October 3, 2014
University of Michigan-Flint

Symposium Highlights

Panel 1 

We heard from panelists about some new ideas around entrepreneurship – fhow to teach it, learn it, and do it.

Innovation in Education, UM-Flint

We seldom ask educators to look and ask “why”. That is what iiE does, it is a network for those exploring technology and learning interactions. It is a virtual incubator. Our educators do things outside of the margins and outside of their schools. Outcome is how you do a test or assessment; entrepreneurship is more like a game. How to assess someone’s work when you don’t know what you want them to do? Trust is required. That can look wishy washy, not rigorous. What we need is to change ideas about outcome of educational systems. - Jeff Kupperman

Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative

Our cities have unique challenges and opportunities that can be solved by entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs start with a problem in a community and find solutions that are profitable and sustainable. - David W. Tarver

Entrepreneurship in the Curriculum, Kettering University

We are teaching the entrepreneurial mindset and the importance of “hurry up and fail.” The challenge for engineers is explaining the economic and social value of their invention. We’ve seen the old mindset of “I need a really good job” transform to “I need to define the world for me and make it better.” - Massoud Tavakoli

Our educators and engineers are really good at identifying problems but not at asking why the problem exists or how it can be solved. That is where the entrepreneur and entrepreneurial thinking is beneficial, to understand and define the problem and determine a solution.

Lunch Discussion and Activity

The Michigan Business Incubator Association recently hosted a networking hour at the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition in Detroit, stay tuned for the next event!

What is there to gain from an incubator network?

  • Find common solutions
  • Bring realism about funding and resources
  • With a network we can share ideas, resources and learn from one another success and failure
  • Each define mission and a way to move business creation forward
  • Leverage assets, resources, and knowledge across a broader region based on specific expertise in each community

What role(s) should network have?

  • Quarterly meetings that bring the network together
  • Facilitate networking and idea exchange
  • Connect entrepreneurs to each network
  • Support/ Calendar Events of network partners

How would that role be realized?

  • Understand how start-ups buy services then negotiate with providers
  • Attract SME’s from outside as well as inside area
  • A collaboration of resources that offer business conference for the millennial generation (20s)
  • Webinars brought by incubators from all over world. Adds diversity

Panel 2

We also learned the “what and how” of measuring success from some local Michigan incubators

Spartan Innovations, Michigan State University

This incubator focuses on technology innovations. It is moving to charging a monthly fee for offices on a sliding scale and offers space to graduates. 31 businesses are affiliated with the incubator, and they have won $210,000 in competitions over the past two years. Spartan Innovations has no stake in the businesses; it is funded by an endowment.--Paul Jaques

MMIC, Mid- Michigan Innovation Center, Midland

Started by the MEDC in 2005 as a place to move tech forward, and now this incubator is mainly virtual, with 50+ members. They work through access to capital, access to talent and access to commercialization. They promote a “fail fast’ mentality, with monthly reporting required, and place a high value on coachability. “We are a business and have to be sustainable.” - Chris Moultrip

Michigan Incubator Association

The 70 members of the Michigan Incubator Association have provided entrepreneurs support since 1984. They host Accelerate Michigan, held in November. It is funded by Dow.– Chris Moultrip

TechTown Detroit

Success is measured in varied ways from sales growth, capital formation, jobs created, intellectual property, and fail fast mentality. The processes vary across incubators for accepting clients. Financial and human resources are needed both by incubators and the incubator clients. Sustainability of incubators is most challenging. University-based incubators may focus on alumni for support while community-based focus on various grants and user-fees for revenue. Our impact is measured ultimately by the number of jobs and the number of good paying jobs with benefits that are created. “We talk about partners; we want to be known as easy to collaborate and partner with.”-- Mike O’Rourke


University Outreach Innovation Incubator programming is made possible by a grant from the C. S. Mott Foundation.