenue in 2016. Within that growth curve, quality has remained high, with the company reporting a 96.5 percent customer satisfaction rating.

"We're thrilled to have been named to the Michigan 50 companies to watch," says Ian Richardson, CEO of Doberman Technologies. "Recognizing those firms that hold to industry best practice and have shown sustainability and growth is a win for not only the company recognized, but for those organizations looking to partner with them."

Doberman's growth was recently reflected in an early April merge with Nonik Technologies. The merger with the Hillsdale, Michigan, IT-managed service provider brings the Nonik staff and operations under the Doberman brand.

In the past 12 months, Doberman has doubled its staff from seven to 14 full-time staff. In 2015, the company moved to a new headquarters that tripled the space from 1,250 square feet to 5,000 square feet. The company is located in a 80-year-old historic building in the Mason antique district—just a few miles from where Richardson grew up in Okemos.

With the recent merger, Doberman forecasts another 30 to 60 percent growth year, and expects to hire one to three full-time staff.

Doberman will be honored at the MCSB gala event on May 4. Companies making the watch list are second-stage enterprises with six to 99 full-time employees that generate $750,000 to $50 million in annual revenue or working capital from investor or grants. Underwriters for the event are the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, PNC Bank, AF Group and Dynamic Edge, Inc.

Source: Ian Richardson, CEO, Doberman Technologies
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.

THiNC.technology launches new apps tailored to customer need

No outsourcing. No prescribed platforms. One hundred percent customer focused.


For Craig Tucker, those are factors in the formula for success for a small business competing in the high-tech marketplace. And since 2014, Tucker and his partners have sustained a business that builds software, mobile apps, websites, and integrated solutions for sales and e-commerce—all to customer specifications.


"Everyone here is Midwestern--from Michigan or Wisconsin," says Tucker, CEO of THiNC.technology. "We like to keep it local."


Intent on keeping an agile mindset, Tucker and his nine-member team operate from a functional office within the University Center at 333 Albert Ave. in downtown East Lansing. Two recently engineered apps underscore the abilities of THiNC.technology to respond to customer challenges and devise solutions that meet both broad and specific needs.


The Judgment Interest Calculator, released in April, frees attorneys, law students, judges and other legal professionals from complex hand calculations. The app determines accrued interest on monetary settlements, and then compiles figures into a state-approved form for emailing.


A second app under development and set for release later in 2017 answers the need for some health organization to authenticate particular sales activities for compliance. Currently in rollout, the Validu app that will use biometric authentication for attendance when required by regulations affecting pharma, medical and security operations.


"We like to build things that solve problems," says Tucker. "They say necessity is the mother of invention. So, we can say we like to create things that are necessary."


The company's portfolio includes apps for distracted driving, American Sign Language translation, education and services. The veteran-owned company has also developed dozens of websites, e-commerce solutions and presentations.


"We will continue to expand," says Tucker. "We have clients all over the world—including China, New York and California. The vibrancy of East Lansing makes us want to always keep a presence here."


Source: Craig Tucker, Owner, THiNC.technology
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Burst Into Bloom waxes for the nomadic life with handcrafted bags

Leah Seelye moved to Michigan five years ago with her husband Cody. Relocating from Wisconsin, the two lived behind the Capitol in Lansing, and then resettled in Grand Ledge to build on their devotion to making mid-Michigan home.

All the while, Seelye stayed true to her passion for handcrafted items, determined to become a maker herself. She retaught herself to sew, and set out to fill a niche for attractive clutches, bags, purses and pouches made from waxed canvas.

In 2015, Seeyle equipped a home studio with a sewing machine and everything she needed to create products for contemporary nomadic life. She concentrates on the design and sewing. Her husband does the waxing. And in less than two years, husband-wife team behind Burst Into Bloom has sold about 1,500 waxed canvas items a year to customers as close as next door to as distant as the Pacific Northwest.

"While I was really invested in my day job, I just wanted to do something with a creative outlet," says Seeyle. "My first sale was a wholesale order, and it just blew up from there. I didn't expect it. I've been humbled."

Seeyle's bags and clutches are functional but funky, with colors and patterns inspired by the desert southwest. Made from printed canvas and then waxed, Burst Into Bloom products have the look and feel of leather and are stain and water resistant.

Seeyle says she started Burst Into Bloom with a $300 windfall buffeted by the support and encouragement of her husband, her family, and friends. She recently began full-time at the biz, and has her sites set on continuing to grow her line.

"We're passionate about making things and are committed to helping people make that hand-made connection," says Seeyle. "Our age is so digital. As human beings, we're always craving or creating something to hold, touch and connect with."

Burst Into Bloom purses, bags, clutches and pouches are available online, locally through Polka Dots in Old Town, and in several Michigan stores in Detroit and Grand Rapids.

Source: Leah Seelye, Owner, Burst Into Bloom
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Lansing Mosaic tells stories of area entrepreneurs, provides resources

A small business owner whose path began from a home-based operation has launched a new resource to help promote other Greater Lansing area entrepreneurs, particularly those without a brick-and-mortar presence.
Ashlee Willis founded Lansing Mosaic in November 2016, intent on telling the stories of people who apply their talents and innovative ideas through start-ups. Her tool? An online, event-driven publication that highlights diverse entrepreneurs and small business owners through articles and video content.
"There are a lot of resources here in mid-Michigan that are helping to get businesses started and helping them to succeed," says Willis. "I want to be part of that."
Lansing Mosaic encourages community members and subscribers to be involved in generating ideas for content and events that foster and promote entrepreneurship. Visitors to the site can also find content on technology trends, business initiatives, marketing and other topics relevant to entrepreneurs. 
Willis operates Lansing Mosaic from The Fledge—her hometown's incubator for new businesses in Grand Ledge. She writes and curates much of her content herself with the expertise and assistance of several contributing writers, designers and interns.
"We're also in the midst of starting an affiliate called Grub Lansing," she says. "We want to capture the food scene, and showcase some of the entrepreneurs here starting food businesses."
Willis is the owner of Michigan Premeir Events, an event-service company she started from her home that specializes in event planning, decorating, coordinating and photography. She is a board member of the Lansing Black Chamber of Commerce and will receive the 2017 Entrepreneur on the Move Award at the chamber's annual Pillar Awards in late April.
Source: Ashlee Willis, Founder, Lansing Mosaic
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Love Letters to Lansing continues to bloom at Old Town coffee shop

Bloom is coffee. Coffee is love. Love is needed, now, and lots of it.
That's how the founder and manager of Bloom Coffee Roasters in Lansing's Old Town see it. And despite a political and social climate filled with confusion and change, Jared Field and Andrea Sherman believe it's Lansing's opportunity to bloom.
Starting February 7, Field and Sherman began providing customers the chance to write what they call a "love letter to Lansing." Customers were offered a postcard—three designs, in fact, custom-made by Sherman's husband Eric—and invited them to write a message on the back that said what they love about Lansing. Customers could hand the completed card to baristas on the spot for a free drink, or bring it in at another time for the same reward. Customers could also opt to have their card hung in the window or their message posted on social media.
"The response was overwhelmingly positive," says Field of Love Letters to Lansing. "People love the idea and have been more than willing to share their stories and love for Lansing."
Sherman expands.
"A lot of people have really taken the opportunity seriously," she says. "They want their words to matter and to have a meaningful impact. I watch as many of them pause and reflect on what part of themselves they want to share with their neighbors. It's almost a 'what can I give of myself that will inspire hope and peace and goodwill?'"
Field says Bloom will continue to run the campaign of love and support for as long as people have nothing left to say. And that could be a while.
"We greatly appreciate the support in our projects and the pursuits to make Greater Lansing and Old Town a better, welcoming place," says Field.
In addition to Love Letters, Bloom has launched a campaign inviting the community to support student artwork that will be displayed on the café walls come May. The project represents a partnership with the Lansing Art Gallery for the Ingham Student Art Exhibit. Customers and community members can help support the display of 10 student artworks at Bloom through the purchase of coffee bags and cups of coffee. Field says Bloom needs to raise $250 to help cover the professional framing and exhibit of each piece.
Bloom Coffee Roasters opened the café in Old Town on July 5, 2016. The roasting company has been in the same location at 1236 Turner Street since September 2014. The café employs 10 people.
Source: Jared Field, Owner, Bloom Coffee Roasters
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Okemos resident keeps it clean with handcrafted soap business

Autumn Romig says she's always been interested in traditional skills, particularly ones with an edge. She's also driven to have her own business after growing up in an entrepreneurial family in Okemos, Mich.
So when Romig happened upon the craft of soap making via a class on beekeeping, she knew, bar none, that she had found an outlet that combined her two passions.
"I like making soap because it can be a little complex and dangerous," she laughs. "It's also a way I can take ingredients, do something with them, and create something."
Romig launched Autumn's Harvest Soap in November 2016 after making handcrafted soaps for use by her friends and family. She started by making small batches, then word spread to friends of friends. Soon, she was making, storing and delivering soaps as fast as she could.
Romig said the turning point came when her husband sat her down and convinced her she could sustain a low-cost business based on her newfound passion. Tapping her powers of creative thinking, Romig researched the ins and outs of becoming a home-based soap maker and created a business model that worked.
Today, Romig maintains an inventory of about 300-400 bars of soap she makes through a cold process. The soap, she says, has about a six-week cure time, and is made from a combination of lye, sustainably harvested oils like palm, and fragrances derived from essential oils.
"My recipe is a little different and draws on particular ingredients," says Romig. "Like anything in life, you try to pick the best options."
Autumn's Harvest Soap makes and sells handcrafted soaps, lotion bars, wax melts and bath fizzies. Most of her business is local, with customers ordering bars for their business, their homes, and for special gifts.
"I like products and gifts that are thoughtful and luxurious," says Romig. "I want to make really nice quality products that people enjoy using, and that bring a little joy to them when they use it."
Autumn's Harvest Soaps are available online and through the Titus Farms CSA. Romig is also exploring selling her products through Farmraiser come spring.
Source: Autumn Romig, Owner, Autumn's Harvest Soap
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Masters of Confection brings chocolate to the people through monthly subscription service

Life is like a box of chocolates when you're Konny Zsigo.
In October, Zsigo swapped a 30-year run as an entrepreneur and corporate CEO in the high-tech wireless, digital advertising space to pursue a new path as a chocolatier. It was a move that took some by surprise since Zsigo had launched and operated East Lansing-based wireless companies since graduating high school, creating about 500 jobs. His most recent venture, WDA, was sold to the big data marketing company Rocket Fuel in 2014, contributing to the growth of high-tech ventures in the Greater Lansing area.
"I didn't want my whole life to be about high tech," says Zsigo. "I've been that way since I was 17 and started a computer company. It's very stressful, and this represents a nice semi-retirement option for me. It also gives me a chance to be creative."
Typical of Zsigo's enterprises, Masters of Confection isn't simply what it appears. Instead of being a brick-and-mortar chocolate shop, Masters of Confection offers a monthly subscription service where members get a two-pound, eclectic assortment of handcrafted, signature chocolates and confections. Corporate clients can opt for an efficient gift-giving program for key employees and customers—complete with a box customized with the company's logo. Zsigo also coordinates tasting parties and charity events, including a recent "ladies night" at Azzi Jewelers.
"I didn't want to be a backroom chocolatier, someone who doesn't see anyone," says Zsigo. "I want to do the opposite and bring the chocolate to the people rather than having them come into a shop. Most chocolatiers I've met are in the back with their gloves and hats on. I'm doing that, too, but I want to go out and meet people."
Zsigo credits his son for igniting his chocolate craze. About six years ago, his then 10-year-old son was looking to start his first business in the form of a lemonade stand. Zsigo steered him toward something bigger, and suggested he do something with chocolate instead.
"He was dipping Oreo cookies, and while he was doing that, I was making truffles," says Zsigo. "I discovered I loved it and was really having a great time."
It wasn't long before Zsigo was seeking advice from professional chocolatiers, attending trade shows, and learning everything he could about the business. Today, he makes preservative-free confections that source chocolate from France and Belgium, creating a variety of different chocolates and sweets for each month.
"It's seasonally inspired—so you'll get different assortments for Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and so on," says Zsigo. "That's part of the fun of it. It's a surprise."
Zsigo handcrafts all chocolates alongside his wife and business partner Nikki. Monthly subscription services for Masters of Confection are $35 a month, and run for nine months out of the year—excluding June, July and August. To find out more, click here.  
Source: Konny Zsigo, Owner and Chocolatier, Masters of Confection
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.

New K9 FitClub encourages health and wellness at both ends of the leash

Now there's a way both you and your dog can get off the couch and get moving.
New to Lansing since July 2016, the K9 FitClub integrates human and canine fitness, and claims to be the only business that addresses health and wellness at both ends of the leash.
Local club coordinator Rachel Loucks understands the strength and motivational aspects of the human-animal bond, as well as the benefits of fitness. Since childhood, the 30-something has worked side-by-side with her mother, a veterinarian in Holt who specialized in dog training. Growing up, Loucks also dreamed of being an Olympian, having been a three-sport athlete and equestrian.
But then, in 2010, Loucks incurred a traumatic brain injury after falling off her horse. She recovered, and went on to earn her master's and land a full-time job. But in 2015, an auto accident caused her brain injury to flare, triggered posttraumatic stress, and left her permanently disabled.
"I've never been one for boxes," says Loucks. "I don't like being told I can't do things, and it's been really hard for me to accept. Every day since my accident I have been searching for what I can do."
So when Loucks saw an opportunity to become a certified K9 FitClub master trainer, she jumped on it. She had seen how the franchise had worked with another person experiencing traumatic brain injury, and knew it was something she could do based on her background with animals.
"Through my trauma, I found my life purpose: to help trauma survivors of any kind heal and thrive," she says. "That is why 100 percent of K9 FitClub Lansing's profits go toward providing trauma survivors with service dogs or access to animal therapy."
With emphasis on fitness for all levels, K9 Fit Club Lansing offers specially designed programs for seniors and people with certain disabilities to promote physical and mental well-being. Group and private classes are held at the two Doggy Day Care and Spa locations in Okemos and Lansing. 
"Even if you are struggling to do a jumping jack or a reverse lunge, your dog is right there with you, wagging its tail and being its happy-go-lucky dog self," says Loucks. "The dogs in class provide comedic relief, making it impossible to take it too seriously. And we all know that laughter is the best medicine."
Source: Rachael Loucks, Certified K9 Fit Club Master Trainer and Licensee, K9 FitClub
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Dewpoint marks 20 years with gift to ITEC 2020 Girls program

A Lansing-based information technology solutions provider is celebrating 20 years in business by paying it forward to another locally-based organization that helps prepare K-12 students for 21st century jobs.
In early September, Dewpoint gifted $10,000 to the Information Technology Empowerment Center (ITEC)—a Lansing nonprofit that works with Michigan students to build excitement for coursework and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The donation represents a new partnership between Dewpoint and ITEC to support and expand ITEC's 2020 Girls Program.
The 2020 Girls program helps prepare girls for successful futures in the global economy, and is something that peaks Dewpoint's interest. The program helps Lansing-area females ages 9-13 explore studies and careers in the STEM fields. Girls enroll in robotics, game design and programming courses to learn new concepts, hone existing skills, and put their theoretical knowledge into immediate practice.
"Supporting ITEC fulfills our mission of bringing talented individuals into the IT market," says Michelle Massey, a vice president at Dewpoint. "We do that by helping to educate students early on."
Massey says that strengthening their connection with ITEC is a way to support the Lansing economy and build a pipeline of students and employees. Dewpoint's gift to ITEC will also focus on developing self-confidence in girls, as well as relationship building with mentors who work in technology.
"Being a female myself in the IT industry, we don't see a lot of girls engaged as far as technology goes," she reflects. "There aren't a lot of women who are visible in IT, and statistically, we start losing girls between the ages of 9 and 13. This is a perfect way for Dewpoint to engage with girls and help break down those barriers."
Dewpoint is headquartered in the Knapp's Centre downtown, and was founded in 1996 in Lansing by eight entrepreneurs who started a services and hardware reseller company. As hardware became more commoditized and the IT industry evolved, Dewpoint expanded its footprint into managed services, application development, IT assessments, and security and data center operations.
Dewpoint has hired 60 people since January 1, employs 240 people, and has 52 job openings.

Source: Michelle Massey, VP, Dewpoint
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Popular networking event hits first anniversary

About a year ago, three entrepreneurs put a new twist on the two-martini lunch and invited other small business owners to enjoy a mid-afternoon break that merged business with socializing. The Drinking Lunch, founders envisioned, would be an event where the pressure was off but the focus was on creating friendships that could lead to business opportunities.
"We came up with the idea in reference to the 'Madmen' days, when people would take time out of their day to have a drink and socialize over business," says Paul Schmidt of UnoDeuce Multimedia. "We started thinking about something along those lines, and created a stress-free networking event where you can do business or not."
In mid-September, the monthly event founded by Schmidt along with Ash Harris of AKEA Web Solutions and Courtney Maki of Glow Social Media marked one year of bringing people together. Like all Drinking Lunches leading up to it, the low-key event took place at the Beer Grotto in downtown Lansing—complete with door prizes.
"We attract a wide range of ages and a cross-section of business people from financial to real estate to the tech industry," says Schmidt, commenting that attendance has held steady at about 50 to 60 people each month. "It's regarded as a legitimate networking event that people know about. The fact that we've sustained the numbers without it dropping off has been amazing."
Schmidt says he, Harris and Maki hope to promote the concept to other cities, or expand the opportunity to other locations within Greater Lansing. In the meantime, attendees can drop in and join the Drinking Lunch at the Beer Grotto, every third Thursday of the month from 2 to 4 p.m.
"Nothing is set in stone," he says. "We've had some talk about it. But really, the key that makes the Drinking Lunch so successful is that it's not a super selling kind of event. It's more like, welcome to our space, come and join our conversation, and meet someone new."
Source: Paul Schmidt, Co-founder, the Drinking Lunch
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Online strategic communication degree empowers working professionals

Organizations seek out the abilities. Professionals strive for the skills. And starting Spring 2017, the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences will welcome its first class into a new online master’s program on strategic communication.
The Master of Arts in Strategic Communication represents the first time the College has offered a degree program 100 percent online. The program responds to the needs of working professionals through its flexible delivery as well as through content that addresses the challenges of a 21st century communication environment.
"Given the rapidly changing communication ecosystem, mid-career professionals are eager for training to update their skills," says Prabu David, Dean of the College of ComArtSci. "Currently, communication professionals, including our own alumni, do not have rich, in-state options to learn new media techniques. This new online M.A. in strategic communication fills that gap."
Students in the nine-course, 30-credit program will examine how to leverage today's evolving media and digital mix into an integrated marketing and communications strategy for businesses, start-ups, non-profits or government agencies. Expert faculty will handle all aspects of course content and bring expertise in corporate messaging, news and information, fundamental communication processes, audience research and data analytics, and new technologies. Students will complete a service-learning project that applies their newly acquired expertise within a community setting.
"The College of ComArtSci has a long-standing leadership in an integrated theory-to-practice orientation toward effective communication strategy and tactics," says John Sherry, associate dean of for graduate studies in ComArtSci. "There is no other college in the world with such broad and deep coverage of these issues."
Students can complete courses and requirements from anywhere, anytime and at their own pace in one to three years. The program is ideally suited for working professionals with three to five years of experience in communications as well as for business and communication entrepreneurs. Students will also have opportunity to collaborate with other online learners, further enhancing their professional network.
"The ability for individuals to be located anywhere and enroll in this master's program is a distinct advantage," says ComArtSci Alum April M. Clobes, president and CEO of the MSU Federal Credit Union. "Being able to complete the program while working full-time is also essential for long-term success. MSU's high rankings in the field of communications along with excellent faculty, will make this a highly sought after degree."
The program is currently accepting applications and no GRE is required. More information on MSU's new online master's degree program in strategic communication can be found here.
Source: Nicole Szymczak, Senior Communications Director, MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.

New foundation to provide 3D printers and inventive technology to schools

A new foundation with an inventive twist is looking to support the next generation of innovators by providing funding, equipment and programming to schools, teachers and the local community.
Launched in spring 2016, the Mini Maker Foundation raises funds to encourage K-12 kids to become makers, inventors and problems solvers, with an additional emphasis on encouraging girl's involvement in technology and engineering.
Executive Director Joe Rabideau says that 90 percent of tax-deductible donations will directly go toward program development and equipment purchases for local schools. He says the foundation's passions include 3D printers, 3D modeling, printing instruction, hands-on learning and project-based programming—all areas that parallel STEAM education.
"While our goal is to get 3D printers into area schools, we're really about more than just getting new technology," says Rabideau. "It's about inspiring kids, sending that message that if you have ideas, you can bring them to life and have solutions. Today's 3D printers allow people to do that."
Rabideau would know. Several years ago, the self-described tinkerer and inventor came up with the idea for an "eargonomically" designed food and water bowl for dogs with long or furry ears. The Poochie Bowl dish keeps a pet's ears out of their water bowl. In 2013, Rabideau drew on resources provided through LEAP and Spartan Innovations to prototype the bowl using 3D printing. That prototyping ability led to the manufacture of Poochie Bowl through Lansing's Diamond Engineering, as well as distribution throughout the U.S.
Without the capabilities enabled through 3D printing, Rabideau says the Poochie Bowl never would have made it out of the pages of his idea journal. The experience of seeing his idea come to life prompted his quest to provide similar opportunities to kids. Toward that end, Rabideau also founded tinkrLAB—a kid-focused maker space in the Meridian Mall that offers classes, workshops and camps on 3D printing, robotics, tinkering, making and building.
"We see a lot of maker spaces for adults, but we're not necessarily inspiring kids in the same way," he observes. "We want to be on the forefront of things. On the foundation side, we're trying to make that connection with schools—a lot of which are strapped for cash—and to help provide the resources and equipment they need."
Source: Joe Rabideau, Executive Director, The Mini Maker Foundation
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
537 Entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts