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Selected entrepreneurs will each give a four-minute pitch of their business plan to a panel of investor judges in a “Shark Tank” format. PowerPoint slides are not permitted. Think of it as the proverbial “elevator speech.”
After each pitch, the judges will give detailed feedback and score the business. At the end of the evening, the person with the highest score will receive a $250 cash prize.as well as the opportunity to receive a free Business Readiness Assessment from NEF.
Debra Grega M.B.A., Ph.D. is Business Development Director for Fast Forward Medical Innovation at the University of Michigan. Debra joined the team from Ohio where she led the Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (CSCRM, a joint Case Western Reserve University, and Cleveland Clinic-led consortium) from 2004-2010. She brings over seventeen years of international, commercial biotechnology experience and has worked on both the scientific and business aspects of new biotechnology commercialization. Debra received her M.B.A from Anderson University in Indiana, a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Kentucky, and completed her postdoctoral studies at the University of Michigan and Colorado State University.
Melanie de Vries has over 20 years’ experience in driving growth strategy for early-stage software, education technology, professional services, non-profit, alternative energy, manufacturing, and health services organizations. She has a history of success in developing marketing and sales programs that build and improve on the profitability of companies. Her recent experience includes serving as CEO and Co-Founder of PaymentScholar (an edtech start-up). She has also served as the senior marketing officer for Deloitte & Touche/Deloitte Consulting, The Learning Care Group and ForeSee Results. In these roles, she oversaw the execution of business and marketing strategies to drive growth and increase market share.
A proud Eastern Michigan Accounting grad, Linda Smith h has 35 plus years of personal entrepreneurial experience in Farming, Real Estate and Life Science ventures. Linda co-founded Michigan Innovation Headquarters with her husband in 2015. Serial entrepreneurs, they launched the MI-HQ collaborative business incubator accelerator
campus as a start up venture with flex office, wet lab and manufacturing space in 1995. MIHQ has grown into the largest privately held accelerator in the State of Michigan.
25 years of working with early-stage companies has provided Linda with a unique insight into what makes a successful start up. Giving back to the community and helping other entrepreneurs succeed is her passion.
Menawat & Co. developed and markets Vayoom™, a manufacturing SaaS software unifying operations control, analytics, and decision-making to drive greater profitability and growth. It is a unique platform using proprietary AI technologies to make operationally sound and financially viable decisions. Anil Menawat, Ph.D., CEO & CTO, is a recognized authority in manufacturing operations and business turnaround, earned a BS and MS in Chemical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Systems Theory, and is co-author of two books: Profit Mapping (McGraw Hill, 2006), and Execution Dynamics (Amazon, 2012). He was profiled by Business Week magazine for his pioneering work on nonlinear systems theory and is listed in Who’s Who in Science and Engineering. He has also won several awards including “Crain’s 2007 American Dreamer”. Currently serving on the board of defense contractor Amfuel, Menawat’s software Vayoom is based on his research on non-linear dynamic systems. Since 1997, Anil has worked with private equity firms and other investors to turn around underperforming companies.
Come join us in person to enjoy food and drink and conversation with members of the local startup community.
Portions of this meeting will also be available for viewing online via Zoom. For remote viewing, select an Online Ticket when registering via Eventbrite.
Depending on the current CDC risk level for Washtenaw County, visitors to Spark Central may be required to wear a mask while indoors.
The Michigan Small Business Development Center provides consulting, business education and market research to help small businesses launch, grow, transition and innovate.