MWest Challenge Offers Student Teams $5,000 In Cash Prizes

GRAND RAPIDS – The MWest Challenge is sure to be full of energy with Craig Dubitsky, friendly founder of hello products, as the keynote speaker. Participating student teams have a chance to showcase their ideas and win cash prizes totaling $5,000.

Attendees can view some of the students’ ideas being pitched at the MWest competition and vote for their favorite idea and team.

Date: Thursday, April 20, 5 PM – 7:30 PM
Price: FREE
RSVP: You can RSVP for this event until 4/20/2017 at 5:00 PM
Location: Eberhard Center


For more information please visit:

MSU Innovation Celebration

EAST LANSING – Join the MSU us on April 12 from 4:00-6:30 p.m. (remarks at 5 p.m.) at the Huntington Club in Spartan Stadium for the seventh annual Michigan State University Innovation Celebration, hosted by the MSU Innovation Center.

This networking reception showcases innovative technologies and startups developed in campus labs, classrooms and beyond. We honor MSU researchers who reported an invention, licensed a technology or were awarded patents during the academic year, and recognize the winners of awards for innovation and achievement in technology transfer, as well as the Season Two cohort of Conquer Accelerator startups.

New ideas range from advanced automotive materials to electron microscopy to gene therapies for helping plants grow while simultaneously defending against pests. We’ll review a collection of new startup companies working to transform the worlds of alternative energy, concussion recognition, and even the way we treat addiction.

Register today to celebrate innovation at MSU!

Office365 Day

GRAND RAPIDS – Office365 Day is a free event for all levels of Microsoft O365 users including everyday users, power users, students and developers interested in learning more about Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint & OneNote. The first event will take place April 1 at Davenport University’s Sneden Center. There will also be sessions to introduce some newer technologies, including Power BI and PowerApps.

The event will include two tracks of five sessions each, one track for typical users featuring tips & tricks and demonstrating little-known features, and one track for power users & developers wanting to dig deeper into advanced techniques. The event will include an exhibit area with 10 sponsors and will include a free lunch. The day will conclude with a raffle.

“As a Microsoft MVP, I’m a frequent speaker on Access and Access Web Apps at SQL Saturday and SharePoint Saturday conferences across the U.S. Attendees were seeking more information about the core Microsoft Suite, similar to the national Office Deployment & Developers Conferences in the late 90’s and early 2000’s,” said Andy Tabisz, Owner of WorkSmart Database Masters. “There hasn’t been an event to meet that demand, until now.”

Speakers will include area experts and industry insiders. Even though this first Office365Day is in Grand Rapids, this is considered a regional event expecting attendees from Michigan, Illinois and Indiana.

Complete details about the event and registration can be found at

About WorkSmart Database Masters, LLC

Founded in 2008, WorkSmart is a private database and software consulting firm serving business clients across the U.S. and abroad. Services include programming in Access, Excel, .NET, SQL, Amazon Echo (Alexa) and other technologies. Andy Tabisz, Owner, is a Microsoft MVP Award recipient and national speaker.

Join Google + Grand Circus for the 4th Detroit Demo Day

DETROIT – Startups in cities all around the world are building incredible, innovative companies, but many lack access to the robust investment opportunities of Silicon Valley. We recognize that innovation is alive and well far beyond the confines of a few cities, we see it in Detroit everyday!

In April 2014, Google for Entrepreneurs hosted their first annual Demo Day, featuring top startups from Denver to Detroit to Durham. They’re doing it again for the fourth year, bringing another cohort of companies to Silicon Valley to pitch for investors. We want to feature your business!

The process will start with a local demo day here in Detroit on March 30 at 5:30pm.

Startups will pitch in front of a panel of judges and the Detroit community. Judges will deliberate and narrow it down to three finalists who will be submitted to Google. Google will then make the final decision on which startup will be sent to the Googleplex to pitch!

If you are interested in joining this event as a community member or a member of a startup that is pitching, make sure to RSVP! Spots will fill up fast.

Schedule of Events:
5:30 – 6: Guests arrive, mingle over snacks & drinks
6 – 6:05: Kick off and thank you’s from Grand Circus CEO, Damien Rocchi
6:05 – 7: Startup Pitches
7 – 7:30: Judges deliberate
7:45 – Top three finalists announced!

This is event is free.
Register Here.

GreenLight Business Model Competition Finals

EAST LANSING – You have been invited to attend the 2017 GreenLight Business Model Competition, hosted at Michigan State University this March.

The GreenLight Michigan Business Model Competition is an early-stage pitch competition that brings together entrepreneurs and small business supporters from all over Michigan. Competition finalists will pitch ideas to a panel of seasoned judges, while also networking with angel and venture capital investors from across the state.

We are pleased to announce that finalists will have the chance to win a total of $100K in cash prizes. The Top Prize, sponsored by MEDC, is $40K. Second Place Prize, sponsored by MSUFCU, will be $25K.

The competition is generously sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Starting Up: An Introduction To Michigan’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Starting Up

An Introduction to Michigan’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Tuesday, March 28, 2017
9:30 – 11 a.m.

John Eaton
Client Strategist

Do you have a high-tech startup? How about an early-stage, growth-based business? Are you looking to bring your innovative idea to market? If so, the Macomb-OU Incubator invites you to attend Starting Up, a workshop exploring Michigan’s “entrepreneurial ecosystem,” designed to help you start and/or grow your tech-based business. John Eaton, Mac-OU Inc’s client strategist, will help you navigate the wide range of resources the State of Michigan offers – including business incubators, SmartZones, various support services, university technology acceleration and commercialization, and funding programs – to identify what’s right for you and your business. A brief Q&A session will follow.

Macomb-OU Incubator at Velocity Center
6633 18 Mile Rd, Sterling Heights
Register to Attend

The Ethics Of Physician Assisted Suicide

GRAND RAPIDS – Two doctors who are national experts on physician assisted suicide will give presentations on the subject during the DeVos Medical Ethics Colloquy at Grand Valley State University.

“The Ethics of Physician Assisted Suicide” will be held Monday, March 27, from 6-8 p.m. in the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences, 301 Michigan St. NE. Refreshments will be served at 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public; RSVP online at Free parking will be available in Grand Valley’s Prospect Street parking lot.

Speakers are Dr. Robert Arnold, professor of internal medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Bioethics and Health Law; and Dr. Timothy Quill, professor of medicine, psychiatry and medical humanities at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. The moderator is Paul Reitemeier, corporate director of clinical ethics for Beaumont Health and former Grand Valley professor.

Arnold has extensively published articles on end-of-life care, hospice and palliative care, doctor-patient communication and ethics education. He is currently working with the UPMC Health System to develop system-wide, integrative palliative services. He is the past-president of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities as well as the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

Quill was the lead physician plaintiff in a 1997 Supreme Court case (Quill v. Vacco) that challenged a New York law prohibiting physician-assisted death. He has focused work on doctor-patient relationships, including delivering bad news and exploring last-resort options. He is the author of “Physician-Assisted Dying: The Case for Palliative Care and Patient Choice,” “Caring for Patients at the End of Life,” and “A Midwife Through the Dying Process.”

The DeVos Medical Ethics Colloquy is held twice per year and hosted by Grand Valley’s Office of the Vice Provost for Health. Grand Valley began hosting this series in 2015, after receiving a gift from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation.

Tech248’s March MeetUp

Tech248’s March MeetUp


March 27  |  3:00 – 5:00 PM


Fillmore 13 Brewery

7 North Saginaw Street  |  Pontiac, MI 48342

See Attached Flyer for Agenda & Speaker Information

Register Today

Cost: Free | Registration Closes March 23 at Noon

M2 TechCast: MISBDC, OU Inc, SBAM, WIN

ROYAL OAK – On M2 TechCast Monday March 27, Keith Brophy will interview an entrepreneur helped by the MISBDC. Amy Butler will talk about the upcoming Innovation Weekend at Oakland University’s Incubator. Michael Rogers will update news and events from the Small Business Association of Michigan. While Melissa Sheldon from the Workforce Intelligence Network will discuss the Connected and Automated Vehicle report and the demand for workers to fill these jobs.

M2 (Squared) TechCast airs live from 3 to 4 pm each Monday at You can listen to past episodes by clicking on

Michigan Tax Incentive Package Heads To Full Senate

LANSING – The full Michigan Senate will have another crack at legislation that would allow large-scale employers, in exchange for job creation, to keep a portion of the income tax generated by their new employees, as the bills unanimously cleared a Senate committee Thursday.

The Senate Economic Development and International Investment Committee adopted a substitute to the main bill (SB 242 that Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland), the bill sponsor, said cleans up language on oversight.

“We’ve always intended it to be not only for new jobs and businesses coming into Michigan but to be inclusive of businesses that have already chosen to be here in Michigan,” Mr. Stamas said.

The other two bills, SB 243and SB 244, saw no changes from when they were introduced last week (See Gongwer Michigan Report, March 16, 2017). Charlie Owens from the National Federation of Independent Business-Michigan submitted a card in opposition to the legislation on Thursday.

“Targeted tax handouts to select industries and individual companies through the MEGA program, and refundable tax credits baked into the Michigan Business Tax, were the hallmark of the failed Granholm administration and Michigan’s lost decade,” Mr. Owens said in a statement. “Even now, current budgets are stressed trying to account for billions of dollars given away during the last big ‘good jobs’ program.”

The crux of the legislation is that eligible businesses creating at least 500 new qualified jobs that pay the average wage or higher for the prosperity region in which the business is located to be eligible to receive up to a five-year, 50 percent abatement on the personal income tax withholdings of new employees.

Companies creating at least 250 qualified new jobs paying wages at 125 percent or more of the prosperity region average wage would be eligible to receive up to a 10-year, 100 percent abatement.

And if a company failed to meet the required amount of jobs, it would not receive the incentive for that fiscal year but could re-apply to claim it if it met required thresholds the following year(s) for the duration of its incentive.

Stamas thanked members of the Good Jobs for Michigan coalition that came out in a strong showing for the legislation last week.

“I think (the legislation is) a positive that moves us forward in the right direction,” he said.

Sen. Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth), the committee chair, agreed.

“I think this is such an important piece of legislation as we try to grow the state of Michigan and (for) all the jobs all of us have hoped for … in this past decade,” Mr. Horn said. “I think we’re on a pretty darn good roll with these series of bills.”

The bills are largely seen as companion legislation to a package known as the brownfield redevelopment bills that are currently being considered in the House. That legislation (SB 111, SB 112, SB 113, SB 1134and SB 115) allows developers to capture a portion of sales, use and income taxes to redevelop brownfield sites. The House on Wednesday put a sunset on the legislation.

The legislation reported by the Senate committee on Thursday, labeled by supporters as the “Good Jobs for Michigan” package, could be considered by the Senate as soon as Tuesday.

This story was published by Gongwer News Service. To subscribe, click on