Blog: Mike Finney

Mike is president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK. A passionate advocate for the transformation of Michigan's high-tech economy he also managed the MEDC’s $1 billion Michigan Life Sciences Corridor initiative between 2000 and 2002. Mike will be wriing about who's making a difference in the Michigan and why.

Post No. 2

 It’s time to catch someone doing something right…this is easier than I expected

Fall 2007 Entrepreneurs, Boot Camp Drill Instructors, Mentors, and Volunteers

…for sharing your time, resources and expertise - assisting aspiring entrepreneurs as they take the first step in launching a business; Chuck Salley, Jim Price, Mike Klein, Kurt Riegger, Jim Arthurs, Chris Bickley, David Bloom, Alex Brar, Greg Buck, Merv Carse, Charles Conrad, Randy Dence, Paul DiMarzo, Joe Ferrario, Sam Fine, Jan Gensheimer, Bill Greenway, David Hartmann, David Haviland, Gary Hessenaur, Al Kortesoja, Michael Kurek, Mark Lundquist, David Olson, Jack Edelstein, Dexter Snyder, Ty Myers, Yan Ness, Gerald Roston, Rick Stallings, Karen Studer-Rabeler, Kevin Suboski, Rick Vanzura, Don Walker, Kevin Wittrup, Andy McColm, Wes Huffstutter, Phil Tepley, Kayo Ramirez, Paula Rhoades, Wayne Harvey, Roger Newton, Larry Schmitt, Scott Olson, Skip Simms, Tom Marten, Susanna Thomashefski, Amy Cell, Elizabeth Parkinson, Diane Durance, and Lori Emerson - I caught you doing something right!

Linking entrepreneurs with effective mentoring and coaching is one of the top ten “best practices” identified by our research that drives robust entrepreneurial communities.  We also know that finding adequate seed and subsequent growth capital is highly dependent on the preparedness and track record of the entrepreneur.  The Boot Camp Program compresses the usual learning curve to move a great business idea to the next level with two intensive days (and evenings) of learning.  A seasoned entrepreneur/mentor leads each team in the Boot Camp. The mentor is complemented by a host of local volunteer-business experts.
Participants learn how to develop a solid business planning foundation, design an effective investor presentation, and work one-on-one with experienced business executives.  They also have an opportunity to present to a panel of venture capital investors.

Getting involved with your local SmartZone as a coach or mentor will allow entrepreneurs to accelerate their business plans and provide the “seeds” that are needed to position our state for economic growth.  
Michigan Innovation Equipment Depot (MIED)

…for providing (free) high-value equipment and consumables to 52 life science start up companies throughout the entire state; MIED partners including the SmartZone Network, MichBio, Ann Arbor SPARK, Southwest Michigan First, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Pfizer Global Research & Development - I caught you doing something right!

The MIED is an idea that has potential for many industry sectors.  As established companies update technology they should consider donating high-value excess equipment to the MIED for distribution to needy start ups throughout the state.  This is a win-win.  Companies receive a tax break and start ups save limited working capital to fund research, prototype development, talent, marketing, and business development needs.  MIED provides access to previously used laboratory equipment critical to a company's product research, development and manufacturing.

Feedback from the most recent recipients of MIED donations (all edited):

"Thank you and everyone else involved with the recent consumables fest.  Seriously, the opportunity to pick up supplies was fantastic."
"I wanted to say thank you for the great way you and the team carried out the consumable distribution the other day.  Several of my companies went and came back singing your praises." 
"The event was well organized and highly productive for all the companies who received this generous donation. Our company is excited to be putting these consumables to good use. Excellent job!"
Please join me in contributing to this BLOG by sharing who you "caught doing something right."