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

Startup Lean - A Great Success!

Mac-OU INC launched their new Startup Lean program in September as part of the OU Lean Diversification Program.

Startup Lean is designed to help startups get off on the right foot by learning how to use valuable Lean principles to be as efficient, creative and successful as possible from day one to full business maturity. Participants learned about Lean principles, how they can help startups, how to increase value-added time, to shorten product development and supply chain processes, to measure actual progress and to ask customers what they really value.

Instructors Debra Setman, co-founder and lead adviser of Arbed Solutions and co-founder of the Michigan Lean Consortium, and Leon Liu, founder of y0, worked many hands-on activities into the curriculum. This included business process mapping and "Leaning the Tower" measurement tool meant to teach the importance of efficiency.

Instructor Debra Setman engages audience in process mapping
Startup Lean Survey Results

To create the Startup Lean program, over 50 small businesses were surveyed to provide such results as:
  • When asked what the two biggest issues are in running a business over which there is control, participants responded with marketing and accountability/organization structure.
  • When asked what the two biggest issues are in running a business over which there is little control, participants responded with financing, taxes and federal regulations.
  • Items that are most critical to business' success include marketing and financial assistance.

Do you know what day most companies prefer to attend educational seminars? To find this out, and other survey results, please read more here.


Fireside Growth Story: Josh Linkner
A Special Thank You to our Contributing Sponsors, Macomb County Planning and Economic Development and Kosch Catering!

Mac-OU INC's most recent Fireside Growth Story, featuring Josh Linkner, was an excellent event enjoyed by all. Many thanks to those who came to support Linkner, the Macomb-OU INCubator and the event itself.

Josh Linkner presented his uplifting story to an enthusiastic crowd that was record-breaking in numbers. His book signing afterwards proved to be quite a valuable end to the program, as the New York Times Bestsellers just about sold out. You can find a past review in the August newsletter. Josh, thank you for your support of the Macomb-OU INCubator!


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.


Capital Raise Meetup: Let Mac-OU INC Show You the Money!
October 17, 9:30 - 11 a.m. (monthly series)

If you are a startup or early-stage growth-based business looking for funding, come meet and listen to capital expert, Mike Brennan. He will detail the various capital sources in Michigan, and talk about how to properly position your company to be qualified for private funding, including private equity, the angel network and venture capital, and/or public funding, including grants, pre-seed, micro-loans and venture match.

Mike will provide a group presentation, as well as individually help each company present determine their needs.

To register for this free event, please contact Joan Carleton at or (586) 884-9324.

Mac-OU INC Has a New Tenant Client!

You may recall from our April newsletter the Canadian Geese, Macy and Nordstrom. The time will soon come for them to fly south for the winter, until next year when they return as tenants.

We have come to recently find that they are not the only tenants taking advantage of our outdoor facilities! Our new groundhog friend has yet to take on a name, though I would imagine Sears or Saks may be in order.

We are fortunate at our incubator to work in a lovely environment with a lot of big windows to enjoy the view. Feel free to stop by for a tour!

Mac-OU INC's Newest Tenant


Four Mac-OU INC Clients Awarded Semi-Finalist Positions for the 2012 Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition

The Macomb-OU INCubator would like to congratulate all of the competition semi-finalists for Accelerate Michigan!

Mac-OU INC's client company semi-finalists include LED Optical Solutions, Dynamic Intelligent Solutions, Coliant and 2 of 10.

More information on these companies, and others, can be found on the Accelerate Michigan website.

We look forward to viewing their presentations this coming November!


Matt Fruth,
IT Technical Support Intern

Matt Fruth
IT Technical Support Intern

Matt Fruth, IT Technical Support Intern, is one of the newest team members at the Macomb-OU INCubator. He completed his undergraduate degree at Oakland University and is now in the Master of Science in Information Technology Management (MSITM) Program in the School of Business at OU. He expects to graduate in the fall of 2013 or the winter of 2014.

"I chose to intern at the Macomb-OU INCubator because of the opportunity to work with Oakland University again and have a chance to do it in Macomb County,where I am from. Back in 2005 and 2006, I had my first opportunity to work for Oakland University by becoming a Resident Assistant in Vandenberg Hall. It was truly a great experience for me, and I worked with such a dynamic team," says Matt. " I've been with the incubator for nearly a month and the team environment and the collaborative planning that happens every day is amazing. I look forward to contributing to the incubator's success and working with another dynamic team."

Favorite Pastime: "I enjoy swimming. I used to swim competitively in high school, and I have continued to swim on my own ever since."

Last Book Read: "Gone for Good" by Harlan Coben

Favorite Food: Just about any type of pizza

Best Oakland Memory: "When I graduated from Oakland University in 2007 from the School of Business Administration - the classes were challenging, but all worth it in the end when I finished the program."


Lunch and Launch Series: Visual Storytelling and Content Marketing: Examples and Case Studies from YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, Picasa, Pinterest, Instagram, Foursquare & Tumblr
September 6: Charlie Wollborg

Audience Reviews:

"Shut the front door! Best presentation so far!"

"I keep coming back! You're doing something right!"

"He was great. Very animated and vocal, which I loved. Great spin on a topic I've heard many times before."

"Excellent! Great information and a very entertaining presentation."

"Fantastic! Informative, original and energetic."

Lunch and Launch Series: Forming Partnerships: The Key Legal Considerations
September 19: John Carter

Audience Reviews:

"Highly qualified, focused and delivered well."

Excellent information for a startup orgranization."

"Very good and informative - nice slides."


Commercialization Breakfast Panel
September 26: Featuring Technology Highway's Francis "Tex" Criqui, James Masiak, Margaret Palmer and John Rupp Sr., as well as Macomb-OU INCubator's Mike Brennan

Audience Reviews:

"Very well informed. The materials were well put together. It was very well arranged, attended and executed."

"[They were] knowledgeable, [I am] confident they can assist my business with achieving goals. Good setting and plenty of useful information."

"Very good, broad level of experience."

Mac-OU INC's Executive Director, Julie Gustafson, on a Panel at National Defense Industrial Association's (NDIA) 6th Annual Fall Business Event
Julie Gustafson, Mac-OU INC's Executive Director, with fellow panel members Ken Rogers, Executive Director, Automation Alley; Beth Cryderman-Moss, Director, Macomb Regional Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC); and Kevin Vernagus, Manager, mc2 Technology Transition; moderated by Constance  E. Blair, President, Technology Ventures Inc., provided informative insight into gaining entry into government business.


"Who Moved My Cheese?"
Spencer Johnson

Reviewed By Joan Carleton

Please finish this first sentence, if you read nothing else of my review: Everyone, from all walks of life, should read "Who Moved My Cheese?." It is a self-described "gem" of a book, which to them means small and valuable, to me, profound and thought-inducing. In simple terms, an 'oldie but goodie,' meant to be picked up off the shelf every so often to remind oneself of life's lessons. 

The Cheese Story follows the mice, Sniff and Scurry, and the LittlePeople, Hem and Haw. They all have their different personality traits, which lead them on different routes through the maze to their cheese. The maze is meant to represent life itself, with all its pitfalls and hurdles. The cheese represents all you want and hope to get out of life and all you are working towards. 

This is one case of don't judge a book by its size. Though it is small, it would be impossible to describe all of the lessons one could learn from it. Instead, one of my personal favorites: ". . . what you are afraid of is never as bad as what you imagine. The fear you let build up in your mind is worse than the situation that actually exists."

Reflecting on past reviews, it is interesting the similarities. Though Josh Linkner's "Disciplined Dreaming" is mainly about expanding your creativity, it still holds some of the same values and principles as "Who Moved My Cheese?." One should always be ready for change and have the ability to adapt. 

I shut this book and continued to sit, pondering all the questions I had just discovered within its pages. I will leave you with these final thoughts as well: What type of person are you? Do you resist change, or do you tend to shrug your shoulders and adapt easily? What are some areas in your life in which change might be a positive choice to consider?


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 October include:

Fundamentals of Starting a Business (Wednesday, October 3) – 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 MI Works! Office in Clinton Township. This workshop is free for Macomb County residents; all others pay a $30 fee.

Team SBA Financing Roundtable (Wednesday, October 3) – If you are starting or expanding a business and need financing, this forum gives small business owners insight into SBA's loan guaranty programs and the criteria used by loan officers to evaluate a loan request. A team of experts will demystify the lending process, debunk the myths about SBA programs, and share real life examples of successful loan applicants. The roundtable is taught by experienced lenders with expertise in small business and SBA financing. Free.

Business Plan: Nuts & Bolts (Tuesday, October 9) – Develop a comprehensive plan for your business. Define target market, identify your competitors, develop an operating budget, and begin to determine your financial needs. Class will be held at the Business Resource Center in Warren. Free.

Fundamentals of Marketing Your Business (Wednesday, October 10) – Designed to present practical applications of marketing concepts. This event covers elemental marketing principals including: Market analysis and research, target marketing, assessing competitors, and key tools for implementing a plan for marketing your products or services. This workshop is free for Macomb County residents; all others pay a $40 fee.

Five Keys to Achieving Fiscal Fitness (Wednesday, October 10) – This seminar is to assist business owners to understand and use their financial information to change and grow their company. Topics include how to: use your balance sheet and income statement in managing your business, use breakeven analysis to improve decision-making, find the source of cash flow problems, increase you company's cash flow and get your banker on your side. Fifth Third Bank clients please contact for scholarship information; all others pay a $25 fee.

Fundamentals of Writing a Business Plan
(Wednesday, October 17) – 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. This workshop is free for Macomb County residents; all others pay a $40 fee.

Meet the Lenders (Tuesday, October 23) - An opportunity to visit one on one with local lenders to discuss your business financing needs. You will meet with regional, local and alternative lenders to obtain feedback on your loan request and identify next steps in your search for funding. In addition, counselors from the SBA Team will be available to discuss your funding needs. Free.

Tax Information for Sole Proprietors (Wednesday, October 24) – Topics include: Schedule C, Estimated Taxes, Self-Employment Tax and Record Keeping. Free.

Women in Defense Junior Horizon Award: Call for Nominations

Women in Defense (WID) Michigan Chapter is proud to promote the accomplishments of all Michigan female students in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). At the WID-MI Annual Black Tie Gala, WID will present the Junior Horizon Award to one female senior student who has achieved high standards in the STEM area. A small monetary scholarship, provided by donations made to the WID Michigan Chapter, will be awarded to the winner.
Nomination Deadline: November 9, 2012
For more information, criteria and how to submit a nomination, please visit the WID website.

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FALL 2012
Green Belt:
Oct 2, 9, 16, 25, 30 and Dec 11, 8 - 4 p.m.

Capital Raise Meetup:
Mike Brennan
October 17, 9:30 - 11 a.m.

Lunch and Launch:
Social Media: Are You Listening?, Nicole Sunstrum
November 8, 12 - 1 p.m.

Lunch and Launch:
Non-Compete and Trade Secrets, Leslie Dunbar
December 6, 12 - 1 p.m.