| Follow Us:

In the News

1386 Articles | Page: | Show All

Former entrepreneur joins SPARK to assist new startups

Though it meant a pay cut, entrepreneur Bill Mayer has settled in as the vice president of entrepreneur services at Ann Arbor SPARK. The Freep chatted with him about his job.


Q: OK. Let's say, I'm just a guy who just got laid off from the line, and I decide I have the next best product, next great idea — and I want to start my own business. How do I build my network and surround myself with smart people?
A: Well, so that's why places like SPARK, TechTown and Automation Alley exist. They tend to be hubs for entrepreneurial activity. If you are an entrepreneur, like entrepreneurship, you are kind-of a tech junkie, you work for a start-up, you just want to see what this entrepreneurship is all about, come to a SPARK event. There are like-minded people here. If we have have 100 people at an event, and you don't walk away with 15 business cards, it's bad on you. We try to make it easy. And in the Midwest, we tend to be a pretty friendly bunch. One person will introduce you to three, each of those people will introduce you to three more.

Read the rest here.

Ann Arbor among best cities for global trade

No, not because there are big plans to turn the Huron River into a water trade route. Those days are long gone. It's our proximity to influential universities that makes us a contender. 


"Think of this as a collection of helpful tips. We think you should consider these cities when looking, for instance, for a great business environment, a well-educated or skilled workforce, a globally minded city or assistance with your site-selection process."

Read the lists here.

Ann Arbor sixth grader stars in Ukraine's top film choice

It's not every day that an eleven year old Ann Arbor kid gets a leading role in a feature film. Rarer still is the kid who gets cast in an Ukrainian film. But it must be winning the lottery kind of numbers to end up in a foreign film that's been submitted for consideration for the 2015 Oscar for Best Foreign Language flick. Local sixth grader Anton Sviatoslav Greene hit all three.


"Anton's chance to star in a foreign film came about quite unexpectedly. But his determination to succeed at acting didn't surprise his parents, Arthur Greene, a University of Michigan music professor with Ukrainian heritage, and Solomia Soroka, a Goshen College music professor and native of Ukraine.

Soroka found out about the casting call through an e-mail from a friend in Toronto. Not really expecting anything to come of it, the family sent a video made with an iPad of Anton reading poems and playing the piano."

The movie already played at the Michigan Theater but we still think it's awfully cool.

Read the rest here.

Why the complete street concept is important to downtowns

It's amazing what one image can convey. When thinking about our downtowns it can be shocking to realize just how much real estate we sacrifice to automobiles. Swedish artist Karl Jirg makes how little space we afford pedestrians (in our supposedly most walkable neighborhoods) to cars.


"Jirg’s image shows a pedestrian crossing an intersection, but instead of a crosswalk, the walker is on a plank of wood;instead of providing safe passage in front of cars, the plank spans a rather deep looking chasm. On a nearby sidewalk, you see pedestrians sharing a narrow space between buildings and the ominous hole. A small child tugging at a woman’s hand to run ahead toward the intersection takes on a new sense of danger considering the abyss just a wrong step away."

See and read the rest here.

Ann Arbor and DTE team to build solar farm at the airport

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? The venerable mostly coal-dependent energy company DTE has decided to partner with Tree Town to build a roughly 10-acre solar array out at the Ann Arbor airport.


"DTE spokesman Scott Simons says the solar array would be a continuation of the utility’s Solar Currents program and would help Detroit-based DTE meet the state’s renewable energy standards. Simons says most of its renewable energy is coming from wind power.

Simons says power would go directly to the grid and would produce enough energy to power about 150 homes."

Read the rest here.

Ann Arbor has more VC per capita than Silicon Valley

Guy Turner of Hyde Park Ventures makes a startling discovery: that Ann Arbor is attracting an impressive amount of venture capital for its mid-stage companies. Possibly, the highest per capita in the nation.


"Ann Arbor is one of the most concentrated pockets of talent, thought leadership and willingness to take risk in the country. This is what happens when a world renowned university draws talented students and their spouses/partners into its gravity… and then often retains graduates locally who love the smart but quaint college town life. Four of the five most active venture markets outside of the Bay Area are college towns"

Read the rest here.

New York Philharmonic partners with UMS for 5 year Ann Arbor residency

Concerts, classes and workshops are part of a five year Ann Arbor residency for one of the nation's premiere orchestras. 


"The University Musical Society announced today a five-year residency partnership that will bring the New York Philharmonic to Ann Arbor for three extended appearances between 2015 and 2020. The residencies, underwritten by a seven-figure donation to UMS, will include multiple concerts each year, master classes and workshops for students and a range of public activities designed to connect the orchestra with the community in southeastern Michigan."

Read the rest here.

Millennials look to invest with social purpose

Along with all the other labels that get affixed to millennials how about socially responsible? As in, putting their values and ethics where their money is.


"That has investment firms in the sector ecstatic about their growth prospects as millennials enter their prime saving and investing years, and potentially inherit trillions of dollars from grandparents and parents. Some even see a new style of "caring capitalism" emerging to reverse the global trend of income and wealthy inequality.

Nydia Cardenas, a 28-year-old MBA student at the University of Michigan, believes that Wall Street needs a makeover.

"I feel like the system is set up to breed greed," she said. "But I think finance can be used in a really positive way to transform society."

Read the rest here.

U-M helps entrepreneurs develop a better eye dropper

With an assist from UM3D Lab’s Cube printers, Dr. David Lorch and Dr. Marius Tijunelis developed a clever eye dropper guide. 


"During a fellowship at the University of Michigan Medial Center, David Lorch and his partners searched for problems that patients regularly face.

The fellowship was designed to teach the entrepreneurial process along the way, leading towards the invention of DROPin, a new and easier way for patients to distribute eye drops."

Read the rest here.

Forbes puts Ann Arbor's Rich Sheridan in the spotlight

Imagine: treat your workers like real, valuable human beings and seek to inspire them and your business will not only succeed, you'll be heralded as a workplace genius.

Question #4 is probably the best of the lot.


"One yellow sign in his office reads, “Caution: Babies and Dog Crossing.” That’s because Menlo allows workers to bring their dogs and newborns to the office. Dogs are allowed because, “Quite frankly, we think it adds to the joy,” Sheridan says. “There’s something about those 4-legged, furry creates that brings out a smile in everybody.” Babies are allowed because 7 years ago, one worker named Traci didn’t have day care options or family nearby to help watch her daughter after the typical 3-month maternity leave. Sheridan told her, “Just bring her in to work.” So Traci brought Maggie in to the office all day, every day for four months. “It was such a wonderful experience,” Sheridan says. So eight other babies have joined the firm in the last 7 years and the office awaits two new babies right now, who will be joining “Menlo dads” in the office soon."

Read the rest here.

India now Dominos Pizza's second biggest market

Man cannot live by vindaloo and tandoori alone. Sometimes there must also be cheap pizza.


"India now has an insatiable appetite for pizzas. And, Domino’s is riding high on the subcontinent’s love for fast food.

India is now the American pizza maker’s second biggest market, the Economic Times newspaper reported today. It has 818 Domino’s Pizza restaurants, the second highest in the world."

Read the rest here.

Ann Arbor needs the rest of Michigan more than it thinks (and vice versa)

Here's a convincing argument for why Michigan's varied and silted business communities should find more -eek, we're going to say it - synergy… or common ground.


"The story in Ann Arbor is completely different. Despite its proximity to Detroit, Ann Arbor does not depend on the same massive companies. With the University of Michigan as an intellectual, cultural, and financial hub, the industry is knowledge and the spirit is an entrepreneurial one: people don’t depend on pre-existing companies—they start new ones. Consider the fact that the founders of Google and Groupon, and dozens of other successful new economy entrepreneurs, got their start in Ann Arbor.

The thing about Ann Arbor, though, is that all this start-up energy and growth is unsustainable. The people who start new companies don’t stay in Ann Arbor. They move elsewhere, to places where they can get the capital they need to quickly grow."

Read the rest here.

The art of the nap

Don't you wish more local firms emulated U-M's recognition that naps could do wonders for productivity?


"And more and more people are doing just that. Companies like Google, Ben & Jerry’s and Proctor and Gamble encourage employees to take nap breaks. The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is one of several colleges to set up rooms for napping. (Located in the school’s library, UM’s nap station is equipped with vinyl cots, disposable pillowcases, and a 30-minute time limit.) And Barclays PLC, a global financial group, got some unwanted publicity last year, when the Wall Street Journal revealed that exhausted interns were slipping into stalls to take “toilet naps,” using their phones as an alarm. And then there’s Google Naps, a parody of Google Maps, which can tell you the best places in your city to catch a few winks—from libraries to park benches."

Read the rest here.

U-M moves to #6 for most students studying abroad

The University of Michigan moved from 10th to 6th in the rank of higher education institutions with the most students studying abroad between 2012 ans 2013. This represented a 15-percent increase, with 2, 365 students studying overseas (for academic credit)

On the flipside, U-M dropped three ranks for schools that host international students.

You can check out all the stats here. Kind of like baseball, ain't it?


Lansing and Ann Arbor, economic rivals as well?

Oh, how the mighty might fall. Not only is U-M's football in decline, overshadowed by the green and white, Ann Arbor may soon see its economic dominance eclipsed by Lansing as well.


"But if growth trends continue, perhaps Lansing is poised to take the lead here as well after trailing Ann Arbor for 13 years.

In the Lansing region, which includes Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties, GDP grew by 2.4 percent in 2013 over the previous year, with more growth expected from a series of recent plant investments by General Motors. But in the Ann Arbor region, which includes Washtenaw County, 2013 growth was an anemic .7 percent."

Read the rest here.
1386 Articles | Page: | Show All
Share this page
Signup for Email Alerts