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Planning and Economic Development

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eMacomb - Progress Through Partnerships, Summer 2013

Macomb-OU Incubator

Macomb-OU INCubator:

The vision of the Macomb-OU INCubator is to become a premier regional hub in Southeast Michigan for accelerating economic growth in technology-related businesses, with a particular emphasis in the targeted industries of defense, homeland security and advanced manufacturing. 

The incubator’s mission is to provide outstanding and effective small business development and support services to startup and emerging businesses while creating an entrepreneurial climate, commercializing new technologies, attracting investment and creating jobs in Southeastern Michigan.

For more information, visit

Macomb-OU INC offers the following targeted programs, as well as numerous business development events, to its clients:


The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) via the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) selected the Macomb-Oakland University INCubator to administer the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Federal Matching Program for the entire State of Michigan. The primary objective of the program is to increase the amount of federally sponsored (DARPA) research and development funding that comes into Michigan. 

This set of Michigan-based programs can assist academia/businesses through specialized training regarding how to write competitive, thought-provoking proposals, assist them with navigating the DARPA application processes, support them in engaging in DARPA-created competitions and allow them to acquire additional support funds that match a percentage of the federal DARPA awards. It is a goal of this program to help leverage federal dollars and strengthen Michigan-based DARPA applications for the DARPA Technical Office reviewers, thus increasing the application’s chances of success and directly engaging Michigan in “transformational” innovation.

Business Advisory Boards:

One of the most sought after services that Mac-OU INC provides to its clients is the custom-tailored Business Advisory Board (BAB). BABs are individually designed to meet the immediate and long-term needs of client companies by providing feedback from industry experts. A BAB may range from four to 12 members, with the primary purpose of providing advice and counsel to assist in the development and eventual commercialization of their product/service. Task lists or to-do lists are developed during BAB meetings; these lists serve as guidelines for the client and BAB to measure progress as well as address specific needs.
Mac-OU INC currently has eight active BABs with 35 BAB members offering advice and counsel to incubator clients. Five more clients will be seeking BABs or mentoring services in the next few months.  Mac-OU INC has 12 new BAB members for 2013, and many of our BAB members offer additional assistance for clients of the incubator regardless of BAB status. Some representative topics on which current BABs advise include strategic planning, identifying target markets, business plan evaluation, financial forecasting, networking opportunities, intellectual property protection, identifying the chronology of the strategic plan and identifying long and short term goals.

BAB members are chosen from a consortium of subject matter experts consisting of approximately 60 volunteers from a wide variety of disciplines and industries.  Business Advisory Boards are a rewarding and valuable way for successful entrepreneurs and business professionals to give back. For more information on the Business Advisory Boards, please visit or contact Stacey Frankovich at


After a highly competitive application process, the executives-in-residence for 2013 have settled in at Mac-OU INC to provide additional resources and support to what is already an extensive acceleration program.
The Macomb-OU INCubator's unique program provides expert knowledge to entrepreneurs in the form of Business Advisory Boards; access to Oakland University research labs and faculty; various Small Business and Technology Development Center and Lean Diversification training series; the on-site Michigan Defense Center; and Macomb County, City of Sterling Heights and Macomb-OU INCubator staff. Now, four EIRs are also on board to support incubator clients with free services and consultation.

Clients will benefit collaboratively from 16 hours of free consultation per month from these EIRs, as well as from additional discounts if further engagements are required.
New executives-in-residence include attorneys with the Butzel Long law firm; Jim Ruma, a defense consultant with an extensive background working with local primes and next tier suppliers, including 42 years with General Dynamics; Lori Bianco, a CPA and CGMA of BiancoCPA; and Kathryn Baker, a business development professional with Advicoach.
"We have been listening to our clients and feel our Executive-in-Residence program will help them to accelerate their businesses by providing quick, on-site, expert advice at no or low costs," said Julie Gustafson, executive director of Mac-OU INC. "The entire Mac-OU INC team is very excited to have the EIRs on board."

State of Michigan Lean Green Belt:

The Macomb-OU INCubator’s Lean Diversification Green Belt certificate program was chosen, through a competitive bid process, as the official State of Michigan lean training program. Recently endorsed by the Michigan Lean Consortium, the program is intended for business managers looking to develop excellence, nurture innovation, efficiently allocate resources and eliminate waste.
The first of three training programs for the State recently concluded in an awards dinner at the Governor’s Residence. Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley showed his support of the program through his attendance and congratulations speech, in which he emphasized the importance of creating an environment for all State of Michigan employees to not only succeed, but thrive.
“In Michigan, we recognize that our most valuable resource is our people. The public and private sectors are working together in unprecedented ways to reinvent our government.  Our vision is to establish the State of Michigan as a highly functioning organization that provides world-class service and enables prosperity for Michigan’s citizens and businesses,” Calley says.
“We believe partnering with Oakland University to provide Lean Green Belt certificate training to our valued state employees will help accelerate our transformation. The partnership with Oakland University assists us in developing our employees and building capacity to lead service and process optimization efforts statewide.  The training Oakland has provided our employees offers yet another opportunity for continuous improvement and real results – leading to better, faster, smarter and cheaper service delivery.”

For more information on the Macomb-OU INCubator’s Lean Diversification Program, including Green Belt, Black Belt and Startup Lean, please visit

Upcoming Events:

Mac-OU INC hosts a wide array of small business development events, including Lunch & Launches, Fireside Chats and collaborative events with organizations such as the Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest, PTAC, Social Media Club Detroit and Biotechnology Business Consultants. In particular, Mac-OU INC looks forward to collaborating with the MidMichigan Innovation Center to bring BOOST!, a business plan competition, to Macomb County on September 24, 2013.

For a complete listing of Mac-OU INC upcoming events, please visit