UM-Flint Presents Awards to 11 Flint Entrepreneurs 

Flint, MI – The University of Michigan-Flint’s University Outreach has announced winners of an entrepreneurship competition held June 24 in Flint. The competition was part of a celebration held at Berston Field House, to mark the culmination of four business boot camps held in Flint from February through June 2017.

A total of 49 certificates were awarded to graduates of the [IN] on the Road business boot camp. Graduates were invited to present their business ideas in a Pitch & Prize competition for $4500 in prizes.

Youth Winners of the Pitch & Prize included:

·         Tyrone Smith – Mother and Sons Cleaning Service

·         Rayven McQueen – Tutoring for peers at her elementary school

·         Aaliyah McQueen – Basketball camps and merchandise for serious youth players

·         Clayton Robinson – 3D Printing service

Adult Winners of the Pitch & Prize included:

·         Venus Nash – Sewing Cafe

·         Joyce Cade-Hitchye – Of Impact, Veterans Referral Service

·         Everett Roberts – BEEncouraged & Empowered Inc.

·         Tiffany Parsons – Be Smoothie mobile truck

·         Karl Collyer – Happy Little Greens Farm

·         Terry Kinzie – Organic Lawn Care

·         Torina Johnson – Purple Lady Nursing Service

Judges included Paula Nas, Director of University Outreach; Harry Blecker, Business Growth Coach for Michigan’s Small Business Development Center; DeWaun Robinson, entrepreneur and COO of Urban Renaissance Center; and Luke Lloyd, retired professional basketball player, and entrepreneur.

For years, University Outreach has offered popular business workshops at the Innovation Incubator, nicknamed [IN], located on the UM-Flint campus. IN on the Road turned the training into a 5-session workshop series, which was offered at convenient locations in Flint neighborhoods.

The IN on the Road business boot camps were presented at Joy Tabernacle in February; Holmes STEM Academy in March; Boys and Girls Club of Greater Flint in May; and Asbury United Methodist in June. Community members took advantage of the intensive training to learn how to start a business and become financially literate. The boot camps were offered at no charge to the public thanks to funding support from the Ruth Mott Foundation and the MI-SBDC I-69 Trade Corridor Region.

Graduates of the course offered positive remarks about the boot camp. “The course provided the tools for deeper thought and considerations to get beyond the idea phase,” said one graduate. “Course materials were great for class and future planning,” said another participant. “Having business owners come to classes was the number one most useful thing about the course.”

Participants also are eligible to receive bus passes to travel to University Outreach’s Innovation Incubator for additional business assistance after the boot camp.

More information about the IN on the Road program is at go.umflint.edu/IN or contact Nic Custer at ncuster@umflint.eduor 810-424-5454 for more information.

About the Innovation Incubator

The University of Michigan-Flint University Outreach connects campus and community to support learning, collaboration and partnerships. One of its programs, the Innovation Incubator, helps students and community members start businesses and non-profits. The public is invited to use the co-work space free of charge weekdays at Northbank Center, Suite 207, 432 N. Saginaw Street.

Since 2008, about 5,878 people have been positively affected by the Incubator program and its client startups’ products and services. Of these, about 1,841 people have taken advantage of Incubator training sessions. To date, about 24 businesses have graduated from the Incubator program. At least 134 jobs have been created by the Incubator and its client startups. About 45 percent of the number of jobs created were for underprivileged community members.

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