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5x5 Night returns this week, offering $5,000 each month to anyone with a great idea. The monthly pitch competition, which is set for a 10-month run, follows the same format created by founder Rick DeVos. Anyone can submit an idea to the 5x5 Night website. A public vote determines the five ideas for a five-minute pitch each month to a five-judge panel that selects the winner of the $5,000. The difference this time is that 5x5 Night — scheduled for 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 23 at the Start Garden office — is now run by Emerge West Michigan, a web portal launched last fall that serves as a clearinghouse for services to support entrepreneurs and startup companies. 5x5 Night is the latest program for Emerge West Michigan, which will soon add a mentorship initiative. MiBiz spoke with Emerge Director Laurie Supinski about why the nonprofit organization decided to take over and resurrect 5x5 Night.

On Thursday, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan Judge John Gregg denied a sale motion of all Family Christian LLC’s assets because the proposed sale to an insider, FCS Acquisition LLC, did not meet the heightened scrutiny the court requires when insiders are involved in a sale.

Michigan ranked ninth nationally for the number of women-owned businesses, but growth in the sector — measured by new entrants, revenues and overall employment — continues to lag.

While large public corporations have the budgets and the reputations for being innovators, they may not be in the best position to focus on transformational innovations. The reason: The average lifespan of a corporate innovation initiative lasts only 18 months, making it difficult to bring transformational change to an organization that’s stuck in a cycle of quarterly financial results.

Whether a company is working with craft beer, mobile applications or biomedical research, it’s crucial for executives to have at least some basic working knowledge of intellectual property laws.

If the vinyl sales boom hadn’t pulled Vertigo Music out of dire straits amid the MP3 uprising, Vertigo Music store manager Herm Baker would’ve found another solution to keep the store afloat. Failure is not an option for this music-shop veteran.

Wyoming-based Avanti Law Group PLLC turns five-years-old next month and to celebrate, the firm is expanding, having recently acquired the practice of Nohemi Jimenez in Holland. Robert Alvarez and fellow co-founder Raquel Salas started Avanti after working as opposing counsel on a number of cases. Alvarez spoke with MiBiz about the firm’s expansion and its growing roster of international clients.

While Coopersville-based DeWys Engineering LLC primarily focuses on designing components for heavy industrial applications such as robotic tooling and automation equipment, the company has decided to use its engineering prowess to hedge against the cyclical nature of its business, said founder and CEO Paul DeWys.

Seeking to further its mission of stabilizing neighborhoods, a Battle Creek nonprofit organization launched a pilot microloan program to provide financing for small businesses.

The potential ownership change, which would be the second in the last two years for the religious retailer, was one of the primary outcomes at the hearing in federal bankruptcy court for parent company Family Christian LLC.

A new style of credit cards and debit cards designed to reduce fraud will require retailers to upgrade equipment by this coming fall to accept customer payments, or potentially get stuck with the liability for an incident.

Christy Malone spent months educating herself and studying the industry before launching SmartBottoms Inc., a producer of organic diapers based in Ada. But experts say her case is the exception rather than the rule as many entrepreneurs fail to perform the due diligence necessary when starting a new business.

It’s that time once again when small business owners look to reward employees for all the hard work they’ve done during the year.

Executives at West Michigan technology firms generally fall into two “diametrically opposed” camps when it comes to outlining employment agreements for their workers.

Organizations that credit innovation with driving sales higher over the last few years often embed it into their culture and structure. That's according to Plante Moran PLLC's annual look at innovation.

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