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Tekna is a product development firm that specializes in medical devices and has developed over 350 products for its clients, ranging from surgical helmets to endoscopy cameras. Tekna’s culture focuses on creativity, and fused deposition modeling machines allow designers to quickly make prototypes to speed up development. Last year, Tekna gained patents for a line of athletic training equipment that it is distributing under the name Impact Athletic.

A family-owned business in its third generation, Lorin Industries specializes in aluminium finishing solutions ranging from adhesive ready surfaces and ultraviolet stable colors to antimicrobial coatings. Lorin has also developed a new UV coating that reduces energy usage compared to conventional coatings by 70 percent, and Lorin’s products are being used in large-scale projects around the globe.

Q&A: Peter Shankman

Written by | Wednesday, 18 April 2012 08:54 |

Many a journalist on deadline has turned to the online service Help A Reporter Out, which matches reporters with PR professionals for potential sources for their articles. They have Peter Shankman to thank for it.

Education can come in many forms, and while college business programs are certainly important, sometimes the best education for entrepreneurs comes from other entrepreneurs and mentors in the business world.

In West Michigan, natural resources — especially those associated with water — are essential to the economic health of the region.

Google lends small biz a hand

Written by | Tuesday, 03 April 2012 09:52 |

Joe Pohlen, 25, is a student at Grand Valley State University by day and an entrepreneur by night. What he lacked to help his second job — exporting surplus medical supplies to Nicaragua and importing cacao powder in those same bags back to the United States — was a website to help get the word out.

Peggy Murphy is a theater lover. With a daughter active in theater at DePaul University, going to the theater to watch her daughter or just to enjoy another show has been a longstanding affair for Murphy. So when a colleague approached her about serving on the board of the Civic Theater in Grand Rapids, she could scarcely think of a reason not to.

Where are the workers?

Written by | Monday, 02 April 2012 12:23 |

Staying in business over the past few years has been a significant accomplishment for area companies. Now, West Michigan employers are screaming for new talent.

Ruth Smith’s company is at a crossroads. Because she is in line for a major contract to put her Selestial Soap in D&W stores, the West Michigan entrepreneur might have to put together a round of financing. For the first time, Selestial LLC might not be debt-free.

Q&A: Ric Roane

Written by | Tuesday, 13 March 2012 11:17 |

Ric Roane joined Warner Norcross & Judd LLP in 2008 as an attorney in its family law practice group, which he now chairs, and as the white-shoe law firm’s first openly gay partner. Roane, 53, who was just profiled in the firm’s 2011 Diversity and Inclusion report, said he feels safe being out at the firm. He talks with MiBiz about being a successful openly gay professional in West Michigan.

Women entrepreneurs often encounter a glass ceiling of sorts even within their own businesses, but a nonprofit business accelerator is hoping a yearlong training program will help break that barrier. New York nonprofit Count Me In and Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women kicked off the Blast! Grand Rapids program last fall with a series of “pitch parties” — weekly events where women practiced pitching live before competing for a place in the accelerator early in October.

Scott Brew, Adtegrity

Written by | Monday, 05 March 2012 14:05 |

Although Adtegrity has been in the Grand Rapids area since 1999, the national Internet advertising and marketing company has flown somewhat under the radar. Adtegrity President and CEO Scott Brew said his company handles Internet and display advertising for clients, many of whom are outside West Michigan. The company moved last year to new digs at 38 Commerce in downtown Grand Rapids.

When businesses prepare for a court appearance, company executives often expect their attorneys will be able to look at the law and predict how a judge will rule. The answer is seldom easy, attorneys say, thanks in part to a legal system based on generalist judges who preside over cases that run the gamut from felonies to civil lawsuits to business litigation.

The Great Recession was a boon for some West Michigan businesspeople. Consider David Bevins, for example.

The annual “Michigan Celebrates Small Business” awards dinner is set for May 3 at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing. Securing more underwriters enabled organizers to “substantially” lower ticket prices to $95, or $900 for a table of 10, in hopes of driving attendance higher, said Jennifer Deamud, associate state director of the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center at Grand Valley State University.

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