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Impact Everyday

201 S. Division St
TechArb Startup Accelerator, 4th Floor, Google Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Adam Carver

What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
I am a graduate student at the University of Michigan's Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, a dual-degree program spanning the Ross School of Business and School of Natural Resources. The Ross School offers numerous development programs and learning opportunities through the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurship and student-led Entrepreneur & Venture club. Equally, U-M has a Center for Entrepreneurship located at the College of Engineering. Specific programming I've participated in includes the Michigan Business Challenge, TechArb Student Startup Accelerator, New York and San Francisco entrepreneurial treks, a trip to Austin, Texas for South by Southwest. Outside of the school I've participated in events hosted by the Tech Brewery in Ann Arbor, such as A2 New Tech.

Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
We are pre-revenue so we've yet to figure that out. However, the two leading candidates are my mother and my lawyer each who each seem pretty adamant about being first customer.

Where did you find your first employee?
He is a graduate student at U-M School of Information, Aditya Bhandari. I heard of Adi's involvement in a group called School of Information Social Innovation and pinged him to gauge his interest. It took me about 1.5 months of charm and coffee to convince him to come aboard.

Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
Not yet. Our interns are undergraduates.

Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
Organizations affiliated with the university are typically the first place to turn. I have only applied to one internal venture fund, the Social Venture Fund, and did not get funded, but I don't think they know what they're doing. Aside from that, although I've been unofficially assured there would be money for Impact Everyday were I to seek it, I haven't yet. For me money is a commodity. What's important at this stage is to find the right investors who will be my partners, mentors and business associates. That's the challenge.

What is one thing Michigan does better or has going for it that other more successful regional economies don't?
I am not a Michigan native and so I say this with the utmost admiration: the "Go Blue" Michigan network to me is the state (or region's) greatest asset. Equally, it is the one they don't tap nearly enough. Anyone who has attended U-M or been associated with a student here goes bananas for the Wolverines. I've been all over the world - Amsterdam, Austin, Iceland, Ft Lauderdale, LA, NY... and heard "Go Blue!" shouted at me from passerbys. The network is one juggernaut of a powerful asset just waiting to be unleashed for the right startup idea.

What could local leaders do to help attract and retain more entrepreneurial young people to Metro Detroit?
Again, I'm not a Michigander and yet I really do like Michigan. I'd stay here if I had a reason to. I could theorize what those conditions would be, but truthfully my decision would be subject to other factors, some spontaneous and some not. As a founder of an entrepreneurial and environmentally conscious company, however, this state would have to prove its leadership in the social domain. It would need to participate and show conviction in endeavors that are close to my heart, such as they do on the coasts. Michigan isn't a hyper-liberal state but the entrepreneurial young people who come here to study, graduate and leave are more liberal. If the lifestyle in Detroit or southeast Michigan doesn't match the lifestyle I wish to lead there is nothing local leaders could do to make me want to create a life here.

Name an idea, policy or mindset from elsewhere that you would like to see this region adopt?
The incentive regime for clean energy sucks in Michigan. Sucks. And yet the state has the second largest capacity for wind development in the country along with the industrial capacity to build the turbines and a skilled and motivated workforce. What it lacks is political conviction. For Michigan to attract me as an entrepreneur and businessman, the state would need to put its money where its mouth is and be a center of gravity for renewable energy.

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