What could local leaders do to help attract and retain more entrepreneurial young people to Metro Detroit?
In order to emulate the cluster effect of Silicon Valley or even the car industry of Michigan, it is really important for local leaders in Metro Detroit to help create an atmosphere for all these new technology startups to thrive. This effort could include networking events for young entrepreneurs and the industry, mentoring programs, more opportunities to apply for grant money, local media promotion for start-ups, etc. We need to work hard in the beginning, and once the cluster effect is visible, more and more resources will come.
What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
PiezoPowerTech is a spin-off company from a laboratory in Wayne State University
. The company founders are actually doctorate students in the lab who worked on these ideas for years. The event that turned this work from a research project into commercialized product was a local competition, Michigan Clean Energy Venture Challenge
, this year, which was funded by local companies such as DTE Energy
. It was the first time we brought our technology to the showroom, which aroused a lot of attention from the industry. As the winning team, we were also rewarded with a $50,000 grand prize to help the company begin. The mentoring and networking we received during this event is also very valuable.
Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
Our company is very much a new born at this point. The first financial support for the company is the grand prize money from Michigan Clean Energy Venture Challenge. We are in the process of approaching local and national venture capitals to further fund our company. Also, we are looking for funding opportunities from Detroit renaissance program funding as well as funding from potential collaborating partners.
What are some of the advantages to doing business here?
Since one of the potential markets our company targeting is the car industry, Metro Detroit would be a very suitable place for us to launch our business.
If you could change one thing about this region, what would it be?
I would like to see more diversity in the industry in Michigan which makes new technology easier to thrive.