Are you looking to start a business but not sure where or to whom to turn? If the answer is yes, this column may be helpful.
In my role as the CEO of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, I interact with the business community regularly – those that are well-established, entrepreneurs that may be looking to start a second business and those who want to be part of the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem, but are not, yet.
Some of the challenges of existing business owners and those who want to start a business are similar. For example: not having any or enough funding; not knowing how to move from concept to market or even knowing if their idea is a good one; not knowing what business to start; and fear of failure.
If any of these challenges sound familiar to you, and you are looking for support, then keep reading because there is a solid entrepreneurial infrastructure in Flint and Genesee County that can help you with these things and much more.
Here’s a roundup of some of the great resources that are available and accessible:
Flint Ferris Wheel Innovation Center: A seven-story, co-work space and business incubator that helps new and startup businesses develop.
100K ideas: Housed in the Ferris Wheel, it offers an entrepreneur assistance program that guides inventors through a “Think, Make and Market” process.
Flint & Genesee Chamber: Provides business support such as financing and incentives, workforce hiring and training, business strategic planning and entrepreneurial services. The Chamber partners with the eTEAM, a regional collaboration of entrepreneurial service providers and the Region 6 Procurement and Technical Assistance Center that provides advice and counseling to companies interested in doing business with local, state and federal governments.
Factory Two: A great community makerspace that offers a creative setting that supports screen printing laser cutters and etchers, 3D printers, computers, sound lab and bike workshop.
Hagerman Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the University of Michigan-Flint: Supports student scholarships, a summer program for high school students, faculty, teaching, research efforts and annual business plan competitions.
Mott Community College Fab Lab: Brings prototyping capability to the community by offering digital technologies to help move ideas to products.
This roundup is not meant to be all-inclusive, but rather a good place to start. As the region’s oldest and largest business advocacy organization, the Flint & Genesee Chamber is focused on the reinvention and revitalization of Flint & Genesee, and small businesses play an integral role. They are the engine that is spurring economic renewal through innovation, investment and jobs.
So, if you’re looking to join the entrepreneurial ranks, I encourage you to reach out to the resources above. They are there to advise and assist you.
Tim Herman is the CEO of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce.