RealKidz CEO receives Pioneer Spirit Award

RealKidz is the first company to provide a complete line of clothing to plus-size girls between the ages of 5-12, which will eventually include an online social network for the parents of these children. RealKidz is a Direct Selling company that markets its clothing through a network of independent style consultants who hold Home Fashion Parties for girls ages 5-12. While the company's focus is on serving the plus-size market, it provides fashionable, age-appropriate clothing for all shapes and sizes of girls through its home parties.

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Another Successful Boot Camp

Despite our extensive experience, we got a tremendous amount of knowledge, insight and constructive feedback from the drill instructors, mentors and speakers who conducted the BOOT CAMP program along with our fellow campers. ( there are always opportunities to sharpen your skills and increase your knowledge) The BOOT CAMP has forced our team to focus our efforts more clearly on the launch of our new spin off company Nanomag LLC. Another benefit of the camp is some great networking opportunities with both current and past BOOT CAMPERS that we continue to foster and follow up on. The quality of the program in terms of content and the expertise of the instructors are exceptional. We are very fortunate to have SPARK and it’s extensive support programs available to entrepreneurs in the Ann Arbor area. We will definitely take full advantage of SPARK’s assistance as we continue on our journey to sustainable commercial success as a new company. Steve

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New Michigan Loan Program for ‘Nearly’ Bankable Companies

Typically, lenders underwrite using historical cash flows from a firm’s traditional business to calculate debt service coverage ratios, while “factoring down” projected cash flows of potential new projects as “too speculative.” This practice impedes the ability of businesses to diversify, especially during a slow economy. The Michigan Loan Participation Program (MLPP) was designed to address this obstacle.

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Three Michigan Companies Expand in Ann Arbor

Three Ann Arbor-based companies are planning to expand in the region with support from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Velesco Pharmaceutical Services, CAS-MI Laboratories and Essen Instruments were all approved today for MEGA tax credits from the State of Michigan. “It is exciting news and a testament to the strong entrepreneurial culture supported in the …

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Three Ann Arbor Companies Receive Support From Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund

Three more Michigan start-up companies have received investments from the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund.  To date, 34 Michigan companies have received critical seed funding through the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, a collaborative effort of Michigan’s 15 SmartZones. •    White Pine Systems, sponsored by Ann Arbor SPARK, received $225,000.  White Pine Systems is an internet-based medical …

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Welcome to the SPARK East Open House

SPARK East is hosting its official open house. This business incubator blends affordable office space, essential business services and business development guidance to new businesses. SPARK East is the third business incubator in SPARK’s Regional Incubator Network.  Our other incubators include the Michigan Life Science Innovation Center north of downtown Ann Arbor and SPARK Center, …

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MI Pre-seed Capital Fund changes announced

The state of Michigan, through the 21st Century Jobs Fund, has re-capitalized the Michigan Pre-seed Capital Fund.  The award of $6.8 million was approved by the SEIC board in March.   There are two significant changes affecting distribution of this new money.  One is the match for an investment is lowered to one-half to one. …

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MEDC Provides More $ for Support Services

The MEDC announced today that four non-profit organizations that support entrepreneurial activities in Michigan will receive $250,000 each for the next two years to keep doing what they do.  The four organizations are Automation Alley, Biotechnology Business Consultants, Great Lakes Entrepreneurs Quest and M-Tech.  Watch for the press release tomorrow.  We are particularly glad to …

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Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund Re-Funded

The SEIC Board yesterday (3/25/09) approved the proposal from Ann Arbor SPARK for the new $6.8 million pre-seed fund.  The new money comes from the unused dollars in the 2006 21st Century Jobs Fund competition.  These funds will be added to the current pre-seed fund which was nearly dry.  30 investments were made from the original funding in …

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SPARK Boot Camp – A Camper’s Retrospective

Sharpened focus, expanded network and accelerated execution. Everyone with a business idea loves to talk about it.  They talk and talk!  Few actually take action. At the beginning of 2008 Dylan Imre and I came up with the idea of creating a business around software for prediction markets.  One of the earliest actions we took  …

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Getting the Strategy Right

Business in a fiercely competitive world demands focusing on an area where battles can be won. The right strategy and people makes winning those battles possible. Ann Arbor SPARK has developed many educational programs which are geared to helping entrepreneurs launch and grow their business. Entrepreneurs  Boot Camp, now in its fifteenth session is an …

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Entrepreneur Boot Camp Applications Available

Ann Arbor SPARK’s Business Accelerator is now accepting applications for its next Entrepreneur Boot Camp, scheduled April 23-24. Teams interested in participating in the two-day business planning and preparation event must submit applications by March 30, 2009. For more info, check out http://www.annarborusa.org/start-ups/boot-camp/

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