Md. Shahnoor Amin
What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
We're truly blessed to be affiliated with the University of Michigan's entrepreneurial activities and centers. Much of our mentorship, grants, and team members have come from U-M. We've won several business plan competitions and secured grants through various nationwide events.
Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
Our first customer was also U-M, which purchased our units and wanted to provide them as gifts to judges for the annual Clean Energy Prize competition.
Where did you find your first employee?
Our first employee happened to be a classmate, who graduated top of his class in electrical engineering during undergraduate studies, and had both the intense passion for helping people, and the in-depth creative and technical knowledge we look for among our fellow team members.
Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
Both interns that we've recruited already secured full-time positions with other companies before they officially graduated and joined us. So they've helped us because of our shared passions for making energy affordable, knowing they already had jobs.
Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
Primarily, we've always sought funding through university grants and programs. Later on, we pursued both external business plan competitions and venture capital investments.
What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about opening a business here?
Get tied to U-M. It's one of the best resources for starting a company. The university is willing to provide funding to fuel the idea, has experienced mentors who are passionate about entrepreneurship and have actually made companies successful before, and wiling to help in any way possible.
What could local leaders do to help attract and retain more entrepreneurial young people to Metro Detroit?
Provide access to manufacturing, have capital available to provide budding entrepreneurs to accelerate their ideas.