The inaugural NEF Pitch Pit event was held in conjunction with ACE '14 ( on Thursday, 30 Jan 2014. NEF Pith Pit is an event that is loosely modeled after ABC's Shark Tank. For this first event, there were three contestants:

  • Mary Beckerman – Recipe Manager System
  • Diana Chen – Crowdsourcing Legal Help Platform
  • Xavier Clemons – The New Credit Card Shaver

After delivering their four minute pitches, our panel of judges

  • Martin Dober, Vice President for Invest Detroit
  • David Gregorka, Venture Partner at Baird Capital
  • Charlie Moret, Managing Director for Tech-Based Entrepreneurship at Tech Town

provided feedback to help the budding entrepreneurs and selected a winner. The judges selected Diana Chen, Crowdsourcing Legal Help Platform, as the winner; and the audience selected Xavier Clemons, The New Credit Card Shaver, as being their favorite. For her efforts, Diana was awarded cash pot, which totaled $218.

For those wishing to participate, or for those simply wanting to watch the festivities, keep an eye on the NEF website - we are planning four more NEF Pitch Pit events during the upcoming year.

Members of the New Enterprise Forum will coach the Semi Finalists from the Michigan Business Challenge, providing feedback regarding their investor pitches on February 14 at the Ross School of Business. To learn more about the competition, inclusing eligibility requirements, etc., please visit

The Michigan Business Challenge is a campus-wide, multi-round business plan competition thru which student teams have the opportunity to win cash prizes totaling over $60,000, gain feedback from judges, and expand their business network. 60 teams pitch to judges on December 6 and only 16 were advanced to the next round.The second round group of presented to a different judging panels on January 24, at which time only eight teams were selected as Semi Finalist. Ths fiinal presnetation to a third judging panel will take place February 21.

Teams that plan to pursue their business idea to fruition will have the opportunity to work with an NEF Coaching team formed in order to provide them more in depth coaching on their business plan, pitch, and executive summary. One of the 2013 teams that won an award, PhasIQ has recently completed NEF coaching and will be presenting at the February 20th Forum meeting.

At it 9 Jan 2014 meeting, the NEF's directors elected Viktor Brandtneris to a two year term as a director. According to Gerry Roston, NEF President, "Viktor's strong tes to SPARK and the national iCorps program will help extend NEF's visibility on both the local and national levels."

Viktor started his career in financial and strategic planning roles in the computer industry with IBM and Computervision. Subsequently he co-founded the Devonshire Trust Company, a Registered Investment Act of 1940 compliant financial services company. At this mutual fund company, his responsibilities centered on daily operations, investor reporting and regulatory compliance. SInce the sale of Devonshire, he has focused on consulting and coaching early stage companies, with an emphasis on employing a customer discovery based approach to business planning.

Viktor is fully entrenched in the local entrepreneurial community. He is an active member of the New Enterprise Forum Program Committee. Additionally, he has participated in the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program as a business mentor and was recently named to the NSF’s national teaching team. He is currently the Director of Ann Arbor SPARK’s Entrepreneurial Boot Camp and a mentor to students in the Masters of Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan.

Viktor has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania, (Economics & Psychology) and a Master in Business Administration (Finance & Marketing) from Boston College.

The premier Michigan event for Innovators came to downtown Detroit Tues., November 12 to Fri., November 15! More than $1 million in cash and prizes were awarded to early stage entrepreneurs to foster their growth within Michigan.

Companies coached by NEF were well-represented in the awards ceremony, starting with Varsity News Networks (NEF Showcase Presenter, Jan 2012) which won the $500k Grand Prize. Other companies that NEF has coached which won prizes were: AutoBike (Next Generation Manufacturing sector), ENT Biotech Solutions (Medical Devices sector), and PlanReaction (IT sector).


Carla Harris, Mng. Dir. Morgan Stanley, brought to AMIC by Inforum. 5:00 p.m. “The changing landscape for women entrepreneurs and the increasing investment opportunities in Detroit and MI”

Gala Keynote

Tony Scott, CIO, VMware (previously with MicroSoft, Disney) 8:15 p.m. “How creative vision and leadership can profoundly shape the technology-enabled

Several NEF Showcase Presenters were among the semi-finalist companies: Eco-Fueling, Ornicept, Patient Provider Communications, ONL Therapeutics, GANTEC, MitoStem, Blaze Medical Devices, Algal Scientific, Coliant Corp., and Brio Device.

Event sponsors included New Economy Initiative for SE MI; SPARK Ann Arbor; Automation Alley; Macomb OU Incubator; TechTown Detroit; Pure Michigan; Quicken Loans; DTE Energy; Next En- ergy; Masco; Brooks Kushman; Cascade Partners; Growth Capital Network; Spring Management; El Sevier; MCRN; and Michigan’s URC.

For more info visit

ACE ’14 – January 30, 2014 – Burton Manor, Livonia, MI

Join an exciting, forward-thinking community of innovators, entrepreneurs, and business leaders for learning, connecting, and fun! Sign up now for entrepreneur exhibits, the opportunity to pitch to a panel of judges, and break-out sessions on hot entrepreneurial topics -- along with great food and low-cost networking with 1000+ of your fellow regional entrepreneurs!

Ace will host the premier of NEF’s Pitch Pit for Entrepreneurs. Apply for a spot at To register for ACE ‘14, visit


Document Submissions for GLEQ Fall Business Plan Competition  are due December 16. Upload to by 5 p.m.

The MI-SBTDC Greater Washtenaw Region has moved to the main campus at Washtenaw Community College, where it offers many excellent services for entrepreneurial companies. One-on-one counseling is a no-cost service for individuals who want to develop a new venture or improve, revitalize or expand their companies. Also available is an extensive library of online market research resources, as well as a full calendar of low-cost training sessions throughout the area on how to successfully grow your small business at all stages of development.

For information and schedule of MI-SBTDC seminars, please visit

U-E Conference

in partnership with U-M Friday-Sunday, October 18, 7:30a.m.-1:30 p.m., October 19, 9 a.m.-10 p.m., October 20, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. University of Michigan, Power Center, 121 Fletcher Street, Ann Arbor


Tuesday, October 15, 6:30-8 p.m. Law School, 701 S. State Street, South Hall, Room 1225, Ann Arbor. Five presenters take the stage for 10minutes each, 5 to demo and 5 to answer questions e-mail organizers at if you’d like to present.

MMIC Crowd Camp coming to SPARK in October

Join MMIC, SPARK and the founders of RocketHub for a unique workshop at SPARK Central in Ann Arbor, MI on Ocober 12-13. RocketHub founders Brian Meece and Gustavo Rodriguez, who have lectured on crowdfunding at SXSW, TEDxBrooklyn, Columbia University, Maker Faire, White House Roundtables, and even the U.S. Congress, will teach attendees how to leverage the crowd for funding their endeavors.
You and your idea could A&E TV and (see
For details and to register, visit and click on MMIC Crowd Camp.