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Local Orbit

Ann Arbor, MI

Erika Block

Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
Simultaneous first customers found through business and personal networks.

Where did you find your first employee?
Referred by a colleague.

Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
Not yet. We will be looking for savvy, independent interns interested in food systems and web services in the fall and winter.

Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
Founders, angels, SPARK/LDFA micro-loan

What are some of the advantages to doing business here?
There is a robust entrepreneur support system - and a rapidly growing understanding of how seeding new businesses may be the most effective strategy for re-building the State's economy. There is easy access to the airport and short travel times to destinations throughout the country. Many lakes are within easy driving distance. You can take off for a couple of hours in the evening to swim or kayak and clear your head to get back to work.

What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about opening a business here?
Use the support system - it really makes a difference. You can take advantage of the surprise many non-Michiganders have when they learn how much interesting work people are doing here. Misperceptions offer marketing and tactical benefits.

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