Spark Central was packed in anticipation of the presentations of the NEF 2017 awards. Four entrepreneurs received awards and were congratulated for their hard work, dedication, and ingenuity. From left to right - Chris Roebuck of Clicktivated won for Best Technology. Francis Glorie accepted the award for Chris. Clicktivated transforms video into an immersive, interactive, and shoppable brand experience allowing viewers to easily shop and learn more about the products they like with a click or touch. Christina York of SpellBound won Best Presentation. David Nesbitt accepted for Christina. SpellBound is a therapeutic tool that uses augmented reality technology to calm children before medical procedures and increase their cooperation with treatment. Jeff Mason of Groundspeed Analytics won Entrepreneur of the Year. Groundspeed Analytics utilizes machine learning to transform unstructured business documents into streamlined, actionable data to help insurance carriers and brokers meet their goals. They recently closed on a $2 M investment. Kimberly Gamez of Mi Padrino won Best Business Model. Lauren Lively accepted for Kimberly. Mi Padrino is a moderating organization specializing in crowed-gifting events for the Hispanic event market offering both a B2C and a B2B revenue model. Congratulations again to all of them. 

John Gray, Co-Founder and President, informed us all about CoPilot Vision Systems at the February NEF Forum. They have an exciting rear view camera that will drastically reduce accidents involving trucks. Heavy duty trucks are not required to have a rear view vision system. Consequently, 20% of forward moving accidents occur when changing lanes at a cost of about $17,000 per accident. Also, 39% of accidents occur when backing up with an average cost of $2,300 per accident. CoPilot's dual camera vision system gives truck drivers a 180 degree rear view of people and objects. 

Deep Patel, Flipboard, Feb 6, 2018, wrote an article that described seven concepts young people often get wrong about entrepreneurship. How many can you identify? Read More   

MSU's Conquer Accelerator program is on the hunt for entrepreneurs for their 10-week experience starting on June 1st, 2018 and ending on August 10th. They are accepting applications now. As a member of the Cohort, teams receive; $20,000 in funding, a creative working space in The Hatch, 40+ mentors and resources to grow their startup. Learn More

In an article by Jim Dalke , Jan 26, 2018 of Chicago INNO, Valerie Obenchain, of Advanced Interactive Response Systems (AIRS), was mentioned as one of three companies that shared the top prize at the Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Catalyst Challenge in Chicago. Valerie was a graduate of NEF and presented at the Nov 2014 forum. Read More

Annalise Frank, of Detroit Crain's, Jan 26, 2018 7:21 am, reported how much the business incubator programs received from the MEDC to support entrepreneurs. There were a total of five grants extending funding. Of note, TechTown's Detroit Technlogy Exchange (DTX), Automation Alley and Lawrence Tech were among the recipients. Read More 

In a Detroit Crain's article, Jan 28, 2018 9:44 pm, Tom Henderson reported that Sean Ainsworth is heading up Immusoft Corp., as their new CEO. Immusoft produces RST-001 which is an exciting technology and is hoped to "use a patient's immune cells to treat diseases." Read all about it. RetroSence was sold to Allergan in 2016 for around $60 million. Sean successfully completed NEF coaching in April of 2010. 

In a Detroit Crain's article on Jan 24, 2018 11:18 AM, Tom Henderson explained where Michigan ranked among other states in venture capital investment for 2017. Spoiler alert, we did well. Read More 

In an article published by Cision PRWeb, Jan 24, 2018, Gloria Ahu, of Workit, explained what it means to earn a B Corporation Certification. It is another important milestone they have achieved in becoming recognized as the 'go to' addiction care company. Read More

There were four entrepreneurs who pitched at the January NEF Forum. First up was Colt Correa of Digibit who brought his family to demonstrate how Digibit games keep kids engaged, exercising, and entertained. The product is not WiFi dependent, is battery powered, and is intended for the Nintendo users 8 - 15 years of age.

Curtis McFall, of Camp Gig was next and explained how his employment platform meets the needs of summer camp owners in locating talented employees. The platform is a data base of domestic staff including profiles, photos, and videos where employers can search to fill openings.

Erin Barbossa of Intuissa followed Curtis and explained that there is a lack of preventative mental health therapy programs in the industry. Stress causes $500 billion in lost productivity. Her solution is a B2B program offering proactive, individual, and on-sight psychotherapists to mitigate problems before they occur.

The last presenter was Brad Wilson of Write About. As a teacher, he observed the lack of interest students have for writing because traditional methods to encourage them are boring. Students want to write about things that interest them. Thus, the Write About platform was born to encourage students to write by suggesting topics. Students who participated increased their writing frequency by 50%. Early adopters are teachers who encourage school districts to purchase. 

The judges had their work cut out for them, but decided that Brad Wilson of Write About was the winner of the $230 prize. Congratulations to Brad and all of the entrepreneurs for a great job.