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181 Entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All

McClary Bros. delivers on new taste for craft vinegar

Vinegar is much more than the standard base of garden-variety salad dressings, or even balsamic. Here's an artisan maker that's using fruits and vegetables to craft gourmet, drinkable vinegars, soon to be found in stores around the country.

Excerpt:

"While craft beers and spirits are gaining much of the buzz, craft cocktails are also seeing a rise in consumer interest. With bars like  Sugar House  and  Punch Bowl Social  in Detroit and  The Oakland  in Ferndale wowing their customers with craft cocktails, there is also a DIY movement for those looking to change up their at-home imbibing. 

That’s where  McClary Bros.  drinking vinegars come in.

Farmington-based McClary Bros. uses locally grown fruits and vegetables to create drinking/culinary vinegars. These vinegars are not like the ones you use to clean out the coffeepot. These are considered “colonial-era drink mixers” in that these recipes are formulated using unpasteurized apple cider vinegar with added natural ingredients...

A semifinalist in the 2014  Comerica Hatch Detroit  business competition, McClary Bros. expects to have distribution for its infused vinegars in 13 or 14 states soon, thanks to word-of-mouth among high-end retailers operating in several states."

More here.

University tech transfer offices bridge gap between academia and commerce

In Michigan's growing tech economy, there's no doubt that many of the innovators are coming from the halls and labs of academia. But how to get from concept to commercialization?

Excerpt:

"Coming up with a technological breakthrough is a feather in a university researcher's cap. 

But taking that brilliant notion, and forming a profitable business, involves another degree of difficulty. So professors and other researchers who want to turn their intellectual gifts into gold will probably need a little help along the way. 

"It takes more than a great idea," said Paul Riser Jr., managing director of technology-based entrepreneurship for Detroit business incubator  TechTown. "Professors sometimes are great technologists or great engineers and sometimes they don't have the know-how, from a business perspective."

The place to start may be the university's technology transfer office."

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A call for unifying Michigan's "three economies"

Three different types of businesses tend to congregate in different regions of Michigan, leading to lost opportunities and uneven economic growth. A U-M professor suggests a solution.

Excerpt:

"When it comes to economic growth in  Michigan, one size does not fit all. Take a look at the varying scope and scale of companies here and you’ll find a general pattern of three different types of businesses associated with different regions:   large multinational corporations in Southeast Michigan, small high-tech start-ups in Ann Arbor, and family-owned, mid-size companies in Western Michigan...

In an ideal world, these three different economies would be interconnected like concentric circles with the large companies at the center, encouraging the growth of adjacent mid-size companies, in turn promoting the development of surrounding smaller companies.

The problem is that these three economies simply don’t sync up. They are so disconnected from each other, both ideologically and economically, that we don’t benefit from the rewards of their potential synergistic relationships. It’s time to bridge the gaps between these three regions."

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Michigan should invest in Detroit's recovery, survey says

A recent Crain's survey of 300 business owners and executives revealed their sentiments on priority areas for state spending, the state of the economy, and other important concerns heading into 2015.

Excerpt:

"Optimism about Michigan's economy continued to soar, with 78 percent saying they were satisfied with how it affected business, compared with 70 percent in May...

"I used to meet folks out of town about adding new retail markets, and people would almost immediately tell me, "Michigan's near the bottom of our list.' But now it's become fashionable to become associated with projects in Detroit or at least in metropolitan Detroit," said Cindy Ciura, principal of  CC Consulting LLC  in Bloomfield Hills.

"Some of the coverage and national attention to our bankruptcy is turning a negative into a positive. People are seeing, I think, that now it's working to our advantage. It's almost an impetus to get people talking about the comeback."

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Shinola watch company to add retail outlet in Washington, D.C.

Shinola, a manufacturer and retailer of watches and other high-end goods, is putting the shine on with its latest retail store.

Excerpt:

"Detroit-based Shinola continues to expand its retail presence beyond the Motor City, with a permanent, brick-and-mortar outlet reportedly in the works for the nation's capital.

The company, which makes watches in Detroit, in addition to crafting bikes, journals and leather goods at a variety of mostly-American locations, last month said it was opening shops in London, Los Angeles and Chicago...

Shinola had previously said it will have six brick-and-mortar stores once the Chicago one comes online in the Wicker Park-Bucktown neighborhood. Shinola’s flagship Detroit location is at 441 W. Canfield in Midtown, and the company also has stores in Manhattan and Minneapolis.

It also has a presence in Paris' ultra-trendy Colette shop and in the Abu Dhabi airport."

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Detroit region's economy most high-powered in Michigan

Despite past setbacks, southeast Michigan is still the state's significant economic engine – and that's not likely to change.

Excerpt:

“The southeast side is going to be the center for economic activity for many years,” said George Erickcek, an analyst for the Kalamazoo-based Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. “It is going to be a long time before the west side of the state matches the east side of the state....

The Detroit region’s share of the state economy has dropped, however, from 54.7 percent in 2001 to 52 percent in 2013. And the area’s GDP last year is 8 percent below its peak in 2005. But the Detroit-area’s most critical business sectors are gradually clawing back, with health care emerging as a vital new area of growth."

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Nation to soon enjoy a piece of Achatz pie

The rest of the country will soon be treated to one of Michigan's famous desserts: Achatz fruit pies. The company is known for sourcing most of its ingredients from local farms.

Excerpt:

"The Achatz Handmade Pie Co. has sold its franchise rights to a Florida firm, which expects to establish 150 locations across the United States in the next five years.
The much-loved brand, founded 21 years ago in Armada, makes its natural desserts in Chesterfield Township...

The award-winning pies have been showcased on "The Rachael Ray Show," "The Today Show" and "Good Morning America Weekend as well as in "Bon Appétit" and "Food & Wine" magazines."

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Seven area startups to receive Best of MichBusiness awards

A host of interesting new businesses in the tech, tourism, entertainment, and lifestyle industries just may become the newest set of darlings in the Detroit area startup community.

Excerpt:

"Seven ventures from Walsh College’s Blackstone LaunchPad business initiative have been named Best of MichBusiness by
the Michigan Business & Professional Association (MBPA)...

Selected by MBPA as Best of Hatched™ - companies that made it through start-up and are on the way up are: Steve Johnson of Motor City Brew Tours, conducting educational bus, bicycle and walking tours of Michigan-based breweries showcasing the intricate process of beer production..."

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OU medical student invents new surgical device utilizing Google Glass technology

A medical student's promising new technology device means surgeons will be able to keep their eyes trained on their patients.

Excerpt:

"Florence Doo, a second-year medical student at  Oakland University, has her hands full.

Not with school, although that certainly keeps her busy, but with starting and growing a medical device company that plans to use Google Glass to deliver heads-up displays to surgeons. 

The benefit? Surgeons don't have to take their eyes off their patients during procedures to look around at video screens scattered around the operating room displaying the information they need. 

Surgeons can pull up important images such as CAT scans — and even transmit images of the operation in progress for teaching purposes — all while keeping their eyes on the task at hand."

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Detroit magnate Dan Gilbert is the new Forbes cover story

In its new cover feature, Forbes magazine has coined downtown Detroit "Gilbertville," a place that's now attracting the coveted Millenial generation to work downtown. This story on Dan Gilbert and his city empire makes for a fascinating read.

Excerpt:

"As you’ve likely heard, over the past four years Gilbert has become one of Detroit’s single-largest commercial landowners, renovating the city with the energy and impact of a modern-day Robert Moses, albeit bankrolled with his own money. He’s purchased and updated more than 60 properties downtown, at a total cost of $1.3 billion. He moved his own employees into many of them–12,000 in all, including 6,500 new hires–and cajoled other companies such as Chrysler, Microsoft and Twitter to follow. He recruited 140 tenants, though most are tiny startups and other entrepreneurs his venture firm helped finance.

His empire rests on luring the kind of young, educated, technologically savvy employees that every employer in the nation craves. To get them he must compete with the golden glow of places like Palo Alto and Manhattan. Gilbert’s genius is to see Detroit–the most dilapidated, forlorn urban environment in North America–not as a hindrance but rather as a unique opportunity to build the kind of place that Millennial workers crave: authentic, inspiring, edgy and cheap.

And it’s working. “We turned down 21,000 kids who raised their hands and said, ‘I want to work in downtown Detroit,’ ” says Gilbert, who got 22,000 résumés for 1,300 internships this summer. “ They were from everywhere. Of all the metrics you’re looking at, that’s the one that makes me the most optimistic."

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Rainbow Loom founder introduces travel-size Finger Loom bracelet maker

The founder of the surprise hit Rainbow Loom continues to keep his hands busy with his latest invention.

Excerpt:

"Cheong Choon Ng was trying to make rubber-band bracelets with his daughters four years ago when he realized his fingers were too big to manipulate the bands.

So, the automotive crash-test engineer set about creating a tool that would help him do the job — the Rainbow Loom.

Ng is aware the toy business is fickle and that the popularity of the Rainbow Loom could fade, which is why he’s introducing new products, such as the travel-size Finger Loom, which comes out Wednesday."

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Gourmet food-truck bandwagon rolls in Metro Detroit

From gourmet chicken fingers served in a waffle cone to "umami-bomb" BBQ brisket in Ferndale, metro Detroit is catching up to the rest of the nation's cities in terms of gourmet options on wheels.

Excerpt:

"We know, we know. Food trucks are so 2012, right? Tell that to the intrepid souls who decided this year to put meals on wheels, hoping against hope that mobile cuisine hasn't yet jumped the Detroit shark. Based on the entries we've encountered, there's no danger in that happening. After all, the trucks might be new, but the chefs behind them are, for the most part, veterans who understand the power of a good business plan and a full stomach.

Conveniently, although the calendar says that it's officially autumn, the climate has remained cooperative for those who like to dine al fresco. Whatever the weather, here are five new food trucks and trailers that you won't want to miss."

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"Homecoming" event spotlights Detroit's economic progress to the nation

Detroit showed itself off to advantage at a recent event attended by the nation's movers and shakers.

Excerpt:

"In May, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. said the bank would invest $100 million over the next five years in the city. Other companies, foundations and the state of Michigan pledged more than $800 million over 20 years to help protect the city-owned Detroit Institute of Arts from possible sale...

Residential vacancy in the city's downtown and midtown neighborhoods is low as office space has begun to fill up, driven in large measure by dozens of buildings acquired and renovated by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert. As part of the event Thursday, premium grocer  Whole Foods  said it was searching for a second location in the city after opening its first store last year.

"It's much better after the bankruptcy than before," investor  Warren Buffett  told an invitation-only crowd.

Last year, the chairman and chief executive of Omaha, Neb.-based  Berkshire Hathaway  said Detroit had huge potential for investors, saying he would be open to buying business in the city. On Thursday, he said in a staged conversation with Mr. Gilbert that he once considered buying the Ambassador Bridge that connects Detroit across its namesake river to Canada and wouldn't rule out future investments in the city."

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Macomb Comm. College to manage $2.7M Innovation Fund for entrepreneurs, start-ups

The funding pie is growing larger for Detroit-area entrepreneurs, especially those who agree to take on community-college students as interns.

Excerpt:

"Up to $100,000 will be made available to startup and emerging businesses in the Detroit area through the $2.7 million  Innovation Fund, part of  J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.'s  $100 million investment in the region.

According to a release from  Macomb Community College, which will manage the fund, grants of $25,000, which don't have to be repaid, will be awarded to startups "that are taking the initial steps to get their very early stage idea ready for market introduction."

In other cases, up to $100,000 will be made available to "advance the progress of emerging companies toward larger-scale equity funding." Those awards would have to be matched 100 percent by the company...

Companies that receive funding will be required to provide employment opportunities to MCC students through internships."

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"The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation" show to premiere on CBS

The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation show featuring thinkers and doers is set to premiere on CBS's Saturday morning lineup, beginning Sept. 27.

Excerpt:

"Hosted by Mo Rocca of CBS' "Sunday  Morning," will be a weekly celebration of the inventor’s spirit - from historic scientific pioneers throughout past centuries to the forward-looking visionaries of today. Each episode tells the dramatic stories behind the world’s greatest inventions - and the perseverance, passion and price required to bring them to life. Featuring the "what if it never happened," "the innovation by accident" and a strong focus on "junior geniuses" who are changing the face of technology, this series will appeal to young viewers and their families.


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