Do you know what is cool? Coolhouse labs is cool. Another one of my favorite things, a business incubator/accelerator, Coolhouse labs is located in harbor springs and is now offering applications for their summer program. Lets be real, who wouldn’t want to spend the summer developing their business literally blocks away from lake Michigan. As showcased in their snazzy video, Coolhouse labs has an impressive office that only adds to the superficial appeal of the incubator. Aesthetics aside, Coolhouse labs is a robust incubator that has many resources to offer it’s tenant’s. Every summer, Coolhouse labs invites 5-10 tech startups to take part in their accelerator program. A large emphasis is placed on mentoring during the 12 week program. A big advantage of Coolhosue labs is the small program size. Each of the 5-10 start ups will enjoy the personalized guidance from the Coolhouse labs staff that will help them to build their business through networking, analysis, much feedback, and of course, a little luck. No one starts a business on their own and Coolhouse Labs wants to be there for you so you don’t have to. The $25,000 in seed funding should help you out a bit too. Applications can be submitted for this summer’s program from now until March 14th. more details on how to register can be found here. The selection process will go from April 1st to May 15th. The start date for the accelerator is June 9th. The program’s finale is the pitch day following the twelve weeks of “summer camp for entrepreneurs” where each Start-up will present their work and pitch their ideas to a room full of investors. Pretty cool eh?
We’ve covered incubators before, specifically, the University of Michigan’s Incubator in Flint. I always enjoy hearing about new incubators, which seems to be happening more and more regularly as of late. Incubators are popping up left and right to cater to all of the different business areas that you may find yourself entering as an entrepreneur. One Incubator that caught my eye was Junction 440, Techtown’s most recent addition to their collection of business resources. Junction 440 is new, exciting, and most importantly, extremely valuable to those of you who need to rent office space to conduct your business.
Sporting an awesome looking, Google-Esq. open floor-plan, plenty of rooms to invite your clients to, and in-office bike racks, this incubation space will satisfy the needs of many entrepreneurs. This is a fully equipped office space so you can expect the basic amenities that the modern office worker enjoys; freshly brewed coffee, printers, scanners, and Wi-Fi just to name a few. All of this is brought to you at pricing designed to fit into a small business’ limited budget. Multiple pricing plans are available based on your resource needs and your planned frequency of use. You can purchase day passes if you need to wow some clients for a meeting or, if like me, you find it hard concentrating at home and you need a more regular place to conduct business, monthly plans are available.
The University of Michigan- Flint campus is larger than just faculty, staff, and classrooms. The campus stretches north of the Flint River and includes the Northbank Center, which contains the dance studio, University Outreach and the Innovation Incubator, also known as [IN], located on the building’s second floor.
The following is a top ten list of opportunities and activities available at [IN] Monday through Friday, nine a.m. to five p.m. for any stage entrepreneur:
Use the foam cubes to create a desk, fort, throne, tower, podium and any other cool configuration you can think of for maximum productivity or relaxation.
9) Hang Out
Lounge on the blue couch and watch cable television on the wall-mounted flat screen. The 54” smart television is also connected to the internet and can be used for Skype or just catching up on sports and world news.
[IN] has a large reference library of business- related books and magazines available for browsing.
Sections labeled “Sales and Marketing,” “Legal,” “Budget and Finance,” “Start ups,” “Leadership and Management” and many more cover the full spectrum of business development and document templates.
A selection of current and back issues from various Michigan and business magazines also fill the shelves including: Fast Company, Wired, dBusiness, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Yes!, FCW, Crain’s Detroit Business and Inc.
The co-working space, NBK 207, is open to both students and community members. It can hold meetings of between 4 and 24 people and is the perfect downtown location for startup businesses looking to meet with perspective clients in a professional setting. It is also a great place to work with other entrepreneurs and develop the next great idea!
Space may be reserved through the staff working in the incubator.
Bring your laptop! [IN] offers WiFi through the university’s MWireless and has plenty of Herman Miller ergonomic Caper chairs to help create a productive atmosphere for guests.
Have a drink! The space also provides a selection of Keurig coffees, hot chocolates and teas, soda pop and a water cooler. Guests are welcome to help themselves to a drink, although there is a suggested donation of .50 cents per item for additional drinks to allow the staff to purchase more items when the stock runs out.
Stay for a workshop, [IN] provides a free series of business- related workshops during the academic year to support students and the community.
Past workshops have included accounting skills, social innovation, women entrepreneurs and many more topics from speakers with years of experience. Registration is recommended as space is limited.
[IN] is able to provide a downtown mailing address to student businesses to give them a secure professional setting to receive letters and packages and send mail from.
One of the most important services the Innovation Incubator offers to start up organizations is business plan development assistance.
Utilizing the business model canvas (taken from the Business Model Generation book by A. Osterwalder and Y. Pigneur, which is available in the reference library) businesses work with [IN] staff to storyboard their target goals, audiences and products allowing them to better realize how to make their business ventures financially successful.
All prospective businesses should first go online and fill out the 20 Questions about your business form, which is sent to an [IN] staff member. Staff will contact applicants for a one-on-one meeting so the business’s space and technical support needs can be identified.
The Innovation Incubator provides physical office space to University students with start-up ventures. Co-working space is available to community members for creating and collaborating. University students and the community can take advantage of free resources and consultancy services to support experiential learning. These include workshops that focus on elements of organizational management and an annual conference dedicated to social entrepreneurship. All efforts are focused on assisting clients in their learning processes as they develop the capacity for leadership and accomplishment.
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