What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
I, Elizabeth Redmond, founder of POWERleap
moved back to Michigan in 2009 to take advantage of the Ann Arbor SPARK
accelerator grant. We received $50,000 worth of services from business consulting group Augment Capital
.Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
Our first paying customer was FOX Broadcasting
in August 2010. We prepared a custom installation for their Green Carpet event at the Teen Choice Awards in Los Angeles. It was a one-day event and we provided full service from custom design to installation and deconstruction. All of our customers to date have found us. With our first-to-market position customers are finding us via press, the web and social media.Where did you find your first employee?
My first business partner I found by searching the web for similar research. He had done a similar project to mine at Duke in 2004. I emailed his professors and they put us in touch. Andrew now manages all business development for the company. My second business partner was a creative director at a global architect firm in Chicago. He invited me in to present POWERleap for a project they were working on. He got so inspired that he spent time helping us develop other projects. He is now with us part-time as our project manager and director of global brand.Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
Not yet, but we have some promising prospects.Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
We recently raised $125,000 of family and friends to apply to the Ann Arbor SPARK-run Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund
. Our original application was rejected but we hope to resubmit within the coming months with hopeful positive result.What could local leaders do to help attract and retain more entrepreneurial young people to Metro Detroit?
If I've ever learned anything it is that your network is everything. When Local Leaders make their connections and their expertise available, that is an invaluable resource. There is nothing like a personal introduction to powerful city leader or business owner that I, as an entrepreneur, need to meet.What do you see in Metro Detroit that other people who live outside the area don't?
There is a ton of creative energy. People of my generation appreciate cities with an identity. The type of people in Detroit appreciate what Detroit has been and what it can be. A good majority of the people living in the area have a purpose and that purpose is establishing a new social and enterprise fabric for the city. I'm excited about the coming decades for the city and the metro area.