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Accent Reduction Institute

410 N 4th Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Judy Ravin

What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
None. However, the Accent Reduction Institute is a sister company to Menlo Innovations. Rich Sheridan is CEO of Menlo Innovations and has been an invaluable mentor.

Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
Federal Mogul and GM Powertrain. Regarding Federal Mogul, I'd mailed a standard marketing document to 80 southeast Michigan corporations detailing the work we were doing and human resources picked up the phone and called. GM heard about the accent reduction work I was doing and they found me.

Where did you find your first employee?
Through networking. My first employee was recommended by another area business owner. She was fantastic.

Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
Twice. We provide an internship program for the University of Michigan's Dept of Linguistics and have hired on two of our interns as instructors. Both the university and our interns have been a wonderful resource. I believe this has been tremendously rewarding for all parties involved.

Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
We have been privately funded so far, but may look for sources of capital to help us bring to market some innovative new products.

What are some of the advantages to doing business here?
The tremendous "mind share" that takes place in southeast Michigan. Between our non-profit economic engines (Ann Arbor SPARK, Automation Alley, MEDC, etc.), university communities (too many to list), and business diversity (life sciences, automotive, manufacturing, hospitality, energy, IT, etc.), innovation and collaboration are virtually unlimited.

If you could change one thing about this region, what would it be?
Inter-city transportation. Collaboration, and easy access to other markets, breeds economic growth and I believe faster and more seamless transportation between southeast Michigan, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati would drive even greater sales. At the end of the day, and for many of us, sales still depend on creating positive relationships. There's nothing better for relationship building than face-to-face time.

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