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SIB Medical Technologies leverages Accelerate Michigan win cash

SIB Medical Technologies took second place in the student portion of the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition last month.

It's a win that brought $15,000 in seed capital to the Wayne State University spin-out, among other things. The startup's co-founders made a large number of contacts at the event, which was held in downtown Detroit. Contacts that helped get the word out about the up-and-coming biotech firm.

"There was a marketing aspect as well," says Adham Aljahmi, co-founder & COO of SIB Medical Technologies.

The 1-year-old company is developing a medical device that its co-founders hope will become the simpler and cheaper option for colon-cancer screening that will eventually open the door for home screenings. The technology preserves tissue samples in a liquid solution rather than with heavy, bulky cryogenic materials. Check out a video explaining it here.

"Our device allows for a cleaner-and-simpler approach to collecting stool samples for testing," Aljahmi says. He and Sagor Bhuiyan, seniors at Wayne State University, created the technology. They have been working with TechTown and the Blackstone LaunchPad business incubator at Wayne State to develop the technology.

They are using the prize money from Accelerate Michigan a $5,000 grant from the Warrior Fund to launch a second pilot study next year.

"We hope to get it started by at least the beginning of the summer," Aljahmi says.

Source: Adham Aljahmi, co-founder & COO of SIB Medical Technologies
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Microcide aims to rid world of toxic-cleaning substances

Microcide, a clean-tech cleaning firm, is starting to make a name for itself and is aiming to become a household name in 2014.

The Midtown-based business, it calls the Metropolitan Center for High Technology home, made the semifinals of the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition this fall. It is also prepping to bump up its marketing efforts next year in an effort to scale it sales.

"We are selling to grocery stores and food processing companies," says John Lopes, president of Microcide.

Microcide makes nontoxic and environmentally safe microbicidal cleaning supplies for personal care, public health, food and agriculture industries. They range from non-toxic soaps to mouthwashes.

"We thought we could do it without adding extra toxins to the environment and help improve the health of people," Lopes says.

Microcide employs three people. It holds close to a dozen patents for its technologies. It is also looking at moving to a bigger space next year.

Source: John Lopes, president of Microcide
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

RoboTeleCop app aims to bust rogue telemarketers

Ever get a call from someone, or some machine, trying to sell you something, even though your number is on the Do Not Call List? A new startup in downtown Detroit thinks it might have an answer for you.

RoboTeleCop is creating a mobile app that goes after robocalls and telemarketers disturbing people on the Do Not Call List. Every time one of those people, or machines, calls a user of the app the call is logged and the caller flagged. The app then gives the aggregated information to a partnering law firm to go after the worst offenders in small claims court.

"The consumer would receive $100 to $300 for each violation," says Scott Kloustin, co-founder of RoboTeleCop.

The downtown Detroit-based startup, it calls Bamboo Detroit home, got its start at the most recent Detroit Startup Weekend. The company took second at the event where it built up a basic concept of the app. The handful of people working at the startup are working to build out Beta versions of the app for Android and iPhone.

"We're planning out how we're going to polish the app so it works on different devices," Kloustin says. "Hopefully, within 3-6 weeks it will be in the app store."

Source: Scott Kloustin, co-founder of RoboTeleCop
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Detroit Rising


The US city of Detroit has become a symbol of the global financial crisis – a once prosperous city, now in crisis with decaying buildings and rising poverty.

But there’s a group of committed micro-industrialists and artists with a do it yourself attitude, who are determined the old Motor City will bounce back from bankruptcy.

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Biz leaders at Adcraft event talk about collaborating in Detroit


Energetic. Full of opportunity. Optimistic. Motivated. Undiscovered.

These were the words used by five business and development leaders to describe Detroit during a discussion panel and luncheon hosted Thursday by the Adcraft Club of Detroit. The panel discussion also centered on a growing trend toward informal collaboration by businesses for recruitment and funding.

Built in Detroit: Shinola Heads for Europe

YOU MAY NOT have heard of Shinola, but you will—soon. It was set up in Detroit in 2010, a combination of Swiss machinery and know-how, and American verve. This juvenile watchmaking company is fast growing up, and is aiming to make an impact in Europe. Its first foothold, having crossed the Atlantic, is in Paris, and this month it can be found in Colette, at 213 rue Saint-Honoré.

It's a long way from Detroit, Michigan, to Paris, France—nearly 4,000 miles, to be a little more precise.

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This Is What Detroit Could Look Like In 2033 ... And Beyond


If you've never been to Detroit and only know what you see in the news, a story about the city's future could seem confusing.

Detroit is bankrupt. Blocks once filled by families are all but dormant, and major roads remain lined with shuttered buildings that used to be shops, restaurants, bars and factories.

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How a sweet potato bakery is helping revive Detroit


Detroit is the latest town named in the Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses initiative, and the local business Sweet Potato Sensations was selected for the program. Warren Buffett, Lloyd Blankfein, Gov. Rick Snyder and Espy Thomas, of Sweet Potato Sensations, discuss.

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The People of Detroit Rise from the Ashes


When Adam and I set out on this quest to find the happiest people in America, we thought interviewing a variety of people from various walks of life would lead us to some universal truths about happiness. Two weeks into our trip across the Northeast and Midwest, I can say for certain that this is true:

Every single person we’ve interviewed has expressed the exact same sentiment, “you’re going to Detroit to find happiness? Good luck!”

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Power lineman starts own firm, State Line Construction

For 25 years, Ernest Coger has worked as a journeyman lineman. That means when it comes to fixing power lines or streetlights or traffic signals, he was the guy who climbed up to the problem and solved it.

Over the years he watched a number of his friends and colleagues branch out, start their own businesses and enjoy the successes of owning their own business. That turned on the CFL over Coger's head.

"They gave me the same idea," Coger says.

That was the genesis of State Line Construction and Maintenance. The company based in northwest Detroit (Puritan and Greenfield) specializes in repairing and building out the infrastructure of power lines, streetlights and traffic signals. The firm got its start helping reconstruct the eastern seaboard after Hurricane Sandy.

That allowed Coger to add two more work trucks to his fleet, which currently stands at six vehicles. The minority-owned company currently employs two people but Coger expects to staff up to 15 within the next year as he works to land contracts with the likes of DTE Energy and the State of Michigan.

"There is a lot of work out here right now," Coger says. "There is a lot of opportunity. I feel like I can be part of it."

Source: Ernest Coger, owner of State Line Construction and Maintenance
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Bizdom ups seed capital opportunities up to $125K

Bizdom is upping the amount of seed capital it can give to startups by six figures. The downtown Detroit-based startup accelerator is offering the opportunity for a convertible note worth up to $100,000 to startups that have gone through its accelerator class.

"We feel if we can make a large commitment to these startups that increases the chances of growing them," says Maria LaLonde, recruiting & development leader for Bizdom.

Bizdom offers a three-month program to tech startups looking to scale a good idea into the next big thing in Detroit's new economy. Companies that enroll in the program receive $25,000 in seed capital in exchange for 8 percent equity in the company. The addition of the convertible note (a loan that comes with an option for equity) brings the total amount of seed capital a startup can leverage from Bizdom up to $125,000.

Bizdom is part of a Quicken Loans family of companies network. That means Bizdom startups have opportunities to leverage more seed capital through a deep pool of investors associated with Quicken Loans, along with opportunities for mentorship and team building.

Bizdom has five startups working through its current fall class and is taking applications for its winter class that starts early next year. To apply, click here. Bizdom, which has locations in Detroit and Cleveland, has 37 portfolio companies, including 21 in Detroit. All of the startups that have worked through the accelerator’s program and future startups have the opportunity to score up to $100,000 in a convertible note.

"We do have several companies that will be receiving that convertible note," LaLonde says.

Source: Maria LaLonde, recruiting & development leader for Bizdom
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Hello Innovation aims to hire 100 in Detroit

Hello Innovation is expanding in its office space in downtown Detroit to help accommodate its growth.

The self-described "disruptive design firm" (formerly Platinum Innovation Group) employs 50 of its 100 staff members in its offices near Greektown, 407 E Fort St. It is adding one floor of the structure to its offices and building out a design center.

"We are a very design-driven company," says Joe Joachim, founder & CEO of Hello Innovation. "We are also heavy on the engineering side."

Hello Innovation is made up of a number of other companies, including Funeral One and Hello+Aerial, which works in the aerial drone industruy. It has offices in India and Brazil. The firm is also looking to hire 100 people, ranging from software developers to producers. Hello Innovation moved from St. Clair (near Port Huron) last year to be part of downtown Detroit’s emerging tech scene.

"Being part of that story is something we want to be around," Joachim says.

Source: Joe Joachim, founder & CEO of Hello Innovation
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

The Fight to Save a Detroit-Area Urban Farm


Michael Davis moved to Hamtramck, Michigan, ten years ago and started fixing up a 100-year-old house to live in. "I like seeing the value in things and bringing that alive," says Davis, 37, who works in advertising.

Hamtramck is a little bit of an unusual case. Completely surrounded by the city of Detroit (except for a short piece of border with Highland Park, another municipal island within Detroit), it is the most densely settled city in Michigan, with a population that has grown to 22,000 in recent years. It was always home to a large Polish presence, and now it's also the state's most diverse city, with robust Albanian, Yemeni, and Bangladeshi clusters.

In Detroit, a little bus company survives and thrives


These are dark times for Detroit. Literally. Forty percent of its streetlights are broken. Seventy-eight thousand buildings have been burned or abandoned, and nearly that many bus riders in this bankrupt city are left to wonder when — or if — they'll get to work.

Vera Flemings plays that guessing game every day. Two buses had just passed her by when I wandered up; she was waiting for a third. It pulled up 15 minutes later.

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Activating A Renaissance: The Faces Of Detroit's Small Business Movement


This summer, billions in debt and with decades of mass population exodus behind it, Detroit made history as the largest city to file or Chapter 9 bankruptcy. In essence, the city, once the nation’s fourth most populous and known as the Paris of the Midwest for its glimmering Beaux-Arts structures and ubiquitous public art, was throwing up a white flag. Too many people needed money, and too few had stayed to help generate enough of it.

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