Category: Entrepreneurship

Tour Silicon Valley during Spring Break 2013

2012 Michigan Tech Tour of Autodesk in San Francisco, California.

Looking for a life and career changing experience? On December 6th at 5pm, you can interview for the chance to go on the best Spring Break trip of your life. The Silicon Valley Experience 2013 will take 15 lucky students to visit California’s technology and innovation hub from March 10 – 15.  To win a spot at the significantly reduced cost of $300, all you have to do is answer one question in 90-seconds: “Why would I like to work and live in Silicon Valley?”

Your answer will be given verbally to the trip coordinators and final trip participants will be selected and notified before the end of the semester. This year, the participants will tour of some of the most innovative companies on the west coast. Last year the group visited Google, Brocade, Cisco, Kyocera, Plug and Play, and other companies.

The Details:

This opportunity is available to current undergraduate and graduate students of all majors at Michigan Tech.

  • Email Russ Louks, rwlouks@mtu.edu your name, major, and year by 5pm on December 5th to participate. A schedule will be sent out early on December 6th with the time you will be interviewed in the Academic Office Building conference room 101.
  • Practice your pitch and deliver it to the panel of judges.
  • If you are selected, you will be expected to:

o   Pay a deposit of  $300 (which includes airfare, transportation around California, and lodging but not food for the trip) prior to leaving for winter break.

o   Work in small groups to review companies we will be attending and present to group before departure to Silicon Valley. (This is to ensure that all trip attendees have an understanding and basic knowledge of the companies we will be visiting).

o   Create a list of thoughtful questions to ask each company in person.

o   Create and bring a resume.

If you have questions about the trip or the interview selection process, please email Russ Louks, rwlouks@mtu.edu or Andre Laplume, aolaplum@mtu.edu.

Read about the 2012 Silicon Valley Experience.

View photos on Facebook.


Savvy Entrepreneur Workshop Announced

Having problems starting your business but don’t know where to turn?  Others who have discovered how to get past the same road blocks will be there to explain how to find the resources you need at next Tuesday’s Savvy Entrepreneur forum.  The series features best practices sharing via 2-Way Interactive Web Conferencing.   This event will take place Tuesday November 13 in the conference room of Michigan Tech’s Advanced Technology and Development Center at 1402 E. Sharon Avenue, Houghton, Michigan. Social networking with refreshments begins at 5:30 pm with panel discussion from 6-7:30 pm. The public is welcome to attend.  For more information on the Houghton site contact John Diebel 906-487-1082 or jfdiebel@mtu.edu

Essential as it may be, it is unlikely that the MIT Forum is the only resource that an entrepreneur will need along the way. This Tuesday’s event was created by successful entrepreneurs for earlier stage entrepreneurs to guide them to resources that turned out to be valuable finds along their path to success. This panel will share their insights on how to go about finding new resources and how to use them.   Chances are the panel has overcome problems you are about to face as you grow your company. Please bring questions as this will be an interactive event.  The forum will include insights from the panelists followed by a moderated question and answer session to address your specific startup commercialization or growth questions.

The Houghton Host Site is sponsored by MTU’s Innovation and Industry Engagement, School of Business and Economics, the Houghton SmartZone and the Keweenaw Alliance For Economic Development.


Michigan Tech Entrepreneur, Jess Tompkins, featured in UP’s Second Wave

Jess Tompkins, a fifth-year student in business management, was recently featured in the Upper Peninsula’s Second Wave. The publication tells the story of the new economy in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula — a narrative of creative people and businesses, new development, cool places to live, and the best places to work and play.

Tompkins was touted for her business Two Bows, which she started in 2010 under the tutelage of the late Professor of Practice in the School of Business and Economics Bob Mark. The article mentions:

To begin the networking process and get the ball rolling, Tompkins joined Tech’s entrepreneurship support center. During this time she incorporated her business plan, sketches and her prize money from the competition to get sample products made. She later joined the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance. Soon, her idea was starting to look a lot like a real company.

Read the complete article at UP’s Second Wave.


Two Tech Teams Chosen for Clean Energy Challenge

Two teams from Michigan Tech have been chosen to join in the Michigan Clean Energy Venture Challenge. Twenty-seven teams were chosen from 71 teams that applied from across the state. Through the challenge, teams will learn the skills needed to start a successful company, through classroom and hands-on learning.

The teams will also meet regularly with their on-campus mentors and venture capitalists and have access to a micro-grant program offering up to $2,500 for each team to move their business forward.

The Tech teams are GreenedIt!, a web-based application for energy auditing, and Aquaponics, for healthy, local food in urban communities.

GreenedIt! team members are physics students Travis Beaulieu, an undergraduate, and graduate student Abhilash Kantamneni. The team traveled to East Lansing for their initial training this past weekend.

“The training we received through the challenge was incredibly useful,” said Beaulieu. “The whole point was to try and get young entrepreneurs into the mindset of finding a customer need and forming the idea around the customer’s feedback. Thankfully this training worked for our team, and we had a complete pivot during the weekend.”

The other team, Aquaponics, features indoor farming using water instead of soil, with a fish tank providing nutrients to plants. Team members include Robert Handler, post-doctoral environmental engineer in the Sustainable Futures Institute; Josh Krugh, economics undergraduate; and Jacob Bray, chemical engineering undergraduate.

“Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics,” Handler said. “And we want to examine the potential for this type of agriculture to expand as a business opportunity in urban communities throughout the state.”

On the final day of the venture challenge, all participating teams will present their results, and a few teams will be awarded additional prizes and investments totaling $50,000 or more. The six-month challenge is run by the University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship.

Written by Senior Editor Dennis Walikainen of University Marketing and Communications.


Event: Bob Mark Elevator Pitch Competition

(click for full size)

Where can you win $1,000 for just 90 seconds of your time? At the 2012 Bob Mark Elevator Pitch Competition! Join us on Wednesday, November 7 in Fisher 135 at 6pm for the fun!

In the competition, contestants have a limited time (like on an elevator ride) to sell a concept to someone who doesn’t have previous knowledge about their business. A 90-second time limit is placed on the competitors, who will also be competing for second ($500), third ($250), and audience-favorite ($200) prizes. Please join students, faculty, staff, and community members for this year’s event. You won’t be disappointed!

This event is a tribute to the late Bob Mark, Professor of Practice within the School of Business and Economics. Mark started and ran the first four years of the Elevator Pitch Competition and brought the Business Plan Competition to Michigan Tech. The Bob Mark Elevator Pitch Competition and other efforts  support his entrepreneurial spirit that continues to live on in students, faculty, and staff.

Get Involved

If you are interested in participating in this event, review the EPC Information and Rules or download the 2012 Bob Mark Elevator Pitch Competition Judge’s Score Sheet. To participate, attend an information session (the next one is scheduled for Tuesday, October 30th at 6pm in Fisher 139) and contact Travis: twbeauli@mtu.edu with any questions.

Advice from Bob Mark

  • Do not say “we have no competition.”
  • If you are stating guessed numbers, try using 3, 7, or 9 to make the numbers sound more realistic.
  • Memorize your first and last statements, let everything in the middle flow naturally.
  • Be confident in everything you say and avoid terms such as “maybe.”
  • There is an audience favorite prize so invite all of your friends to vote for you!

This event is sponsored by the Michigan Tech School of Business and Economics and the Michigan Tech Smart Zone.