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Investors offer tips for startups seeking capital

Written by | Sunday, 08 January 2017 15:35 |

The first time Jason Mejeur pitched to a prospective venture capital investor, armed with his “crappy” PowerPoint presentation to explain his concept, he failed to secure any money.

GRAND RAPIDS — The conversion of several low-income properties to market-rate apartments by a West Michigan-based property investor has raised concerns in Lansing and Washington, D.C. 

KALAMAZOO — A major expansion by Stryker Corp. could provide a welcome shot in the arm for Southwest Michigan’s life sciences sector. 

After a strong 2016, most West Michigan manufacturers are looking ahead to this year with optimism that they will continue to grow as the economy expands. 

Despite the possibility of easing emissions regulations and historically low gasoline prices, LG Chem Michigan Inc. remains charged about the possibilities for electrified vehicles. 

MUSKEGON — After a career spent in a variety of management and sales roles in the packaging industry, Rich Wilson decided it was time to strike out on his own. 

KALAMAZOO — It may have taken five years, but the partners behind one of the largest mixed-use projects in downtown Kalamazoo finally have secured the financing they need for the development. 

During a time when so many organizations are struggling to find talent, one Lansing-based nonprofit continues to offer jobs to people with disabilities. Since its founding in 1976, Peckham Inc. has operated under the premise that “people with disabilities are amazing workers but they often need some extra support around them to be successful,” said President and CEO Mitchell Tomlinson. Over the last two years, the organization has shifted some of its focus to providing training and opportunities for people with disabilities in the technology support field. Now, Peckham employs 150 people with disabilities in Grand Rapids working in I.T. help-desk positions and is in the process of hiring at least 30 more workers. Tomlinson spoke with MiBiz about Peckham’s decision to begin offering technology-support services and the opportunities those positions unlock for workers with disabilities. 

KALAMAZOO — One Southwest Michigan biotech company wants to leverage a little-known chemical compound to capitalize on the hydroponic and cannabis industries. 

HOLLAND — A $555,000 investment gives a Holland-based sports-related mobile application developer the seed capital it needs to pursue additional clients and grow the business.

ADetroit-based nonprofit will manage a new statewide fund created to provide needed early-stage capital to startups in Michigan.

Professionals working in mergers and acquisitions in West Michigan expect strong deal flow to continue in 2017, maintaining a seller’s market.

Mergers and acquisitions within the banking industry are expected to maintain a steady pace in the new year.

MOUNT PLEASANT — Central Michigan University may launch a new graduate program later this year that would add to entrepreneurial education in the state. 

When Andrew Haan takes over in early February as president of Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. (DKI), he’ll continue the organization’s focus on encouraging growth in Southwest Michigan’s largest downtown market. Haan, who currently serves as an associate director in Gov. Rick Snyder’s Office of Urban Initiatives, spoke with MiBiz about the recently proposed investments in and around downtown Kalamazoo and what will continue to propel the city’s growth.

MiBiz Growth Report: Jan. 9, 2017

Written by | Sunday, 08 January 2017 17:22 |

zHere is the MiBiz Growth Report for Jan. 9, 2017. 

• M&A: Grand Rapids-based Irwin Seating Co. signed a letter of intent to purchase American Seating Co.’s architectural fixed seating business in a deal expected to close in March 2017, pending due diligence. The business includes products for stadiums, auditoriums and other large venues. The company’s move to divest a “higher profile part of our business was an extremely difficult decision to make,” Chairman and CEO Ed Clark said in a statement announcing the transaction. The sale comes as American Seating seeks “to optimize its operations and resources in order to pursue significant growth opportunities” in its transportation seating business, where the company will continue to focus. American Seating intends to lay off 80 workers early this year as a result of the deal. However, a portion of that workforce may transition into roles at Irwin Seating, according to the statement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Another Michigan-based craft brewery appears to be considering a satellite location on Grand Rapids’ west side.

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