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Lihang Nong

What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
The University of Michigan has been invaluable to our success and progress thus far. We have access to a comprehensive library that was critical to the research that led to the development our patent-pending technology. We also have a superb organization called the Center for Entrepreneurship that organizes for-credit courses, trips, workshops, and competitions as well as connecting us with the right people to provide us with guidance along the way. We also make extensive use of a student lab at U-M, the Wilson Center, to develop our technology.

Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
So far, we have been operating on our own money and micro grants available from the University of Michigan. We also recently won second place at the Michigan Clean Energy Venture Challenge, which provided us with prize money that we are using to achieve our next milestone. We are also turning to Ann Arbor SPARK for additional funding.

Name an idea, policy or mindset from elsewhere that you would like to see this region adopt?
I moved here from Canada partially because of the great entrepreneurial spirit that the U.S. has, so I feel fortunate to be here. However, I think the U.S. should devote more resources on education and science and technology.

What could local leaders do to help attract and retain more entrepreneurial young people to Metro Detroit?
U-M is a very good school and can provide a lot of the talented entrepreneurs. By encouraging venture capitalists and angels to be established in the area will retain these talented people as well as draw talents from other areas.

What are some of the advantages to doing business here?
U-M does a really good job at encouraging young entrepreneurs to develop its ventures. There are also many manufacturers and automotive companies in the Midwest, so for a company focusing on hardware, we are close to a lot of the right people and organizations.

If you could change one thing about this region, what would it be?
The weather.

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