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Entrepreneurship : Innovation & Job News

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Pontiac's Catherine Johnson on how G.I.R.D.L.E. helps women build self-esteem

Pontiac resident Catherine Johnson knows the value of valuing oneself.
 
“I realized, through my own experience, that when your self-esteem is not high, it causes you to make bad decisions sometimes and then you're not able to reach your full potential,” she says. “I’ve overcome it by reading a lot, affirmations and just by doing self-talk that I am who I was created to be and I can fulfill my purpose and that I don't have to compare myself to someone else.”
 
And since 2013, Johnson has been actively helping other women in her community to believe in themselves through G.I.R.D.L.E (God Is Raising Devoted Ladies For Excellence), a support group for women aged 12 and older who live in Oakland County. The groups are designed to help them see their value.
 
“We help women by addressing topics that let us know whether or not we have issues with self-esteem,” she says. “We talk about our thinking patterns; first you have to change your mindset and then your actions, and then your behavior will change.”
 
The organization takes on topics like depression and self-care, issues that are particularly important to women, according to Johnson. Currently, the organization is funded through donations and an annual fashion show, and Johnson says more is needed. She sees the need in the community for expanded services; she'd like to find a permanent physical location for the organization as well as funding staff a nurse and a counselor.
 
“Women tend to have more of an issue with self-esteem than men,” she says. “From a young age, usually around 10 or 11, women start having issues with self-esteem, and there is no real help for us. Because of the things that I went through in my life, I want to be able to help at least one person overcome those barriers.”
 
The group has helped one woman realize a dream of publishing her book, and another to face and overcome the trauma of rape. The groups meet every other month and decide what topics to cover based on their needs and interests.
 
Johnson says the idea for G.I.R.D.L.E. came to her during Bible study.
 
“There was a scripture that said, ‘Gird up your loins,’ and we know a girdle shapes and supports us and that's what G.I.R.D.L.E. wants to do,” she says. “We want to shape women and to give them the support they need, so they can reach their full potential, that they can be who they were created to be.”

January LTU Collaboratory events

The Lawrence Technological University (LTU) Collaboratory is on a mission to accelerate the growth of Southeast Michigan’s small manufacturers and hardware entrepreneurs by providing access to key resources specific to their unique needs. The Collaboratory provides leaders of these businesses with access to mentors, workshops, cutting-edge technologies, corporate connections, college students, events, workspace, and a collaborative community of peers. Additionally, Collaboratory clients will soon have access to a state-of-the-art 6,200 sq ft facility featuring additional workspace, training facilities, and a premier manufacturing technology lab. Among the Collaboratory’s programs are Scale-Up For Success and Hardware Massive.

Scaling for Success: Leaning Your Product Design!   Jan 19, 2018, 8:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Location: Munro & Associates, 1140 Centre Road, Auburn Hills, Michigan, 48326


The Build4Scale training program is designed to help advanced manufacturing and “hardware” product developers with scaling their business.  Companies that would find the most value in this training program are those that have a unique physical product or process, have already developed prototypes or low volume production and need to move to a higher volume scale. • Designing Your Product for Manufacturability, Durability and Cost Reductions• Developing a Bill of Materials (BOM) & Bill of Process (BOP) as a method to support quality and reduce components and manufacturing steps.


The Lean Startup and Basics of Customer Discovery   Jan 20, 2018, 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Location: LTU Buell Building M336


What is a “lean” startup?  This workshop starts by introducing the concept and principles and outlines the methodology of lean.  Avoid spending inordinate amounts of time, energy, and money only to fail for reasons you could have predicted. Then: You have what you think is a great idea for a product or service.  But how do you know if there’s actually a money-making business around it?  The workshop continues with the basics of “Customer Discovery:” the process of validating your hypotheses to quickly determine how to move forward for success.


Tech Tuesdays: The Impact of Autonomous Driving on Business  Jan 30, 2018, 8:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Location: LTU Buell Building M336


Autonomous driving capabilities are being offered in vehicles today with higher level of automation expected in the near future.  The session will provide intelligence on the visions systems and sensors that are enabling autonomy in vehicles as well as inform on what is driving this movement, businesses likely to be disrupted, and business models that are likely to be created.  This session looks at both the challenges and opportunities this faces for suppliers of durable goods and the lasting impact autonomous driving will have on the broader automotive value chain.

Rochester Hills couple builds gourmet catnip company from scratch

Rochester Hills couple Rich and Lisa Jackson launched gourmet catnip company Skinny Pete's Gourmet Catnip this fall, though they've been developing their products and working the floors of trade shows for longer than that.

It was in 2014 when Rich, a professional director and visual effects artist -- wife Lisa is a producer -- was sitting at a coffee shop, working on an illustration of a cat. While listening to National Public Radio on his headphones, a story came across detailing a growing industry: Gifts for pets.

Around that same time, Rich noticed that wild catnip was growing in their garden. Imbued with an entrepreneurial spirit, the Jacksons saw an opportunity. And thus the seeds for Skinny Pete's Gourmet Catnip company were sown.

The Jacksons say there are two main focuses of their business. Their catnip is a high-quality, organic catnip. So much so, in fact, that they say that it makes for a good tea suitable for human consumption.

The other aspect that separates their product from the pack is the Skinny Pete packaging. The gourmet catnip is sold in packages of three varieties: Blue Meowy Wowy, Furmaceutical Grade, and Purruvian Pink. The catnip comes in artfully designed tins, keeping the product fresh and fresh-looking.

"We have three cats at the house, and they each respond to the catnip differently," says Rich Jackson. "Panda responds as if its a stimulant. The one we call Skinny Pete gets real lethargic. And Tucker gets real lovable and affectionate."

"Cats that ingest it act differently than the ones inhaling it."

Though they've only been officially on the market for a month or so, the Jacksons say that the response has been fantastic. The main bulk of their sales come directly from their website, though they also sell at local independent retailers. The Jacksons sell cat-related apparel and poster on their website, as well.

"One thing we've noticed with our clients is that they really love their cats," says Lisa Jackson. "There are real emotional connections there."

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

123Net surpasses over 100 employees

123Net, an internet service provider based in Southfield, recently hired its 100th employee—and the company continues to grow.

According to the company, the "arms race for more bandwidth has driven 123Net to continue hiring to keep pace." The jobs filled recently include fiber team employees, fiber designers, a software designer and several sales employees.

123Net offers services in sectors like automotive, healthcare, software, finance, and its mission is to get the the entire state connected. According to the company, which was founded in 1995, it is continuing to expand its 3,500-mile fiber network throughout Michigan. It also aims to expand its team at least 30% every year.

"We pride ourselves on hiring diverse, Michigan-based talent," 123Net President and CEO Dan Irvin says in a release. "This business was built on the backs of hardworking Michiganders hired from our own backyard."



 

Innovative Learning Group recognized as a MichBusiness "Designing Star"

Innovative Learning Group, Inc. (ILG) has received a Best of MichBusiness award in the category of Designing Stars for its corporate headquarters. The award recognizes those companies that create a great working space.

“In designing our space, my goal was to provide an environment where we can collaborate; do focused individual work; be comfortable; host our vendors, clients, and colleagues in the learning community; and be inspired to create engaging learning solutions for our clients,” says ILG CEO Lisa Toenniges.

ILG worked with design firm Young & Young Architects in Bloomfield Hills, builder Kelly Building & Development Company LLC in Birmingham, workplace interior design and furnishing company iscg in Royal Oak, and interior designer Melody Smith in Birmingham.

ILG’s corporate headquarters opened in February 2016. It is 10,100 square feet and was completely renovated from a light industrial building.

The Best of MichBusiness Awards honor the companies and individuals that make Michigan a great place to explore, connect, and thrive. Awards were distributed at the 2017 Best of MichBusiness Awards and Gala held on Nov. 30 at the MGM Grand in Detroit.

About Innovative Learning Group, Inc.

A performance-first learning company, Innovative Learning Group, Inc. creates custom training and tools that help employees of Fortune 1000 companies do their jobs more effectively. Headquartered in Troy, Michigan, ILG is a privately held, certified Women’s Business Enterprise founded in 2004 by CEO Lisa Toenniges. Visit www.innovativeLG.com to learn more.

Vectorform's Vazzano talks VR, AI, IoT and digital transformation

Excerpt: 

Vectorform co-founder Jason Vazzano talks about his digital transformation company in Royal Oak that works with Amazon, Walt Disney and other big players to help them innovate, another of the Tech248 Member interviews conducted by Irene Spanos with Oakland County government.

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New store mixes fun merchandise with charitable giving

Excerpt

Shoppers support charity with every item they buy from Tenacity Boutique, a new clothing and gift store in downtown Milford. 

“Our M.O. is supporting charities that are dear to us. We wanted to give back on a lot of levels,” said Genise Horsley, who owns the shop with her husband Eric. The couple also owns the adjacent women’s apparel shop, The Clothing Cove.

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Free or low-cost business classes offered In November/December

Business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking for assistance are encouraged to attend high-value, low- or no-cost business workshops offered by the experts at the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center.

Unless otherwise noted, all programs are held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, west of Telegraph, in Waterford. For pre-registration and a location map, visit www.AdvantageOakland.com/businessworkshops or call 248-858-0783.

November/December Workshops:
CEED Lending Small Business Loan Orientation
Nov. 8 | 9-11 a.m.
Dec. 13 | 9-11 a.m.
Have a need for alternative financing for your business? Is your business located in Oakland County? Consider learning more about the CEED Lending Small Business Loan Program. Discover the requirements and processes necessary to apply for and obtain a small business loan. If you are interested in alternative financing for your Oakland County small business, then the CEED Lending Small Business Orientation is for you. CEED Lending is an initiative of the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council.
Cost: Free | Registration Required

Social Media for Business Growth
Nov. 15 | 9-11:30 a.m.
Business Power Tools – An overview for using LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to grow any business.
Amid all of the distractions, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are emerging as essential tools for marketing your business. Join Terry Bean from Motor City Connect for this entertaining and educational seminar as he takes you through the tools and rules of social media. You’ll learn what works, what to avoid and how to use LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to grow your network, engage prospects and generate profit. Get ready to kick your internet marketing presence into gear.

This class is designed to use these tools for profit. Terry will cover:
  • • Three Things You MUST do to Find Success on Each Platform
  • • How to Use Status Updates That Gain Attention
  • • Ways to Manage Priorities So You’re Not Stuck in an Endless Loop
  • • How to Make Posting Simpler
  • • The Fastest Way to Grow Your Audience
  • • Which 2-3 Platforms Should Are Best for You
Cost: $40 per person | Registration Required

Starting a Business
Nov. 16 | 9-11:30 a.m.
Dec. 14 | 9-11:30 a.m.
Thinking about starting a business? This workshop is designed for individuals who are just starting a business. It will help aspiring entrepreneurs assess their abilities to lead and manage a company as well as evaluate market and sales potential for their products and services. Topics like startup costs, financing options and business planning are introduced, along with the necessary steps to getting started. If you are ready to start your business this workshop is for you.
Cost: Free | Registration Required

December Workshops

Market Research Basics
Dec. 5 | 9-11:30 a.m.
Ready to grow your business? Market Research Basics workshop helps you discover ways to find your ideal customers, identify your competitors, perform competitive analysis, identify new site locations, target direct mail campaigns, reveal untapped markets and expand to new and appropriate markets. If you are ready to grow your business, the Market Research Basics workshop is for you.
Cost: Free | Registration Required

Walk-in Start Up Thursdays in Waterford and Novi
WalkIn-StartUp Small Business Counseling
Nov. 2 | 9:30 a.m. – Noon | 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Dec. 7 | 9:30 a.m. – Noon | 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
In Waterford: One Stop Shop Business Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford
In Novi: Novi Civic Center - Community Development Center Room, 45175 Ten Mile Road, Novi
Whether you opened a business or you’re thinking about it, the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center has resources to help you. We can provide you with confidential small business counseling. You receive one-on-one advice from an experienced business consultant – with no appointment necessary. Consultants offer direct answers to your questions about startups, suggest next steps and provide guidance on business planning tools. These high value services are offered at no charge to you. Walk-in sessions are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Each session is limited to 15 minutes.

Farmington Hills-based S2 Equipment creates Solar Briefcase and PowerPack for remote energy apps

Excerpt

S2 Equipment in Farmington Hills, which operates The Invention Shop, announced the debut of the Hans PowerPack and the Solar BriefCase 60, which can charge mobile devices during a power outage or provide electrical power during a trip off the grid, at a tailgate party, or at other events.

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Free or low-cost business classes offered in October/November at Oakland County One Stop Shop

Business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking for assistance are encouraged to attend high-value, low- or no-cost business workshops offered by the experts at the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center.

Unless otherwise noted, all programs are held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, west of Telegraph, in Waterford. For pre-registration and a location map, visit www.AdvantageOakland.com/businessworkshops or call (248) 858-0783.

October/November Workshops:
Five Steps to Networking Mastery
Oct. 4: 9-11:30 a.m.
We have all heard that it is not what you know but whom you know. BARNACLES! It's all about how you are known. This brief, impactful training will teach you how to become an individual to whom people want to refer more business.
You will learn…
  • Why networking works
  • How to be ready to network anywhere
  • Which online sites are worth your time
  • How to identify your ideal referral partners
  • The components of a solid ask
Consider attending if you:
  • Are frustrated with the results of your current networking
  • Uncomfortable networking but know you need to do it more
  • Have a new position and want to increase your pipeline
The better we all get at networking, the better all of our networking will be. Speaker: Terry Bean, founder of Networked Inc. and Motor City Connect.

Cost: $40 per person | Registration Required

Starting a Business
Oct. 5: 9-11:30 a.m.
Nov. 16: 9-11:30 a.m.
Thinking about starting a business? This workshop is designed for individuals who are at the beginning stages of starting a business. This workshop will help aspiring entrepreneurs assess their abilities to lead and manage a company as well as evaluate market and sales potential for their products and services. Topics like startup costs, financing options and business planning are introduced, along with the necessary steps to getting started. If you are ready to start your business this workshop is for you.

Cost: Free | Registration Required

Market Research Basics
Oct. 10: 9-11:30 a.m.
Ready to grow your business? Our Market Research Basics workshop helps you discover ways to find your ideal customers, identify your competitors, perform competitive analysis, identify new site locations, target direct mail campaigns, reveal untapped markets and expand to new and appropriate markets. If you are ready to grow your business, the Market Research Basics workshop is for you.

Cost: Free | Registration Required

CEED Lending Small Business Loan Orientation
Oct. 11: 9-11 a.m.
Nov. 8: 9-11 a.m.
Have a need for alternative financing for your business? Is your business located in Oakland County? Consider learning more about the CEED Lending Small Business Loan Program. Discover the requirements and processes necessary to apply for and obtain a small business loan. If you are interested in alternative financing for your Oakland County small business, then the CEED Lending Small Business Orientation is for you. CEED Lending is an initiative of the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council.

Cost: Free | Registration Required

Team SBA Financing Roundtable                                             
Oct. 31 | 9 a.m.-noon

Need the inside scoop on how to obtain a business loan? Attend the Team SBA Financing Roundtable to find out how banks evaluate your application. Learn how to improve your chances for a business loan and how SBA loan guarantee programs can help you get financing. This workshop is best suited to those with good credit, a solid business idea and funds of their own to invest in the business. If you want to improve your chances of obtaining a business loan this workshop is for you.

Note: Because the SBA does not provide loan guarantees to real estate investment firms, including purchasing and rehabbing houses for resale, this type of financing is not discussed at the roundtable.

Cost: Free | Registration Required


November Workshops
Social Media for Business Growth
Nov. 15: 9-11:30 a.m.
Business Power Tools – An overview for using LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to grow any business now.
Whether you call it social media or social networking or web 2.0 or internet marketing, the question on every professional’s mind is this: “Is social media a waste of time or an essential power tool for business in a post phonebook world?”
The simple answer is “Yes.”

Amid all of the distractions, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are emerging as essential tools for marketing your business. Join Terry Bean from Motor City Connect for this entertaining and educational seminar as he takes you through the tools and rules of social media. You’ll learn what works, what to avoid and how to use LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to grow your network, engage prospects and generate profit. Get ready to kick your internet marketing presence into gear.

This class is designed to use these tools for profit. We will cover:
  • Three things you MUST do to find success on each platform
  • How to use status updates that gain attention
  • Managing priorities so you’re not stuck in an endless loop
  • How to make posting simpler
  • The fastest way to grow your audience
  • Which 2-3 platforms are best for you
Cost: $40 per person | Registration Required

Walk-in Start Up Thursdays in Waterford and Novi
WalkIn-StartUp Small Business Counseling
Oct. 5: 9:30 a.m. – Noon | 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Nov. 2: 9:30 a.m. – Noon | 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
In Waterford: One Stop Shop Business Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford
In Novi: Novi Civic Center - Community Development Center Room, 45175 Ten Mile Road, Novi

Whether you opened a business or you’re thinking about it, the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center has resources to help you. We can provide you with confidential small business counseling. You receive one-on-one advice from an experienced business consultant – with no appointment necessary. Consultants offer direct answers to your questions about startups, suggest next steps and provide guidance on business planning tools. These high value services are offered at no charge to you. Walk-in sessions are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Each session is limited to 15 minutes.

Tech248 member MatchRX revolutionizing surplus prescription drug industry

Excerpt

Check out this cool Tech248 member company MatchRX a private web-based inter-pharmacy marketplace to buy and sell small quantities of non-controlled, non-expired overstocked prescription drugs and drugs in short supply to satisfy a specific patient need or declared public health emergency.

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Kids showcase creativity at Pontiac Business Fair

The 377 Center in Pontiac was abuzz with energy August 19, as at least 50 people crammed into the small space to attend a business fair featuring 14 local businesses. However, this wasn’t the typical business fair, as the entrepreneurs behind the booths were only between the ages of six and twelve.
 
Nonprofit Young Entrepreneurs Squad hosted the first annual Pontiac Children’s Business Fair, which showcased various businesses operated by children in the metro Detroit area.
 
Founded in 2016, the organization provides services such as coaching, mentoring, entrepreneurial training, and workforce development to children, parents, schools, and universities.
 
Founder Mary Evans drew inspiration for YES and ultimately the business fair from her grandson, Amari. When he was five years old, Amari began expressing an interest in having his own business. Evans didn’t think much about Amari becoming an entrepreneur until he set up a lemonade stand last year, making $120 in six hours. Now 7, Amari is the president of the for-profit division of YES where he sells T-shirts.
 
Evans found the 14 young entrepreneurs for the fair online, as applicants registered on the organization’s website. Social media also helped spread the word.
 
“Social media is awesome,” Evans says. “Our Facebook post was shared over 1,000 times through support from individuals in the community.”
 
Various types of businesses showcased their wares at the fair, including jewelry, hair accessories, beauty products, and desserts. One of the businesses selling sweets was Bella’s Organic Ice Cream, which is run by 12-year-old Isabella Henson, her 8-year-old brother, Miles, and their cousin Grace, 11. Grace said the three of them started their business six months ago after Isabella discovered she had an intolerance to cane sugar.
 
While the Hensons would not disclose any of the ingredients they use in their ice cream, maple syrup is one component, says Isabella. Bella's Organic Ice Cream comes in vanilla and chocolate, costing $2.50 each. The Pontiac Children’s Fair marks the first time the family members have sold their product.
 
“It’s fun, and we wanted to share with other people that ice cream doesn’t have to be bad for you,” says Grace.
 
At the table next to them was the business, 2 Chocolate Sisters and a Mister. Bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and bow ties in vibrant colors and prints lined the table. The owners of the jewelry and accessory company are siblings Sydnee, 11, Jeremiah, 9, and Danyelle McCray, 8. Their mother, Moneece Borders, remembers when Sydnee became interested having a business.
 
“She made me some earrings for my birthday, and she made them out of old jeans I had,” Borders says, smiling. “And she said we have a name for our business, and I’m like, ‘What business?’ Then she said, ‘Two Chocolate Sisters and a Mister,’ and I just fell out because it was so cute.”
 
The siblings began making crafts in 2015 and made their business official on Christmas Day of last year when Borders registered their name with Oakland County. The McCray siblings usually sell their items at school or at Border’s home daycare in Pontiac. The fair is the first event they have attended to sell their products.
 
Sydnee says she enjoys running a business with her brother and sister.
 
“It’s really fun, and if we’re ever bored, we can sit together, talk, and make jewelry.”
 
On the other side of the room, 8-year-old Christen Elliott was busy selling her line of lip balm. The Detroit entrepreneur is the owner of Polished Puckers by Devani, which has lip balm in a variety of flavors such as “Sizzlin’ Strawberry” and “Coolin’ Coconut.”
 
Elliot’s mother, LaToya Lathan, says they began the business last October to help children get rid of chapped lips, a problem her daughter once had.
 
“Christen suffered from chapped lips, especially during the winter, so we were spending money on a lot of lip balm that wasn’t working,” Lathan says. “So we started using stuff around the house, and it was working. But I knew I couldn’t send her to school with a jar of coconut oil or a tube of shea butter. So I presented to her, ‘Hey, how do you feel about starting a lip balm business and helping others that suffer from chapped lips?’ And from that day, she was excited. She got a journal, we sat down and came up with a name and started coming up with flavors.”
 
Since then, the mother and daughter have been busy promoting Polished Puckers. The first event Elliot showcased her products was at the Think Pink cheerleading competition at Cass Technical High School, which was then followed by a fashion show held by the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation at Motor City Casino and Hotel. The Pontiac fair marks the tenth event Elliot has attended as a vendor.
 
In addition to events, Elliot and Lathan are active on social media, as they have Facebook and Instagram accounts for the business. Shoppers can make orders by email, with the item shipped to their house. Customers will soon be able to shop on the Polished Puckers website when it launches later this month, says Lathan.
 
In addition, the two have recently created a unisex lip balm line and label to broaden their audience, and Elliot is in the process of launching a surprise product for the company’s one year anniversary.
 
Elliott says she likes running her own business because helping others makes her “feel good.”
 
“The response we have been getting has been amazing,” says Lathan. “So far, we have been doing really well.”

Gonna need more thread: Downtown Pontiac sewing factory expands to bigger building

Detroit Sewn, the full-service sewing factory in downtown Pontiac, is growing. As the company recently celebrated its two-year anniversary, this summer it also achieved another significant milestone: A move from its original location to a larger facility.

The 5,000 sq. ft. space at 67 N. Saginaw St. affords Detroit Sewn the ability to meet the growing sewing and production needs of the region, giving the company room for more machines and more services. Originally offering services like product development, pattern and sample making, and cutting and sewing, Detroit Sewn has expanded to offer spot and full dye sublimation, direct-to-garment printing, and blank apparel orders.

The former editor of the StyleLine magazine, Detroit Sewn owner Karen Buscemi has spent more than 20 years in the fashion industry. She founded the non-profit Detroit Garment Group in 2012 and is helping to establish Detroit's Garment District.

Buscemi started Detroit Sewn as a response to inquiries made by metro Detroit's fashion community. She wanted to build something locally and see if was sustainable.

And sustain it she has.

"There's been a lot more need for this type of business than I ever imagined," says Buscemi. "I thought I had a handle on the size of our community, but it's way bigger than I thought."

The company receives inquiries every day, she says, and mostly from in-state residents -- a good sign for Michigan's fashion industry. "It's exciting to see that many people following their passion."

And it's not only the fashion industry that requires Buscemi's services. Just this week, Detroit Sewn sent out an order for another local company, Rochester's Seatsational, a maker of seat covers for theaters, sports venues, airplanes, and more.

Where there's a need, there's an opportunity.

"We need to show that this kind of manufacturing can be done here and be successful here if we ever want manufacturers to come from other states," Buscemi says.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Highland Raw, what a deal

Excerpt

How did a former Radio City Music Hall Rockette and a theatrical prop master find themselves starting a business in Highland, making a very special dog food? It’s complicated, but a growing family and a German Shepherd named Sascha are important to their story.

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Farmington Hills manufacturer teams with OU to turn water into electricity

A Farmington Hills-based company believes it has a developed a game-changing product for the clean energy industry. And a unique partnership with Oakland University has helped convince them and many others that they've done just that.

It's called the Oscillo Drive, a device developed and patented by Wave Water Works, LLC. Basically, the Oscillo Drive is placed in water and uses the motion of waves to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. The device produces energy, which is then moved to a generator, converting that energy into electrical energy. It is quiet, renewable, and sheds no pollution.

"And the amazing thing is, the damn thing works," says Wave Water Works project director and general manager Chuck Keys.

Another seemingly amazing part of the story is that the Oscillo Drive had been sitting on the shelf for three decades before its inventor, Phil Padula, president and CEO of Wave Water Works, hired Keys in 2013 to bring the product to market. Keys has been talking to interested parties as near as Macomb County and as far as Israel and India.

The Oscillo Drive is going into production this winter and the company will have projects in the water the following spring.

The company enrolled in the Oakland University INC business incubator program last year, gaining access to important equipment and help from engineering faculty and 43 students. Keys estimates that Wave Water Works received $1.5 million in professional engineering services as a result of the partnership.

"We needed to be able to test the device," he says. "We knew it worked but we needed to be able to measure it. At OU, we were able to run it through a battery of tests."

Wave Water Works is also readying an Oscillo Drive that works in rivers. A desalination device is also nearing production.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.
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