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The Regional Ambitions and Financial Realities of the Cinetopia Film Festival

Over the years there have been several attempts to create a truly regional film festival, one that bridges the gulf between Ann Arbor and Detroit. With 50 films screening in Tree Town and 40 in Motown, the third year of Cinetopia might just be the film festival "to bring them all and in the darkness bind them."

Metro Detroit's Cyber Candy Man

Like many people, Walter Blake Knoblock has a sweet tooth. But instead of simply acquiring cavities, this entrepreneurial 25-year-old decided to turn his passion for snacks into a business. Each month BoCandy sends subscribers sweets from around the globe, providing old faves, international confections and exotic discoveries.

Lessons From Downtown: Ferndale, Detroit and a Nation of Main Street Stories

Over 1,300 downtown professionals are making the journey to Detroit this week for the National Main Street Conference. Ferndale will be in the house, learning what Motown has to teach about revitalizing downtown development and, in turn, educating the Motor City about its Main Street successes.

OpEd: Closing the Gap Between Food Producers and Consumers

The biggest barrier to consumer access to fresh, locally-grown food is the distance between food providers and suppliers, says Rachel Leemis, founder of Monty's Beef Company, a Piedmontese beef retailer that keeps its own herd of cattle. But new state support for rural development is planting the way for the state's 52,000 farms to meet this growing trend. 

Bustin' Up the Boy's Club: Metro Detroit's Female Mixologists

The story of metro Detroit's rising craft cocktail culture is not just about men and their mixers. Despite a long history of exclusion (that even included laws prohibiting their place behind the bar), more than a few women bartenders have been bucking stereotypes and making their mark as celebrated mixologists.

The Business of Being Funny

As the old adage goes: "comedy is hard." Especially when it comes to turning a profit. Over the last six years, Ferndale's Go Comedy! Improv Theatre has evolved from a nightlife pastime to a growing business that teaches classes, hosts events and runs workshops for some of Metro Detroit's most notable businesses.

The Rise of Metro Detroit's Mixologists

Five years ago metro Detroit was barely a blip on the craft cocktail radar. Today it's considered one of the hottest regions for mixology, boasting bartenders and a scene that rival any in the U.S.  Metromode's Nicole Rupersburg charts our cocktail culture's recent evolution. 

OpEd: Why Mechatronics is Hot

Taking a cue from European-owned firms in Oakland County, southeast Michigan's universities and trade schools are offering degrees and certification in mechatronics, a multi-disciplinary field of engineering. Irene Spanos, Oakland County's economic development director, says why the region should support this burgeoning field.

Will Metro Detroit's Tech Community Ever Be Color Blind?

Metro Detroit has a long history of cultural silos and regional segregation. So how does its tech and entrepreneurial community create opportunites for greater racial and cultural diversity? There's no easy answer but places like Silicon Valley are implementing aggressive and sustained efforts to bridge a divide local business leaders barely acknowledge.

COOL JOBS: Zack Green - Guitar Maker Extraordinaire

When your client list includes Kid Rock, Meshell Ndegeocello, Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins, and The Cure's Reeves Gabrels, you know you're one of a kind. There is nothing luthier Zack Scot Green loves more in the world than a guitar, which is probably why working at internationally renowned Reverend Guitars is more than a job, it's a calling.

Out of the Malls, Into the Trees: Oakland County Ecotourism?

How did Oakland County, a place famous for its wide selection of shopping malls, end up with metro Detroit's first ecotourism attraction? Well, it's funny you should ask. Metromode's Natalie Burg learns how West Bloomfield now speaks for the trees. 

The Detroit Mechanix Puts a New Spin on Professional Sports

Once the home of the Lions and Pistons at the Silverdome, Pontiac has seen its athletic luster fade over the years. But down doesn't mean out, as the lesser known but no less driven Detroit Mechanix, a local ultimate disc team, builds fans for a growing sport.

OpEd: Minority/Women Tech Entrepreneurs: Don't Overlook Federal R&D Grant Money

Minorities and women have historically received only a slice of small-business funding, an economic reality that crimps today's diversified economy. Michael Kurek, partner at BBCetc, tells how these underrepresented groups can gain a more equitable share of available grant funding.

Motor City Free Geek Reclaims Yesterday's Technology

There's an awful lot of discarded technology out there. There's got to be a better place for it than the trash, right? The Royal Oak non-profit Motor City Free Geeks marshals hundreds of tech volunteers to refurbish computers and laptops, outfitting them with free software and selling them to the public for hugely discounted prices. It's like the Circle of Life for technology.

To Compete or Non-Compete: Contracts That Make Michigan Less Competitive

States known for tech innovation and new economy success have shed their old school non-compete contracts to attract the best and brightest talent while fostering greater cross-pollination of ideas and inventions. So with all the noise Michigan is making about creating a 21st-century economy, why are we clinging to a 20th-century business practice?
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