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Michael Johnson

What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
Our company is a spin-out of the Medical Innovation Center at the University of Michigan. The MIC fellowship program allows a postgraduate team in medicine, engineering and business to identify unmet clinical needs and develop a solution. Our team has worked closely with the University of Michigan Health System, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, College of Engineering, and U-M Office of Technology Transfer. We have received support from Ann Arbor SPARK and we’ll be participating in SPARK’s Entrepreneur Boot Camp. We are now working with Biotechnology Business Consultants in Ann Arbor. We also participated in the Michigan Business Challenge hosted by the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at Ross.

Name an idea, policy or mindset from elsewhere that you would like to see this region adopt?
We would love to see additional sources of early stage funding come to Michigan to support start-up companies. There are great resources and professionals passionate about entrepreneurship in Ann Arbor including Ann Arbor SPARK and the MIC’s Concept to Commercialization Program. Increased funding options, including innovative funding/networking firms like some developed in Silicon Valley, could be great for our region.

What could local leaders do to help attract and retain more entrepreneurial young people to Metro Detroit?
We have been excited to see an increasing emphasis on entrepreneurship and multidisciplinary programs at U of M and across local university campuses. Community support for these programs will help emerging businesses and entrepreneurs stay here. Programs like the Michigan Universities Commercialization Initiative and Michigan Emerging Technologies Fund offer important support for entrepreneurs.

Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
The Medical Innovation Center fellowship allowed the launch of our company. We received support for company formation from Ann Arbor SPARK and we were awarded funds from Zell Lurie though the Michigan Business Challenge. We are applying for grant funding and we are currently seeking equity investment to fund company development.

What are some of the advantages to doing business here?
Our company started at the Medical Innovation Center at the University of Michigan Health System, one of the top research institutions in the world. We have had incredible access across disciplines on the U of M campus. Ann Arbor has a vibrant intellectual and entrepreneurial community with a passion for bringing ideas to market.

If you could change one thing about this region, what would it be?
We would continue to grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Our experience has been great and there are outstanding people and opportunities here. We’re thrilled to see several new programs devoted to entrepreneurship and multidisciplinary efforts.

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