As the holidays are now upon us, I find it fitting to use this ‘day of thanks’ to express gratitude to all who have assisted the incubator during the past year. The abundance of those offering their free time to support the entrepreneurial community of Metro Detroit is astounding, and truly makes my work worthwhile.
Last week, the Business Accelerator Network of Southeast Michigan (BANSEM), consisting of Mac-OU INC, TechTown, Ann Arbor SPARK and Automation Alley, sponsored Entre-SLAM, a storytelling event for entrepreneurs. I’d like to share with you some of the many reasons this special event reenergized me:
I recently attended a portion of the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition (AMIC). For those of you who are not familiar with the program, AMIC is a business “pitch” competition founded by Ann Arbor SPARK, Automation Alley, Macomb-OU INCubator, and TechTown through the New Economy Initiative. The competition is open to entrepreneurs worldwide as well as students attracting local, national and international investors. Judging results in the awarding of cash prizes to winners in several categories with the overall winner (non-student) receiving a $500,000 award! That is some serious cash!
What do I plan to do with my life? At this point in time that is probably the most common question that pops in to my head. Some may say it is because I am a college student. However, I think that is a normal question for all parts of life, as the answer changes as we grow and experience new things.
To answer this question, we will usually create a checklist of the possible outcomes. Things like safety, financials, a family, and recognition are all taken into account. This can be quite overwhelming, as oftentimes, especially for people like me, it may seem impossible to choose what kind of business I would like to start, what kind of job I would like to have or what kinds of things I want to accomplish, when there are so many choices.
I am rather naïve in respect to technology. Most often, I find it easier to leave the issues to the IT experts in my professional setting and the young people in respect to my personal life. However, I was recently intrigued by the Macomb-OU INCubator Lunch and Launch entitled “BYOD (Bring Your Own Device): How Personal Devices Put Your Organization at Risk.” I did some juggling, attended the session and found it well worth the time. Kathy Ossian of Ossian Law and Bob Brietman of IT That Works presented the information which, even for me, was easy to understand and quite interesting. I felt a good deal of the education was worthy of passing along, particularly for those like me who may be somewhat uninformed in respect to technology!
BYOD is the practice of allowing employees and contractors to use personal devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops and home computers, to conduct an organization’s business. The lack of control over business information accessed and stored on personal devices can lead to legal issues involving privacy, security and data retrieval. Whose responsibility is it to protect and secure a BYOD tablet? What happens to company data if a personal smartphone is lost or stolen? What privacy rights does an employee have in personal data stored on a BYOD laptop? Could an organization be sanctioned if a contractor deletes data from a personal laptop that falls within the scope of a request for documents arising from litigation? What happens when an employee using a BYOD device leaves the organization? Having both effective policies and technical solutions is key to managing the risks of BYOD.
The old saying is true: when you give, you get. Some call it karma. I call it business. I’m the founder of World Clothes Line (WCL), an apparel company with a philanthropic mission. We match every item purchased with a new item for someone in need. You buy. We give. Together, we clothe the world.
Our buy-one give-one mission is a lot like karma. When customers make a purchase, they “give” by helping people in need and “get” comfortable stylish clothes for themselves. Then, the WCL team travels to impoverished corners of the globe to distribute new clothes. In three years of business, I’ve visited 15 countries and clothed thousands in need. Again, the “give and get” applies. As a social entrepreneur, I’ve helped people around the world and simultaneously learned some incredible life lessons. Let me share a few: