Entrepreneur Boot Camp graduates 21st class this week

Ann Arbor SPARK's Entrepreneur Boot Camp is graduating its 21st class this week, bringing another 20 start-ups a crash course in entrepreneurship and how best to beat the odds and become a successful business.

What makes this class different is the way Ann Arbor SPARK, with some help from the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center, shows that the two-day intense learning environment is geared more toward the "Lean Start-up" model made popular by a number of different business-education books.

In previous boot camps, participants focused on working out the kinks of their business plans and creating an elevator pitch to give to potential investors and customers. The lean start-up version is now focused on meeting needs in the market before launching the next great idea.

"You try to come up with a market need first," says Bill Mayer, director of entrepreneurial services for Ann Arbor SPARK. "Then you come up with the technology second."

The underlying notion is to help build the entrepreneur more than the business idea. For instance, this class of aspiring entrepreneurs brought ideas that included IP-protected technology, software, life sciences and crowd-funding platforms. One of the teams working to create a crowdfunding platform (what is quickly becoming a crowded field) decided to drop the idea and move on to another one when they realized the odds were against their succeeding.

"You test an idea to see if it's good or bad," Mayer says. "If it's bad you shut it down and move into the next idea. It's about building the entrepreneur, not the idea."

Source: Bill Mayer, director of entrepreneurial services for Ann Arbor SPARK
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
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  • Ann Arbor Spark
    201 S. Division, Suite 430
    Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104 Website
    Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization, is the driving force in establishing the Ann Arbor region as a destination for business expansion, retention, and location by identifying and meeting the needs of business at every stage, from startups to ...