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Start Garden Pitch Night

FARMINGTON HILLS – Kyyba Innovations, Bodman PLC and TiE Detroit are hosting Pitch Club on March 29 at Start Garden in Grand Rapids.

Pitch Club is a mentoring and funding program aimed at connecting the various ecosystems and smart zones throughout Michigan. Pitch Club has ongoing monthly events that provide entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn from seasoned entrepreneurs and investors. The events are meant to educate, network, inspire and provide valuable experiences for being investable.

As part of the events, 3 lucky entrepreneurs will receive the opportunity to practice their pitch and discuss business plan with funding experts, giving them a better understanding the mindset of an investor. Events are hosted monthly on Wednesday evenings in Michigan cities including: Ann Arbor, Detroit, Lansing and Grand Rapids.

The March 29th event at Start Garden will include 3 startup presentations, a pool of judges, and a special guest “Founder & CEO” keynote speaker. The application deadline for startups is Sunday March 4.

Registration and application can be found at: www.PitchClubMI.com


Rishi Narayan, Investor & Founder & Owner, Underground Printing

Jeffrey Rinvelt, Principal, Renaissance Venture Capital Fund

Austin Dean, Principal Consultant, BBCetc

Robi Mitra, CEO, K&A Resource Group


5:00pm – 5:25pm Registration
5:25pm – 5:30 pm Opening Remarks
5:30pm-6:30pm Company Presentations
6:30pm-6:35pm – Introduction of Keynote
6:35pm-6:55pm –Keynote

6:55pm – 7:10 pm – Q&A with Audience
7:10 pm – 7:30 pm Networking

Thank you to our sponsors

Bondman PLC

Start Garden

Be Investable

Check out the entire calendar and get registerd here: http://kyybaxcelerator.com/calendar-registration.php

The select pool of the companies chosen to pitch at the monthly Pitch Club events will be provided investment opportunities in the form of presenting to the investment team of Kyyba Innovations and TiE Detroit Angels during their quarterly Angels meeting. Investment opportunities will range from $25,000 to $100,000. TiE Detroit Angels funded companies, if qualifications are met, also could have the chance to present to the TiE Global Angel Alliance (TGAA). TGAA is a global platform for funding that exposes startups to a broader investment pool and opportunities to raise additional funds much larger than any single TiE Chapter or local Angel Group. TGAA recently invested $395,000 in Zeto, and $450,000 for Hemex Health from the TiE Global network.

Meet The Environmental Media

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will meet on Monday, March 12 for a “Meet the Media” networking and education luncheon at West Michigan Works! featuring representatives from local news outlets that cover topics surrounding sustainability, environmental issues, and social equity.

Register here.

The panel will share their observations about the state of sustainable business and sustainability in the region, how their organizations approach stories and determine news value, and discuss key local headlines from their coverage.

The current panel includes:

  • Lauren Fay Carlson, Managing Editor, Rapid Growth Media
  • Garret Ellison, Environment Reporter, MLive | Grand Rapids Press
  • Tim Gortsema, Managing Editor, Grand Rapids Business Journal
  • Shelley Irwin, Host and Producer, WGVU Morning Show and WGVU-TV

This month’s meeting presented by West Michigan Works!  Additional sponsorship opportunity available.

Sustainable Business Forum March
Monday, March 12
12 pm to 2 pm (Doors Open at 11:30 am)
West Michigan Works!
215 Straight Ave NW,
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
$15 online / $20 at event Members
$20 online / $25 at event Non-members

12 pm Lunch
12:30 pm Welcome and Introductions
12:40 pm Program
2 pm Adjourn

Shape The Future Of Design, Technology 


WHAT                         Lawrence Technological University’s College of Architecture and Design will host MIxD, the first Michigan Interaction Design Summit. This day-long event will explore the intersection of design and technology, where future and present meet. MIxD showcases how the Midwest influences the world through design and technological advances in a variety of industries.


EXPERIENCE              MIxD is an opportunity to share ideas with people who are creating the future of human computer interaction, transcending disciplines of interaction design, graphic design, game art, industrial design, automotive design, and related industries. From interactive, hands-on demonstrations featuring emerging technologies – like augmented reality or virtual reality – to workshops and panel discussions meant to push technology forward. Find out how Information Architecture fits into user experience and an architects toolkit. Connect with the professionals who are creating the future of human-computer interaction and design. Influence a foundation of change. Share stories, concepts and ideas at MIxD.


WHEN                         11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, March 9, 2018


WHERE                       Lear Auditorium and T210

College of Architecture & Design Gallery and Auditorium, Lawrence Technological University, 2100 W. 10 Mile Road in Southfield, Mich.


ATTEND                      Free and open to all ages – from high school and college students to professionals


Register now to attend MIxD at michiganixd.org. Walk-ins are also welcome.


WHY                           MIxD is a brand new program. “We believe that bringing a diverse group of minds together can help understand and realize how design and technology shapes our future,” said Lilian Crum, an organizer.


JOIN                           Committed leaders and thinkers may apply to speak at MIxD by emailing contact@michiganixd.org.


ORGANIZERS            Mick Brege, multidisciplinary designer, LTU student and leader of Deviceful Labs, an Ann Arbor-based consultancy focused on education technology and augmented reality.

Lilian Crum, assistant professor and director of Graphic Design and Interaction programs at LTU; co-owner of Unsold Studio, a collaborative art and design studio.

Kei Gowda, executive technologist at Vectorform, mentor to Virtual Reality researchers at Vanderbilt University.


MORE                         Visit michiganixd.org


ABOUT LTU                Lawrence Technological University is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports. Learn more at https://www.ltu.edu/

Introduction To GrowthWheel

Introduction to GrowthWheel
Date Tuesday, February 27
Time 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm EST
Where 4717 Campus Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Event Room S100
Topic Management
Event Type Workshop
Departments & Programs Innovation Center
Event Contact Email wmedic@med.wmich.edu
Description Entrepreneurs and business owners, are you challenged to keep up with the daily routines in your business, knowing you need to do more to focus on growth, but uncertain what to do? GrowthWheel is a hands-on, action-oriented program designed to help entrepreneurs at all stages overcome their barriers to growth.

Join Sandra Cochrane, Director of the WMed Innovation Center and a GrowthWheel Certified Advisor for a 90 minute introduction to the GrowthWheel toolbox designed to help early stage and growth companies get focus, set an agenda, make decisions and take action.

All businesses, from pre-venture start-ups to established enterprises, must address four key challenges. They need an attractive business concept, lasting customer relations, profitable operations, and a strong organization.

Attendees will participate in a hands-on workshop introducing the GrowthWheel toolkit, and will get a sense of how empowering it can be to work with a Certified GrowthWheel Advisor.

How will GrowthWheel help your business?
-Supports the decision making that we do every day.
-Supplies a visual toolkit for dialogue, focus, agenda setting, decision-making and action taking.
-Provides a simple action oriented process to help you grow.
-Stays true to the way most entrepreneurs think and work.
-Helps companies determine which areas to focus on to strengthen and grow their business.

Woodcarving & Tool Sharpening Demo

Woodcarving & Tool Sharpening Demo

Sat 2/24 1pm-3pm

ANN ARBOR – Maker Works is hosting Master woodcarver and sculptor, Mike Kapetan, who will demonstrate the properties of wood as they relate to carving, basic carving techniques, and methods for sharpening carving tools to razor-edge keenness.

More Info

Register Now!

Maker Works 734-222-4911
3765 Plaza Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Open 1pm-9pm M-Th, 9am-6pm F, 10am-4pm weekends
(Open to Pro-level members 9am-1pm M-Th as well)

MISBDC, DroneLaw Update, Conquest Auto Sales, Regulatory Environment For Autonomous Vehicles

ROYAL OAK – On M2 TechCast Feb. 26, the Michigan Small Business Development Center will feature one of its clients. Enrico Schaefer will update drone law and trends. Melih Oztalay will introduce a conquest auto sales program that combines technology with social media marketing. And Warner Norcross + Judd LLP Attorney John Muhs will talk about the regulatory environment for Autonomous Vehicles.

M2 Techcast is heard live Monday’s from 2 to 3 pm at www.podcastdetroit.com. You also can listen to archived shows on demand by clicking on M2 TechCast at MITechNews.Com.  

PSC Sets Process For Utilities To Calculate Tax Law Savings – Rate Reductions

LANSING – The state’s 13 investor-owned utilities will provide the Public Service Commission with calculations for rate reductions to pass along to ratepayers as a result of the new federal tax law and as part of a three-part process the commission rolled out Thursday.

By March 30, nine of the 13 utilities will be required to calculate a rate reduction to be submitted, which the commission is calling “Credit A.” The commission will review each of the filings and issue rulings on them by June 30. According to a PSC news release, most of the customer benefits from the federal tax law will be realized through this first step of the process.

Detroit Thermal LLC, DTE Gas Company, Northern States Power Company, Upper Peninsula Power Company, Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corporation, Wisconsin Electric Power Company, Presque Isle Electric and Gas Co-Op, Michigan Gas Utilities Corporation and SEMCO Energy Gas Company will be subject to the March 30 filing deadline for Credit A.

Three companies, Consumers Energy Company, DTE Electric Company and Indiana Michigan Power Company, will have a deadline of 30 days after their current pending rate cases are decided to file their calculations for Credit A.

The final utility, Alpena Power Company, recently had a ruling on a rate case before the commission and will have to file separately.

An August 30 deadline has been set for a second step, a “Credit B” calculation. The purpose of this calculation is to determine customer savings due for ratepayers for the period of January 1 through June 30.

A third and final deadline for utilities is October 1. Utilities will be required to file an application with the PSC to calculate impacts of items including excess deferred taxes or bonus depreciation that was not accounted for in either Credit A or Credit B. From there the commission will determine how to pass along those benefits to customers.

“The commission appreciates the input that helped to craft this approach to provide rate relief to customers in an accelerated manner without sacrificing accuracy or opportunity for stakeholder participation. We are expediting the simplest calculations so that customers will see the benefit from the tax reduction as quickly as prudently possible,” Commissioner Rachael Eubanks said in a statement.

Consumers Energy CEO Patti Poppe said in a statement the company appreciates the PSC plan to provide lower bills to customers.

“Federal tax reform will ultimately reduce customer bills by approximately $200 million annually, which equates to up to 4 percent. These are real dollars helping our neighbors’ pocketbooks,” Poppe said.

This story was published by Gongwer News Service.

State Of Manufacturing Tour Highlights Growth Of Jobs, Skills Needed

LANSING – When Jay Timmons took over as president and CEO of The National Association of Manufacturers’ in 2011, many said manufacturing in the United States was dead, that factories and jobs were moving overseas and this country would have to shift to a service economy.

Today he calls that notion “farcical.” With growth in fields like robotics, artificial intelligence and augmented reality, there are an estimated 300,000 openings in manufacturing right now, Timmons said.

And the number of vacancies is expected to grow to 2 million by 2025, he said.

Timmons launched NAM’s fourth annual State of Manufacturing Tour at Automation Alley in Troy with a State of Manufacturing address highlighting manufacturing’s future and to point out the industry’s need for a modern manufacturing workforce. Timmons then traveled to Oakland Schools’ Technical Campus Northeast in Pontiac for a tour with Gov. Rick Snyder.

The eight-day tour will also take him to Kentucky, Indiana, Alabama, New York, Kansas, California and Missouri.

“The nature of work is changing, and the types of jobs we’re creating are shifting,” Timmons said. “Innovation is transforming the way manufacturers operate, and there is an urgent need for talented and skilled men and women on our shop floors and in our facilities working as coders, technicians, craftspeople, designers, marketers and so much more.”

Manufacturing jobs are no longer assembly line jobs. The jobs are “upscaling” to high tech, highly skilled jobs, some of which require a four-year degree. Manufacturing needs engineers, chemists and PhDs, he said.

But not all require such high level education, which means applicants can win jobs without having to incur thousands in student loan debt, Timmons said.

Community colleges are stepping up to provide the programming to teach the skills needed to fill the skills gap. But he said employers themselves are adding on-the-job training programs, and he suggested workers will see more such employer training in the future.

It is also a myth that robotics will replace workers, Timmons said. Humans still have to program and maintain those robots, so the nature of manufacturing work is changing.

Innovation has driven much of the recent growth in manufacturing, but so has tax reform. Timmons points directly to the tax reform passed by Congress and approved by President Donald Trump as a reason for the growth and number of openings.

When the tax reform was pending, NAM surveyed members for their reaction should the proposal pass. Two-thirds said they would invest in facilities and equipment. Three-fifths said they would hire more workers and half said they would increase pay and benefits.

So that growth in investment and jobs, Timmons said, was a way for manufacturers to keep their commitment.

He said manufacturers are “thrilled” that the federal government has put a new emphasis on investing in infrastructure as well as the recent tax reform.

Manufacturing contributes an estimated $2.25 trillion to the U.S. economy yearly and employs 12 million people, almost 600,000 in Michigan alone.

AT&T Boosts Mobile Internet Capacity At DTW

DETROIT – AT&T announced it has boosted its mobile internet capacity around Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport by upgrading an antenna system that will give customers faster, more reliable wireless service.

The network upgrade is on the Distributed Antenna System, which consists of strategically placed antennas to distribute AT&T’s wireless network coverage to the North Terminal, the McNamara Terminal Parking Deck and the Westin Hotel.

The company said its customers will experience better network connectivity.

For more information on AT&T products, services, and coverage, visit about.att.com.

Russian Twitter Bots Keep Up Attack After Florida Shooting

SAN FRANCISCO – After Wednesday’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, thousands of tweets poured in using the hashtag #guncontrolnow and jumped on the trending topic #Parklandshooting. These weren’t coming from Americans with thoughts on the country’s gun-rights debate. They were from Russian-controlled bots jumping on this divisive issue.

Among the most tweeted two words from the Russian bots were “gun control” and “school shooting,” according to Botcheck.me, a tracking website that follows 1,500 propaganda bots on Twitter.

Sound familiar? The way the bots seized on this issue and played both sides is eerily familiar with how they have taken control of debates ranging from Black Lives Matter to the 2016 US presidential election. It’s a strategy direct from the Russian trolling playbook: Jump on a hot button issue and stir outrage on both sides of the argument. The continued resurgence of bot influence underscores the difficulty that tech giants like Twitter, Facebook and Google face in fighting propaganda — even after they’ve identified the problem.

Despite the grilling these companies have received since the 2016 election, the bot influence didn’t end. And it didn’t end Friday, with the US government’s indictment of the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll factory that’s spread chaos across social media. The Alliance for Securing Democracy, which tracks Russian bots on Twitter, has created a website called Hamilton 68 to follow the propaganda in real time.

Before the school shooting, the bot army had been tweeting about US special counsel Robert Mueller but then quickly stormed both sides of the gun control debate once the news broke, according to the New York Times. The Internet Research Agency did the same before the 2016 election, such as setting up both pro-Trump and anti-Trump rallies using Facebook.

It’s happening again

Congress members generally consider Russian bots a threat to US democracy, and intelligence agency leaders warn that Russians are seeking a repeat attack during the 2018 elections. But Sen. Jim Risch, a Republican from Indiana, downplayed the propaganda campaign’s effects. During a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing last Tuesday, Risch said that Americans wouldn’t fall for these bots again.

“I think that now, they’re going to look askance a lot more at information that is attempted to be passed out through social media,” Risch said. “The American people are smart people, they realize that there’s an attempt to manipulate them, both domestically and foreign.”

But last week, the gun-related tweets escaped skepticism and were believable enough to pop up on Twitter’s trending topics, hijacking popular hashtags to muddy the debate.

Over the last few months, Twitter and Facebook have vowed to fix these issues, with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg making it his new year’s resolution. And in a blog post last month, Twitter acknowledged that 1.4 million people were exposed to Russian propaganda on its social network and said it’s focused on preventing bot accounts from surfacing.

The social network said it blocks 523,000 bots a day on Twitter.

Yet somehow, thousands of bots still thrive on the platform and managed to pounce on the Florida school shooting.

This story was published in CNET.Com.

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