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Entrepreneurship

Catherine Juon and Linda Girard of Pure Visibility
Catherine Juon and Linda Girard of Pure Visibility
As start-up central, Washtenaw County is the face of things to come in Michigan. Whether its biotech companies like Ann Arbor's QuatRx, Cerenis, or HandyLab, the alternative energy innovations of Danotek and Adaptive Materials,  Internet gurus like SpamStopsHere and Pure Visibility, or the Jolly Pumpkin microbrewers of Dexter, economic pioneers are reshaping the state's business landscape.

You can't stop them, so why not join them?

Entrepreneurship Features

From cart to cafe: The evolution of two local food trucks

Though the local food cart movement still remains confined to Mark's Carts in Ann Arbor, that enterprise has seeded the city with two successful brick and mortar businesses: The Lunch Room and eat. Concentrate gets the skinny on how these food entrepreneurs made the leap from cart to café.

Cool Jobs: Nathan Hukill, micro-microbrewer

Good things come in small packages. Or, in this case, batches. Meet Nathan Hukill, who has turned a part-time hobby into a full-time gig, making limited barrel runs under his microbrew moniker, Bitter Old Fecker Rustic Ales.

Cool Jobs: Sharon Que, sculptor and violin restorer

Vibrant communities allow for creative reinvention. Case in point: Ann Arborite Sharon Que. A former model-maker at General Motors, Que decided to leave the auto industry and learn the art of violin restoration. Seven years later she's got her own studio, and a reputation as both a top notch restorer and sculptor.

Chelsea Alehouse, a year of lessons

The first year can be tough for any business owner. It's an opportunity to understand who your customers are and what they want. It's also the time where many businesses sink or swim. Concentrate checks in with Chris Martinson about what he's learned about running the Chelsea Alehouse ...and the local brewery scene in general.

Olark, Breaking the Silicon Valley Mold

Olark is a Silicon Valley-style startup that didn't raise venture capital, isn't run by Stanford and MIT grads, calls Ann Arbor its home and has employees scattered across the country... heck, the globe. And yet it's grown exponentially over the last three years. How does it do it? Funny you should ask...
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Entrepreneurship Blogs

Bena Burda

Call the term "taking ownership" a cliché, but that's literally what's in the works at some local businesses. This week, Maggie's Organics founder Bená Burda writes about forming 100% worker-owned co-operatives, from Nicaragua to North Carolina to Michigan.

Moses Lee

Since its inception, TechArb, U-M's student start-up accelerator, has put $5 million into 97 student-run ventures. Moses Lee, co-founder of truApp and director of TechArb, writes about recruiting college students and this summer's crop of student entrepreneurs.

Ingrid Ault

Is it worth paying a 6% sales tax to keep jobs in Michigan and build vibrant downtowns? Ingrid Ault, executive director of Think Local First, writes a series on how to not just talk local, but how to live local.

Justin Fenwick

Justin Fenwick, community manager of the Arts Alliance, defines art as the artwork itself and also the process of starting something. This week Justin gives the shout-out to Creative Hybrids, a local class of artisan entrepreneurs who form collectives or set up an L3C, a type of enterprise combining business and social mission.

Larry Eiler

Back in 2001 Larry Eiler, CEO of Eiler Communications and director of the Small Business Association of Michigan, wrote an essay comparing our entrepreneurial landscape with Silicon Valley. Needless to say Michigan came up lacking. Boy, what a difference 10 years makes. In this week's guest blog Larry updates his assessment and finds more than a few encouraging trends.
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Entrepreneurship Videos

The Care & Feeding of Student Entrepreneurs

U-M's TechArb is a renowned student start-up incubator that helps nourish the Ann Arbor entrepreneurial ecosystem. At our last speaker event, they not only gave us the skinny on how it works, but had a trio of studentpreneurs pitch their up and coming companies to the audience. Check out the video.

The Art Of The Tale: Stories from Entre-SLAM

At Concentrate's last speaker event local entrepreneurs weighed in on how they put their dent in the universe. It was an Entre-SLAM sampler that awarded pickles, Pez, and cold hard cash to the best tales told. Check it out.

Ann Arbor's Food Cart Culture

The weather was perfect, the beverages were flowing, and the conversation was spirited at October's speaker event on food cart culture at Bill's Beer Garden. From economic costs to health codes to business opposition to entrepreneurial opportunity, a panel of experts discussed this exciting dining trend and what it might mean for Ann Arbor and communities around the region. Check out the video.

Start-up 101: Mentoring new U-M businesses

Sometimes a little guidance goes a long way. U-M's Tech Transfer office, along with its new Michigan Venture Center, have started a mentorship program that turns technologists into entrepreneurs. As a result they expect to see a 20% bump in start-up launches.

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

  From its gorgeous painted labels to its crafted oak barrel flavors, Dexter's Jolly Pumpkin Ales is all about bringing an artist's touch to brewing. It's an approach that's winning them fans (and awards) all across the nation, and has, of course, inspired one of A2's most popular brewpubs.
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