What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
None. We're completely independent of all government programs for a reason. Our independence allows us to be flexible and innovative.Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
Our first customer was Mike Kuzniar of Promote. He's a print broker, one of the best.Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
We've sourced all of our capital from our members. We collected rent payments from everyone before signing our lease on the building. They relied on us and our promise and it worked out great for everyone involved. We roll any profits we make right back into improving the building and providing better services.It's often said that Metro Detroit and Michigan need to reinvent their economies to be competitive. Are we making those changes, and if so are we making enough of them or doing it fast enough?
We're changing at a breakneck pace compared to other cities in the same situation. It's impossible to compare municipalities as they're all very different, but enough of the right people are moving here as fast as they can to take advantage and help shape the new city we're building from old.What could local leaders do to help attract and retain more entrepreneurial young people to Metro Detroit?
Detroit simply needs to continue cutting red tape and allowing creative entrepreneurs to do what they do best: Come up with crazy new ideas and give them a shot in the big world. The less Detroit stands in the way of innovation, the quicker we'll all prosper. We don't expect Detroit, Michigan or the Feds to fund any of these ideas; just allow us the freedom to do so. And a tax break wouldn't hurt every now and again.What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about opening a business here?
Do it and do it immediately. The axiom states, "More millionaires were made in the Great Depression than any other period in time," and we're definitely depressed financially here. Now, that doesn't mean you shouldn't do your homework. Any business, anywhere, especially here, needs careful thought and research into the good or service you're trying to provide. Is there a market for it? Can and will people pay what you need to make it plus the money you need to live off? Ideas almost always taste good on paper, but take a while to think out your concept because you only get one good go at it.