Entrepreneur How To: Get Connected With Entrepreneurial & Funding Resources in Michigan

By MVCA Executive Director Maureen Miller Brosnan

One of the greatest challenges facing entrepreneurs when launching a business is finding capital. Funding is often the most critical resource needed to fuel a company’s growth, but many don’t know where to start or how to connect with different sources of financing or entrepreneurial support organizations available in their community. One of the primary goals of Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA), the trade association for the venture capital and angel community in Michigan, is to foster a collaborative entrepreneurial and investment community. With this initiative in mind, we outlined investment and entrepreneurial resources for entrepreneurs who are launching their businesses in Michigan.

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Why Incubation?

In my first month working at the Macomb-OU INCubator, I’ve gained more knowledge about startups than I have in the past twenty-so years of my life. As the marketing and communication assistant for an incubator, I am able to see devotion and passion stem from the variety of intelligent entrepreneurs who walk through our doors each day. I didn’t know, however, why these entrepreneurs were coming to an incubator for help when they are already packed with dedication and remarkable ideas.

I learned that starting a business is much more challenging than just selling an idea to the market. Many startups fail trying to launch their business. WSJ.com said, “Of all companies, about 60% of startups survive to age three and roughly 35% survive to age 10, according to separate studies by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes U.S. entrepreneurship.”

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The Beginning of My Passion for Start-ups and Business Incubation

Small business accounts for approximately 99% of the employers in the United States and represents 98.3% of all employers in Michigan. Given this relevant statistic, it is no wonder that business incubation has increased more than five-fold in our country in the past decade. Incubation provides an entrepreneurial ecosystem in which to support small businesses. If run well, incubators are effective in helping to accelerate the pace of small businesses in our country as well as across the globe.

I have been in business incubation for close to 15 years, which is a fairly long time in this relatively new industry (in 1980 there were only 12 incubators in the United States). When I started in New Hampshire in 1997, there were no incubators in New Hampshire and less than 200 incubators in our country. Today there are over 1,100 incubators in the country and counting. Yes, I was the brunt of many egg & chick jokes.

How did I end up in business incubation? Although my career “hatched” in New Hampshire, my love and passion for small business was “incubated” in New Jersey where I was born and bred. Back when I was in fifth grade, my father made the decision to leave Wall Street to start his own retail business, the Sport Spot, a sporting goods store with a major focus on down-hill skiing. Yes, N.J. had skiing and was only a 4.5 hour drive to some of New England’s finest.

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Welcome to the Mac-OU INC Blog!

It is with great pleasure that I finally type the words ‘welcome to the Mac-OU INC blog!’

What a journey implementing this blog has been. Much of my time since my arrival in November 2011 has been spent on cultivating the services we offer including new programming and seminar series, continuing with the Lean Diversification program, assisting with the implementation of the Executives-in-Residence program and working on committees to bring you the Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurship and the Accelerate MI Innovation Competition. This first blog post is an incredibly satisfying milestone, as it demonstrates the improved efficiency and continuous growth of the incubator.

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