MidMichigan Innovators: Heading to the Big Leagues Event a Success

February 19, 2009 – Midland, Mich. -“ As part of the premier entrepreneurial networking event of the region, “MidMichigan Innovators: Heading for the Big Leagues,” the MidMichigan Innovation Center and The Dow Chemical Company, more than 260 entrepreneurs, business and community leaders and accredited investors came together Feb. 4, 2009. Nearly 40 exhibitors showcased ideas and shared resources, and attendees heard insights from Dr. Bill Banholzer, executive vice president and chief technology officer from The Dow Chemical Company.

Event host and organizer, Brent Case, of MMIC congratulates the first four MidMichigan Innovators Award Recipients for their contributions to entrepreneurship and innovation to the region. From left to right Brent Case, Cal Goeders, Chuck Fitzpatrick, John Bartos, and keynote speaker, Dr. Bill Banholzer. Shutterbug Photography

Additionally, the event co-sponsors, MidMichigan Innovation Center and The Dow Chemical Company, recognized the following individuals who have made a significant impact throughout the region:

Arnold Allemang — retired, The Dow Chemical Co.

John Bartos — Three Rivers Corp.

Cal Goeders -“ Caltech Industries, Inc.

Charles Fitzpatrick — CMU LaBelle Entrepreneurial Center

These Michigan leaders received recognition, including a plaque inscribed with, “In recognition of your innovation and leadership, which has significantly enhanced the entrepreneurial environment in the mid-Michigan region.”

MMIC Executive Director Brent Case, who presented the recognition, says, “These individuals embody the spirit of entrepreneurship in how they do business, how they support and encourage others, and in how they are an inspiration to our region. We are thrilled to recognize and honor them.”

Feedback from attendees has been very positive.

Bravo:Smart staff members introduce themselves to attendees and explain their innovative web design services. Shutterbug Photography

“I believe that events like this one are very important to inventors and entrepreneurs as it gives us a chance to present our ideas or products to people who can help us with marketing, sales, investment and to pitch or discuss your ideas with someone who is not directly involved with your business. The input and chance to pitch to other people is invaluable,” says Alice M. Brown of In the Groove.

Professor Joe Rousseau, chair of Northwood University’s entrepreneurship department adds, “The MidMichigan Innovators Event is a significant economic re-development milestone for the Great Lakes Bay Region. It all began four years ago when the savvy folks at MiTech+ started to spread the word that the cities of Bay City, Midland, Mount Pleasant and Saginaw needed to start pulling together and support New Venture Creation. This meant creating regional Innovation Accelerator capability, which our business and educational leaders support with their time, dollars and global networks.”

“Events like this are extremely valuable for the entire community. One of my colleagues says that what we need is an entrepreneurial ecosystem and that’s certainly something that this provides,” notes Ken Kousky, BlueWater Angels president and CEO of IP3, Inc.

Brian Reno of Caltech Industries showcases one of Caltech’s anti-microbial products used in hospitals and healthcare facilities around the US. Shutterbug Photography

Ken Van Der Wende, president and CEO, CMU-Research Corporation, states, “Starting new businesses has been the backbone of America. In recent decades, we have become too dependent upon big business to create our new jobs and to diversify our economy. We still have the ability, we simply need to re-kindle our spirit and get the necessary resources to make it happen. This event showed how far we have come in our region in a very short period of time!”

Networking will continue formally and informally, with activities being planned to facilitate more growth. One upcoming event includes a Feb. 19 training event for investors and entrepreneurs focusing on valuation and portfolio strategy, sponsored by the BlueWater Angels. Other formal activities include lunch seminars, inventor group meetings and a variety of training. For details, visit www.mmic.us.

The MidMichigan Innovation Center is a private, nonprofit organization created to provide entrepreneurs and start-up companies a supportive and collaborative environment. BlueWater Angels, LLC is a network of 33 high-net worth individuals and select organizations interested in investing capital in promising companies with the expectation of receiving a substantial return on their investment. While ROI is absolutely the primary goal for BlueWater Angels (BWA), the group also recognizes the value of supporting the entrepreneurial community for the economic benefit of the entire mid Michigan region and the state.