In a Detroit Crain's article on June 23, 2018 8:13 am, Crain's reported that of the 15 finalists in three categories, seven companies were the lucky winners of thousands of dollars to help grow their businesses. There were about 1,500 people in attendance at the Music Hall event which was also part of the Techstars Startup Week Detroit. To see the list of winners and more about the program, Read More.

The June panel topic of Building Your Team -- Filling the Void generated a lot of interest with the audience. There were so many tips about what to do and what not to do that only a few of them are written here for you to apply to your business. 

How do we acquire, identify, and keep talent? Use your extended network and organizations such as SPARK. Create a team with those you already know and trust like college classmates and friends. Ask a prospect to sign a release where former employers are allowed to share additional past performance information than what the current law permits. If the prospect objects, there may be a significant reason where you want to avoid hiring them. Define the culture for your firm and interview to find those who will be a good fit. Frequently model your company's core principles so employees know them by heart. 

We have some money, now what? Decide if an employee or contractor is the best fit. Fill the skill gap by delegating more responsibilities away from the founders to the employees who are most skilled in fulfilling those responsibilities. Have a backup plan of who can fill certain positions if a vacancy occurs. Hire slowly, if given a choice. Treat your employees like partners and they will go the distance for you. 

We are running out of money, now what? Have a basis of termination in writing so that expectations are set from the beginning. When a downturn in business requires layoffs, people are not left in the dark and law suits will be minimized. Employees need to be informed how risky startups can be when they hire in. Keep them informed about order backlogs, or times when there are gaps in orders to inform and motivate them. Make sure your employee documentation is up to date with policies and procedures, not to disclose IP clauses, non compete clauses, salary schedules, etc. 

Best overall tips: Find something unique about your company or yourself that attracts talented people. Be innovative in places where you hire hire, like organizations and even use grant monies where possible. Be passionate, candid and keep the big picture in mind. Find builders and give them a place to build. 


HLX Engines provides single-cylinder internal combustion engines. Evan Collins, CEO, explained that, "Piston engines were developed over 120 years ago, and the piston engine design hasn't changed much since the days of Henry Ford. The HLX Engines Arc™ is a completely new type of piston engine technology to transfer reciprocating motion into rotary motion. The engine is significantly more efficient than comparably powered gasoline engines, and it is up to three times smaller and lighter." Their beachhead market is the military where portable generators can weigh up to 300 lbs. A comparable Arc Engine weighs approximately 50 lbs and can deliver the same power output. The Arc Engine also has 60% fewer components and uses far less fuel to operate. Read More

In a Detroit Crain's article of June 17, 2018 12:16 AM, Tom Henderson reported that the Great Lakes Angels are partnering with Doron York to raise funds specifically for early-stage Michigan entrepreneurs. Sources for seed money have been declining in recent years while the emphasis has shifted to growing companies with revenue track records. Is is refreshing to see this long over due initiative. Read More 

In a Detroit Crain's article, June 12, 2018, 3:20 PM, Annalise Frank reported that TechTown will be receiving $1.55 million in grant monies for its initiatives "that help small businesses tackle the tough subject of financial growth." More details will be released during the Detroit Startup Week entrepreneurial conference scheduled for June 18-22. Read More  

Have you ever thought 'there must be a better way' or 'I wish there was...' in the context of healthcare? This year's non-profit Ann Arbor Health Hacks topic ( goes beyond just health but blends into equity and we need your help in getting the word out. 

Here are the top three misconceptions about participating in a Healthcare Hackathon:

1) I don't know anything about healthcare/ coding/ engineering. 

- GREAT! Magic happens at the intersection of team members with different skill sets. Nobody is too old, too young, too educated or not educated or skilled enough. Passion beats skill!  (you must be 21+ to participate).

2) I don't have an idea to pitch or work on.

- GREAT! That's why we have excellent keynotes to inspire problems you might want to solve.

3) I can't work through the night.

- GREAT! Many people go home for a few hours. if you live far away, accommodations are available, just ask. 

The organizers of  Ann Arbor Health Hacks ( invite you to find out how your skills can make a difference over the weekend of June 22-24 during their third annual healthcare hackathon. This year, the focus is on low-resource settings with a special track on transition into independence for people with disabilities.

The event is an opportunity for design, engineering, IT, healthcare and business professionals, students and entrepreneurs to come together to brainstorm and prototype new healthcare solutions. More info and registration at

There is always a reward if you read a long article to the end: please mark your calendar for the annual Summer party Saturday July 28 and remind me if you didn't get an invite by then. 

Many thanks for your support!

Diane Bouis, PhD, MBA

Cell +1-734-272-1348

In a June 4, 2018 article, Ann Arbor SPARK announced who the winners were from their 2018 spring Entrepreneur Boot Camp. There were 12 "contenders" with $35,000 in funding. "For the first time, the boot camp panel consisted of all women." Read More 

Detroit Crain's featured Entrepreneurs in an article on May 26, 2018. It takes a lot of faith, effort, and resources to start a business. Entrepreneurs come from all parts of the world. Some start a business out of necessity, some have innovative ideas, and others create a business around trying to make the world a better place. Regardless of the humble beginnings, we owe a great deal to entrepreneurs and cheer when they succeed. Be inspired by the stories.  Read More 

In a Detroit Crain's article on May 15, 2018 5:03 PM, Dustin Walsh reported that "The investment fair, which showcases companies in need of funding to investors across the U.S., will be called the Midwest Growth Capital Symposium." Next year's event will include the presence of many Big 10 research universities. Read More

At the May Forum, Paul Schrems, President of Ascape Audio, described how current wireless earbuds "requires the user to carry three additional devices, remember to charge them every few hours, all the while trying not to lose the $100+ gadgets. Additionally, the tiny devices annoyingly tend to fall out of the user's ears."  Because of these issues and more, people get frustrated and stop using them. "Ascape Audio offers premium wireless earbuds capable of recharging directly from your phone. AmpPack is a line of patented smartphone cases that doubles your battery life while holding and recharging the wireless earbuds. Now your earbuds are always with you charged and ready, where ever you go!" Their solution to easily listening to music is simple, affordable, and quite different from the competition. Read More about them