By Travis Stoliker, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Conquer Accelerator
One of the goals of the Conquer Accelerator is to promote the entrepreneurial spirit around the Greater Lansing Area. Conquer is a piece of a larger collective effort supported by many organizations. In this quick post, I want to point out some of the lesser known resources that aspiring entrepreneurs and/or practicing entrepreneurs can use for advice, support, education, mentorship—or just to keep motivated!
Most people are aware of the larger and very active organizations, like MEDC, LEAP, MSU Foundation, The Hatch, and the TIC. (If you aren’t familiar, check them out.) But I want to point out a couple organizations I find incredibly useful, even if they are sometimes overlooked.
The Small Business Development Center is a great resource that provides no-cost or low-cost training workshops that give you practical tips on how to start and run a business. They also provide business counseling services that can help you write your business plan or figure out your go-to-market strategy. If it’s related to Small Business Development - they can probably help you.
The Hatching is simple: Post. Pitch. Win. You post your business idea and get votes. The top five ideas pitch to a live audience. Winning idea receives $1,000 in seed funding. It’s that simple. It’s a great exercise for anyone that has never put together their first business plan or presented their ideas in front of an audience. My restaurant, Saddleback BBQ, actually pitched at a Hatching event before we opened.
Online Lectures or Educational Videos
Khan Academy is an extremely useful source for information in general but it has a surprising amount of helpful business related videos that I think are largely overlooked. For free, at any time, you can learn about Finance and Capital Markets, Corporate metrics and valuation or EBITDA. I’m always amazed by how much high-quality information is available for free online through Khan Academy and other platforms.
I find a lot of value in using Youtube or Podcasts to watch or listen to long form entrepreneur discussions. Check out: This week in startups, the A16z podcast or this long form Business Video Youtube playlist that I have put together over the years.
When you’re ready to go and you need money, here are some local or Michigan resources for help.
For medical related ideas, there is Quantum Medical Concepts, which Tom Stewart our Program Manager is the Portfolio and Community Relations Manager. One of the great advantages of QMC is that they were founded by the Michigan State Medical Society. This gives their portfolio companies access to up to $250,000 in startup funding and access to thousands of medical professionals.
Capital Community Angel Investors is a group of local investors, of which I am a member, that has the goal of investing in Mid-Michigan area entrepreneurs. We are a pretty small group, so we don’t do a ton of deals. But if you’re an entrepreneur with a great idea looking for money, we’d love to hear from you.
I hope you found this helpful. There are several other great organizations but this is a good start. If you have a favorite that we missed, let us know!