Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 6, 2012

Business in Brief: 11/06/2012


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Pitch competition

SCOTTVILLE — West Shore Community College will host "The Boost - West Shore Elevator Pitch Competition," on Nov. 13, from 3 to 7 p.m.

Participants will have two minutes to present their business or product ideas to a panel of entrepreneur judges. Top finishers will then have the opportunity to present to the Blue Water Angels investment group for a chance to receive capital resources to start a business.

Along with the pitch competition, this event will include an entrepreneur and professional service provider expo, a presentation by Start Garden and a networking reception. This event is open to all ages and free to attend.

Last year's competition included 18 participants from the region. Pitches ranged from start-ups to expansions of existing businesses. The winner last year was Just Good Chocolate of Traverse City.

The event is hosted by the e-merge Entrepreneur Network of West Michigan and sponsored by Klever Innovations, Start Garden, Grand Valley State University, Prima Civitas Foundation, Warner Norcross & Judd, The Station Grill, Community Shores Bank, West Shore Community College, Baker College and Muskegon Community College.

Those wishing to participate may register online at For additional information, call 843-5903 or email to

NorthSky plan

TRAVERSE CITY — Two consultants will keep things running on an interim basis after Executive Director Debbie McKeon leaves the NorthSky Nonprofit Network for a new position on Dec. 3.

The Rotary Charities Board set up a 90-day transition plan that calls for Freya Bradford to oversee client support services, administration and management duties, with Pam Evans increasing hours for free business counseling as she also assumes additional leadership activities.

During this period, all initial inquiries regarding NorthSky services can be directed to Bradford at or 929-3934.

SBA loan record

DETROIT-- The Michigan District Office of the Small Business Administration has announced that 2,075 loans for a total of $944 million were made in fiscal 2012. Although the total number of loans decreased from fiscal 2011, the dollar value increased by $10 million, setting a new record in Michigan.

The Michigan District Office guaranteed 1,742 loans under its flagship 7(a) loan guarantee program in fiscal 2012, for a total of $547 million. This was 16 percent lower than the prior year, primarily due to the end of American Recovery Act funding, according to an SBA press release. Loans were made in 74 out of 83 counties in Michigan by more than 135 lenders.

However, SBA dollar volume was the second-highest ever in Michigan. The 7(a) loan program provides a 50 to 90 percent guarantee to financial institutions, giving more small businesses access to capital for operations, machinery and equipment and the purchase of real estate. For additional information, call 313-226-6075, Ext. 221.

Break for Lunch

TRAVERSE CITY — "The Bright Idea: Introducing and Selling an Idea to Board and other Decisionmakers" will be offered on Nov. 8 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Northwestern Michigan College University Center, Room 5.

Debbie McKeon, executive director of the NorthSky Nonprofit Network, will lead a "Break for Lunch" session on evaluating and introducing new ideas to key decision makers. She'll also review how to develop a persuasive argument to gain support and enthusiasm, and protecting your idea through copyright or trademarking.

Fee is $12. Participants are welcome to bring a lunch.

To register, visit