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Macomb-OU INCubator
  Incubate. Innovate. Accelerate.
November 2012

Smart Lighting Solutions

Smart Lighting Solutions (SLS), based out of Shelby Township, MI, recently joined the Macomb-OU INCubator as an affiliate client. Out of a pool of close to 60 subject matter experts, Mac-OU INC will customize an advisory board to work with SLS, to reach their objectives, over the course of the next year.

Smart Lighting Solutions specializes in both indoor and outdoor commercial and industrial lighting solutions, and creates the perfect solutions for their customer's specific requirements and needs. SLS provides expert analysis to replace old lighting with the very latest in lighting technology, all while generating amazing energy savings and better quality lighting. Their products include: LED, Fluorescent, Induction, Electronic Hid and Ceramic HID lighting.

SLS will also arrange financing options (subject to credit approval) for projects both small and large. Payments are based on the energy savings, which normally result in positive cash flow for the customer. Additionally, they assist their clients with the process of qualifying for utility rebates and incentives. For further information, please visit their website or e-mail to

 "The attention paid to our business and developing a plan to enhance our growth has been priority one since we have started working with the incubator. Tailoring a Business Advisory Board to focus on our needs is something we are greatly excited about."
-Ralph Pety, Owner


Julie Gustafson, Mac-OU INC Executive Director, gives welcoming remarks

John Swiatek, CEO of Coliant Corporation, pitching his business plan

Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition (AMIC)

Congratulations to Mac-OU INC client, Coliant Corporation, for their $25,000 award at AMIC for having the best business plan in their industry, Next Generation Manufacturing!

The AMIC is an international business competition designed to bring together later stage entrepreneurial companies with local, national and international investors. It showcases the best and brightest new business concepts to investment capital to help foster their growth within Michigan. Targeting entrepreneurs with mid-to-late seed-entrepreneurial businesses, the competition has an immediate and positive impact on Michigan's economy.

This year's event on November 13-15 brought in a record number of entrants. Macomb-OU INC is very proud of their client companies that presented, also including LED Optical Solutions, Dynamic Intelligent Solutions and 2 of 10. Congratulations, and amazing job to one and all!
Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurship (ACE)

Save the date for the annual ACE event on January 31 at Burton Manor in Livonia!

ACE is an event that celebrates and promotes entrepreneurship in the Great Lakes region. ACE brings together entrepreneurs, service providers, investors, students, government agents and other members of the business community to network, learn and connect.

Exhibit tables are available for entrepreneurs. Please visit to register today for your table! Enjoy ACE breakout sessions; network with fellow entrepreneurs, service providers and investors; prominently display your business with an exhibit table; and put your hat in the ring for the ACE'13 Elevator Pitch Competition. Enjoy a keynote by Terry Cross, longtime leader in the investment communities in Silicon Valley and New York, entitled "Returning to Michigan, the Entrepreneurial Soul of America: The Important Comparisons Between Silicon Valley and Michigan."

Please visit for more details and registration.


Share Ideas and Connections at Mac-OU INC's I-Hub

Mac-OU INC has opened the doors to its Idea Hub (I-Hub) in an effort to foster collaboration between entrepreneurs.

Part of the process of becoming a successful entrepreneur involves knowledge exchange. To facilitate this, the I-Hub was created, a place for like-minded entrepreneurs to share ideas, resources and connections in an open-space environment. The I-Hub is the perfect coffee-shop alternative for startups and small businesses. Entrepreneurs can make the connections they need, all in a day's work.

Hours for the I-Hub run Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For $95 a month, or $10 a day, in addition to connecting with fellow entrepreneurs, membership includes the use of the building's mailing address, free Wi-Fi, and scheduled "Idea Meetups" to encourage collaboration.

For more information on the I-Hub, please contact Andrea Chom at (586) 884-9320 or visit our website.


Michigan Lean Consortium Endorses the Mac-OU INC Lean Green Belt Certificate Program

On November 11, the Lean Green Belt Certificate Program was the first program to be officially endorsed by the Michigan Lean Consortium (MLC).

The MLC is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to spreading Lean principles throughout every public and private sector industry in Michigan.The MLC has a vision of all public, private and educational organizations in Michigan being at the benchmark level of efficiency and competitiveness.

The Mac-OU INC Lean Green Belt Certificate Program enables participants to gain the ability to tackle targeted concerns within a company's value stream or operations, apply Lean principles to focused areas of the business and recommend ideas for culture change.

Please visit for more information on the Lean Green Belt Certificate Program, and for more information on the MLC.

 Wayne Blizman
Senior Advisor - Commercialization

Wayne Blizman
Senior Advisor - Commercialization

Wayne Blizman, Senior Advisor of Commercialization, is responsible for recruiting new clients and new Business Advisory Board (BAB) members for Mac-OU INC. Once new clients are admitted, a needs assessment is conducted and a list of short term objectives is established. Based on the needs assessment, a series of tailored programs are developed. These programs include, for example, assigning a BAB to assess client issues and recommend courses of action, providing contacts with Oakland University (OU) and outside personnel along with professional consulting with INCubator personnel. Additional responsibilities include representing Mac-OU INC at industry events related to startup businesses in the capacity of speaker, panelist and moderator.

In addition to assisting startup businesses at the INCubator, Wayne is also an Adjunct Professor in Entrepreneurship and Director of the Ideas to Business program in the School of Business Administration at OU. "These activities all complement each other and provide a synergy that is invaluable in helping INCubator clients as well as OU students, faculty and staff to realize their entrepreneurial dreams," says Wayne.

"It is a pleasure to work with the entire staff of the Macomb-OU INCubator and see their dedication in helping clients develop and commercialize their business ideas. I am continually amazed at the number of entrepreneurs, retirees and business professionals from the outside who contact me stating they want to 'give back' to the community and share their experiences to help startup businesses. Our clients are fortunate to have these two groups to guide them to success."

Favorite Pastime: Listening to classical music and enjoying summers with family at our cottage on Torch Lake.

Last Book Read: "The Fabric of the Comos: Space. Time. And the Texture of Reality" by Brian Greene

Favorite Food: Fresh vegetables

Best Oakland Memory: Working with students and businesses to help them realize their aspirations.


Bernard Fuhs
Lunch and Launch Series: "#NicePeopleDOFinishLast: Protecting Your Investment Ideas and Trade Secrets in the Social Media Age"
December 6  12-1 p.m.

Bernard Fuhs, an attorney with the law firm of Butzel Long, concentrates his practice in the areas of business and commercial litigation, with significant experience in non-compete and trade secret disputes. He has successfully litigated and counseled clients on non-compete and trade secret matters in all 50 states. He is a frequent speaker on non-compete and trade secret issues, and has authored and contributed to many publications, national and local, regarding the same.

Mr. Fuhs was recently named to Crain's Detroit Business' 2012 Class of "40 Under 40," which honors "the best and brightest in Southeast Michigan who have made their marks in business before age 40." Mr. Fuhs was also selected as a 2012 Business Litigation Top Lawyer by DBusiness Magazine and named to the 2011 and 2012 Michigan Super Lawyers' Rising Star Lists.

Bernard Fuhs

Lunch and Launch Series: "Social Media: Are You Listening?"
November 8: Nicole Sunstrum

Audience Reviews:

"Really liked Nicole - she was really knowledgeable on social media. Cool to hear how the state is handling social media."

"She was very interesting and I liked her presentation. I like coming to the Lunch and Launches and learning about important and interesting topics!"

"She was very informative and to the point, which I really enjoyed. Loved that she was willing to pull up the FB and show examples right there."


"Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose"
Tony Hsieh

Reviewed By Joan Carleton

Lighthearted and funny, "Delivering Happiness" tells the story of Tony Hsieh's, the CEO of, path to success. Zappo's main initiative being quality customer service falls right in line with Hsieh writing a book that speaks to the masses and delights the crowds. This is clear from his closing statement: "If this book has inspired any of the above (making your customers, your employees or yourself happier), then I'll have done my part in helping both Zappos and myself achieve our higher purpose: delivering happiness to the world."

At the age of 24, Hsieh sold his first company, LinkExchange, to Microsoft for $265 million. After he made his profits, passion was discovered through love of poker, rave culture and a strong camaraderie with others, which all relate back to community, commitment and culture. Knowing he needed to translate these qualities to everlasting passion, he found his purpose with Zappos, first as an advisor and investor, and then as CEO. Hsieh helped grow from almost no sales to over $1 billion in gross merchandise sales annually. In November 2009, was acquired by in a deal valued at $1.2 billion on the day of closing. 

Zappo's company culture and core values include bullet points such as "deliver WOW though service," "create fun and a little weirdness" and "build a positive team and family spirit." If Hsieh can build a company that truly embodies these qualities, it is easy to understand how he can transfer over this enthusiasm to pages of a book.

It is interesting to note the similarities between successful entrepreneurs. Josh Linkner, a past Mac-OU INC Fireside speaker, strongly advocates his passion for creativity. Jake Sigal, CEO and founder of Livio and an Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition 2012 panelist, told the crowd more than once that all entrepreneurs must read Hsieh's book for the words of wisdom. Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year is chosen partly based on the company focus on individual employees, the ability to embrace innovation and preserve company culture, and the choice to put customer acquisition over venture capital, which are all very similar to Hsieh's business ideals.

As the reader, I was left with the elated feeling that starting my own company would be fun and easy. More realistically, it is a long, tough road that entrepreneurs must devote their life to. As long as it is kept in mind that Tony Hsieh is one of the few stars of the entrepreneurial community, then inspiration overload will come from reading this book.


Take Advantage of Macomb County Small Business and Technology Development Center Business Classes this Fall

Business owners and entrepreneurs seeking to maximize business success are encouraged to take advantage of upcoming learning opportunities offered by the Macomb County Small Business and Technology Development Center. All classes are offered from 9 a.m. to noon at either the County Administration Building in Mount Clemens or at the Velocity Collaboration Center in Sterling Heights, unless otherwise noted. Pre-registration is required for all courses. Visit for additional details or call the small business hotline at 586-469-5118. Scheduled classes for the remainder of 2012 include:

Fundamentals of Starting a Business (Wednesday, December 5) – This seminar focuses on individuals who are considering self-employment or are in their beginning stages of starting their own small business. Topics include an overview of the steps, challenges and rewards of business ownership and the resources available to help launch new ventures in Michigan. Class will be held at the Velocity Building. This workshop is free for Macomb County residents; all others pay a $30 fee.

Fundamentals of Writing a Business Plan (Wednesday, December 12) – Whether your business is in the planning stages or well established, this seminar will provide insight into creating a successful "map" or business plan. The basics of financial planning, marketing, sales, inventory and operations are covered from the unique perspective of the small business owner. Class will be held at the Macomb County Administration Building. This workshop is free for Macomb County residents; all others pay a $40 fee.

Macomb Manufacturers: Hot Topics: Non-Traditional Sources of Employee Referrals (Thursday, December 13, noon to 1 p.m.)
Are there alternatives for finding employees to fill your open positions? What programs are preparing job seekers for entry-level jobs? This panel includes representatives from Focus Hope, MEDC's Community Ventures, Detronic Industries and Magna International.
Join us for the second in a series of one-hour lunchtime events focused on the issues faced by the manufacturing industry. Featuring a speaker panel, you'll hear from industry peers who have solved a challenge related to the topic as well as the resources available to help you. Brought to you by the economic development teams of Macomb County Planning and Economic Development and Sterling Heights Economic Development.
This is a free event. Please contact Teresa Jarzab at (586) 884-9322 or to confirm your attendance.

Online Resources:
The Funded
MI Tech News
Innovation Daily

E-mail Newsletters:
Great Lakes Innovation and Technology Report (GLITR)
Technology Transfer Tactics

"Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers" by Geoffrey Moore
"Portable MBA in Entrepreneurship" by William Bygrave, Andrew Zacharakis (editors)
"Startup Nation: America's Leading Entrepreneurial Experts Reveal the Secrets to Building a Blockbuster Business" by Rich Sloan, Jeff Sloan
"Zigzag Principle: The Goal Setting Strategy that will Revolutionize Your Business and Your Life" by Rich Christiansen


Application Flipboard for iPhone/iPad/Nook/Kindle Fire/Android
Business Model Generation: iPad tool
Business Model Canvas: Online tool
Pulse: iPhone application

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Please Follow Us on our Social Media!

Lunch and Launch:
#NicePeopleDoFinishLast: Protecting Your Investment, Ideas and Trade Secrets in the Social Media Age, Bernard Fuhs of Butzel Long
December 6, 12 - 1 p.m.

Lunch and Launch:
Are All Your Ducks in a Row?: How to Set Up a Bookkeeping System and Effectively Communicate with Your CPA, Lori Bianco
January 17, 12 -1 p.m.

Lunch and Launch:
The Mobile Explosion: How Can Your Business Take Advantage of Mobile Technologies to Increase Productivity and Profitability?, Linda Daichendt, Executive Director of Mobile Technology Association of Michigan
January 24, 12 - 1 p.m.

Lunch and Launch:
The Legalities of Doing Business with the Federal Government, Jim Gehrke of Butzel Long
February 21, 12 - 1 p.m.

GLEQ Presents:
Crowdfunding Workshop and Ask-the-Investors Roundtable
February 27, 5 - 8 p.m.