10 Steps to Get Your Startup Idea Funded in Michigan

Getting an idea funded and off the ground is one of the biggest challenges startup entrepreneurs face. It’s not enough just to have a million-dollar idea, you need to be prepared for and knowledgeable about all the variables that banks, angel investors, venture capital firms, and funding and grant organizations need to know.

Further, you need to make your product compelling and understand how to strategically sell your idea and position it as an innovation. While some startup ideas may require a small amount of funding that could be acquired through “bootstrapping”, crowdsourcing, or micro-lending, most ventures will require a substantial amount of money in order to gain traction and take off.

In Michigan, there is a high level of collaboration between investor and entrepreneurs which is inspiring greater economic growth than other states. In fact, Michigan is ranked number one for the amount of money we invest in research.

Investors are out there, but before pursuing the funding you need, go through the following ten steps in order to set yourself up for success.

1. Research Your Market & Competition

Where does your product fit? Once your startup idea is well-developed, it’s crucial to find out if and where it has a place in the market. Do your research, figure out what industry your product falls into and gain visibility over the competitive landscape. Identify your top competitors and figure out the root of their success—innovation, high-quality materials, excellent customer services, industry expertise, etc. Then figure out how your product can be better than the competition through a SWOT analysis. During research, resources like the Southfield Business Catalyst can connect you with data on the business climate, industry trends, customers, competition, and more.

2. Gather Legal Information

Is your product unique? Determine if your product is patentable and can be produced without infringement. Start by doing a preliminary patent search then look into regulatory issues and legal steps to take. You’ll also want to do a trademark search when deciding on what to name your product and/or company. Legal issues can cost a lot of money, so it’s important that you ensure your product will not cross any legal boundaries.

3. Understand Production Details

How will you build your product? Getting a general sense of the production process and involvement is a big part of funding. You’ll need to know the intricacies of your invention and whether it will require specialized materials or unique manufacturing techniques.

4. Identify Your Audience

Who will buy your product? Establish your target audience in as much detail as possible, including specific regions and demographics such as gender, age, ethnicity, profession, family structure, etc. It’s helpful to run some form of focus group testing on your product to see if your audience is indeed interested and inclined to buy.

5. Establish a Powerful Message

How will you sell your product? It important to have a clear story that maintains consistency across all communications in order to establish a powerful brand message. Your audience and investors want to know why you are in business (your mission), how your idea supports your mission (your approach), and what unique benefits your product will offer (your difference).

6. Build a Prototype

What will your product look like? Your product design should be developed from sketches, to a virtual prototype/CAD, to a 3D physical prototype. It’s easier to sell an idea when you have something investors can touch and experience. You may need to engage a prototype designer, engineer, or manufacturer who can help develop your design using 3-D printing or other materials to produce a model. Incubators and accelerators like the LTU Collaboratory can help you develop and validate your design.

7. Create a Sell Sheet

Why should someone invest in your idea? After researching and defining your market, legal assets, production details, audience, and message, you should distill it down into a one- or two-page document that outlines all key details. These details might include: The problem your product solves, your products feature and benefits, your product’s market, and the legal status on your invention (patent pending, trademark, etc.). You should be equipped with a sell sheet anytime you are engaging a prospect investor.

8. Find the Right Prospects

Who should you ask for funding? Beyond doing your homework about your business, you need to make sure you are talking to the right people. Start by compiling a list of 30-50 prospects by utilizing online resources about the investment community in your region like the Michigan Venture Capital Association Landscape Guide and Landscape Map.

9. Look for Opportunities

How will you get in front of investors? There are lots of events and opportunities to connect with investors and other entrepreneurs across Southeast Michigan.

Events like the Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurship bring together hundreds of local entrepreneurs, investors, and support professionals in the Great Lakes region to network, participate in breakout sessions, and compete in the ACE Challenge. You can also find seminars and round-table discussion about trends in technology and the startup world, such at the LTU Collaboratory’s frequent “Tech Tuesday” meetings and workshops.

Even if you don’t establish any leads at these events, practicing pitching your idea will help you gather feedback and continue to refine your story and sell sheet for future opportunities.

10. Know How to Negotiate

How will you secure the capital you need to succeed? The key to a good negotiation is knowing all the costs associated with starting your business venture and the numbers behind them. You should also draft the investment terms that are non-negotiable. Once you have financials and terms established, it all comes down to being able to sell your idea with confidence, backed by everything you’ve acquired in steps 1-9.

Need help navigating some of these steps? The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has a network of SmartZones across Michigan focused on helping entrepreneurs develop technology and bring their ideas to market.

Cruise Southfield City Centre with the New Bike Share Program

The City of Southfield has recently implemented a bike share program through Zagster—giving local residents, students, and business professionals (age 18+) the ability to rent bikes on-demand.

To learn more about the program, we talked with the City of Southfield’s Director of Planning, Terry Croad, who headed this initiative.

What is your involvement with the bike sharing program? 

As Planning Director and Staff Facilitator for the Southfield City Centre, I manage the program on behalf of the City Centre Board.

What motivated the establishment of a bike share program in Southfield? 

One of our goals is to make Southfield a more pedestrian- and bike-friendly place in order to attract and retain (young) professionals, students, residents, and visitors. Providing the bike share program also meets another goal of advancing the city’s economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

Zagster was a turn-key product geared towards our size community. It was also the right time with our recent public realm improvements and pedestrian pathway installations, which include more than 12 linear miles of new bike lanes, sidewalks, and shared-use pathways. We also have many pedestrian respite stations (benches and trash receptacles), two bike repair stations, as well as art and wayfinding signage strategically placed throughout the district.

What are the benefits of this program to the community?

Having the bike share program helps us rebrand and become a more sustainable, pedestrian-friendly community. The publicity and goodwill alone has been worth the initial investment!

Who uses this bike sharing program in Southfield?

Primarily LTU students and business employees in the City Centre district. However, residents and visitors have also taken part in the program.

How many bikes are at each stand?

We currently have seven stations with 29 bikes, including a tricycle and a side-by-side tandem bike. Typically, there are three to five bikes per station. We also have one additional station and bikes sponsored independently by a business just outside the district, with interest by a few more.

Are bikes rentals restricted to certain hours? 

No, the bike share program is 24/7. You can rent a bike by the hour, or if you are an annual member, use the bike any time.

What advice do you have for people renting these bikes?

Safety is important—do not look at your phone while riding a bike! Wearing a helmet and being careful when crossing the roads and driveways are critical. To support safety, the bikes come with lights, reflectors, and a bell on the handlebar.

Why do you love this program?

The bike share program helps promote an active lifestyle as well as being fun to use. The first time I rode a bike last year in the district and I felt the wind in my face and rang the bell, I felt like a kid again. It is easy to use and I encourage everyone to try it and they will be hooked.

As the City of Southfield thrives in the excitement of summer, it’s a perfect time to get outside and go for a ride! The bike share program is $25 a year, and student memberships are only $10. To find out more information and register for the bike share program, visit www.zagster.com/southfield.

Hi-Tech Office Spaces for Lease at American Commerce Center

On American Drive, near Southfield’s iconic American Center, there are two incredible American Commerce Center buildings that offer beautiful spaces and ample amenities. Among Southfield’s many properties, the below locations are ideally suited for high-tech businesses.

Southfield has become a destination for innovation—leading in areas include automotive, robotics, automation, communication, and information technology. Starting a business here or relocating to one of these spaces will put your company in “the Center of It All”—as Southfield is recognized as the premier business address in Michigan with close proximity to Detroit as well as major freeways and airports.

Join over 10,000 businesses who call Southfield home and explore two great location options below, which can also be combined to accommodate the scale of your operations.

26525-26555 American Drive, Southfield

Property Features:

  • 25,000-51,863 square feet of office/hi-tech space
  • 16’ clear height
  • (8) 8×10 grade level doors
  • Zoned Office, Research
  • 250 parking spaces
  • Class A flex space in Southfield’s premier business park
  • Access to high-speed fiber optics, broadband, and satellite services
  • The city offers extensive infrastructure, modern appeal, and a central location
  • Can be combined with adjacent 20,000 square-foot building at 26495 American Dr.
  • Lease Rate: $15.00/sf NNN

26495 American Drive, Southfield

Property Features:

  • 20,000 square feet available of office/hi-tech space
  • 16’ clear height
  • (2) 10×12 grade level doors
  • 510 acres
  • Zoned Office, Research
  • Class A flex space in Southfield’s premier business park
  • Access to high-speed fiber optics, broadband, and satellite services
  • The city offers extensive infrastructure, modern appeal, and a central location
  • Can be combined with adjacent 50,000 square-foot building at 26525-26555 American Dr.
  • Lease Rate: $15.00/sf NNN

Get More Details

For more information, contact John Gordy or Jill Cooper from Signature Associates located at One Towne Square, Suite 1200 in Southfield, MI.

John Gordy, Senior Vice President & Principal



Jill Cooper, Senior Client Services Specialist



Barton Malow’s Southfield Office Upgrade

Barton Malow, a world-renowned construction firm, has called Southfield home for its corporate headquarters since 1986. As a centrally-located metro Detroit suburb, Southfield has proven to be a great fit for Barton Malow’s headquarters, allowing easy access to projects and clients in the area. With more than 2.4 billion in annual revenue and more than 2,000 employees worldwide, the family-owned company holds the title of Michigan’s largest general contractor, as ranked by Crain’s Detroit.

As the City of Southfield has evolved and grown in size over the past few years, so has Barton Malow. Looking to bring their business into the next chapter and get their organization excited about new developments, the company recently renovated the entire first floor of their Southfield office (located at 26500 American Drive) into a modern Innovation Center for collaboration.


Barton Malow’s in-house design team, led by Brian Threet(AIAA), was tasked with redesigning a smart, functional, collaborative, fun, and beautiful first-floor space that would showcase construction and technology in an adaptive environment.

“The main goal of the renovation was to create flexible, multi-sized conference spaces to promote better collaboration,” says Romano Curti, Barton Malow’s Director of Business Development.

Just as they would with any other project, the team utilized 3D model-based BIM (Building Information Modeling) software to plan the renovation. Barton Malow’s Executive Vice President, Doug Maibach, emphasized how critical 3D-modeling and virtual reality software was to the planning process.


“The design of the innovation center was complex, so walking through the space made it easier to see the spatial relations and get a feel for items such as lumens for various spaces,” Maibach says. “Being immersed in the space with all the colors and textures really helped me get a feel for what the space would look like in real life. It helped accelerate the time to go from concept to construction.”

The resulting Innovation Centercelebrates transparency and teamwork, with a modern, glass NanaWall system in the center of the space. The entire first floor, including the lobby, was renovated to add rooms of varying sizes that can hold anywhere from two to 150 people. Twelve conference and drop-in rooms were also added with upgraded video capabilities.


“The result is a space that both employees and clients enjoy,” Curti says.

The renovated space is now used for both meetings and other company gatherings. With such positive feedback, Barton Malow plans to continue updating the rest of their office throughout 2018. Later in the year, updates will be made to the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors including: elevator lobbies, kitchen areas, copy and mail rooms, and additional meeting spaces.

“We’re currently working on rounding out the first floor to include a curated Barton Malow history wall that will flow through the lobby and atrium,” Curti says.


As Barton Malow expands globally, they haven’t forgotten about the city they call home, or where it all started in 1924 — Detroit. The company has been an integral part of downtown Detroit’s resurgence in the past few years, and prides itself on making an impact on the city.

Current downtown projects include: the Shinola Hotel, which will be completed later this fall; along with the Hudson’s Site Devlopment Project.

“Projects like this are what we live for,” says Ryan Maibach, Barton Malow CEO.

To learn more about Barton Malow, visit http://www.bartonmalow.com, or follow them on Facebook,  Twitterand LinkedIn.

Centrepolis Advocate Profile: Mayor Kenson Siver

Like Detroit, the City of Southfield is in resurgence and evolving into a new-age Silicon Valley. The Southfield Centrepolis SmartZone is helping Southfield gain attention as a hub for innovation and technology, and the Mayor of Southfield is at the helm, leading the charge.

The Mayor is truly a mover and shaker—someone who moves things forward and gets things done. Always looking to the future, he believes that by investing in the people, spaces, and businesses in the city, Southfield will continue to thrive, attract and retain talent, and gain its rightful reputation as a business destination with incredible resources and opportunity.

Why Southfield? Why did you want to start working here, get involved in the community, and eventually become Mayor?

Since I was a kid I’ve always gotten involved. I think if you want to see things happen, you need to roll up your sleeves. I’m very hands-on and I’m willing to get my hands dirty; I don’t just direct people. There are always new ideas to pursue and things you can make better. Time keeps marching on, so we need to keep up with change—whether that’s technology or any other advancement. That’s really what I’ve dedicated my whole life to.

What sets Southfield apart as a business destination?

First of all, we are in the population center of Southeastern Michigan and we are also in the geographic center of Southeastern Michigan—there is a reason our slogan is “The Center of it All.”

We also have excellent infrastructure and a network of freeways that come through the city and make it very easy to get from here to any place in the metro region. We also have a great business address with 29 million square feet of office space. And for business professionals that are relocating, we have a wide range of housing options—high-rise living, townhouses, single-family homes, and condos.

Southfield is also halfway between the Oakland County Courthouse and Wayne County Courthouse, that’s why a lot of law firms are located here. We are also a media hub with a number of radio stations here—channels 2, 7, 4, and 20.

What was the motivation behind Southfield Centrepolis and becoming home to one of Michigan’s SmartZones?

As the world of technology has advanced, the SmartZone became another tool to attract businesses. Today, we’re all interfacing continually with electronic media and the SmartZone takes advantage of the fiber optics and the innovations happening here.

We also want to attract and retain talent here. We have opportunities with new companies like Nexcess, P3, Stefanini, and 123Net to name a few. Then we have the existing companies that are doing some phenomenal things in the way of technology. Southfield doesn’t have a GM, Ford, or Chrysler, but we do have virtually everybody that supplies them—from Durr and BASF, to Comau and Lear. All of these auto-related companies are interfacing with one another.

How does Lawrence Technological University and the LTU Collaboratory support the mission of the SmartZone?

We’re very glad that we have Lawrence Technological University as part of our SmartZone, I’m just so impressed with the things that come out of that university. The LTU Collaboratory is a sterling private-public partnership between Lawrence Tech, the City of Southfield, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) SmartZone Network, and the Michigan Works Association. They are developing patents there, working with startup companies, and funding ideas.

This type of resource is important because we lost a whole generation that moved out of state, to the west coast, D.C., Atlanta, Texas, and Chicago. I think we have a “brain drain”, and it is something the governor talks about. There are a number of very good jobs that we need to attract talent for, so what the LTU Collaboratory is doing is bringing and keeping people here.

I said to the president to of LTU, Dr. Moudgil, “This is kind of like grad school—you develop this talent and you have young people that are doing phenomenal things and coming up with the next wave of innovation.” So, why should we lose them to the Silicon Valley or other places when they can grow and develop something here?

Where do you see the Southfield business community in the next 15 years? 

I think we’re going to see a growth in population, and I believe if you have strong neighborhoods, you’ll have strong businesses. Nothing stays the same, and as our housing stock has aged, I’ve made it a priority to reinvest in our neighborhoods and we are doing that big time and spending millions.

I also hope that if the economy holds, we will have a fully redeveloped Northland Mall site, and we have a lot of business interest expressed in it. When you look at Northland, you see that it’s connected to two major freeways and mile roads— it’s so accessible that it’s an attractive piece of property. Technically it’s a ‘brownfield’ but to me in many ways it’s a ‘greenfield’ in the sense that there is 120-acres that is going to be redeveloped and reimagined. And unlike a greenfield where you have to bring infrastructure in, the infrastructure is there including the sewers and utilities. I see research and development there. I see housing there. Providence Hospital is moving south to that property. The other area I see growing is across from city hall.

We are also seeing tremendous reinvestment in existing office space here. Town Center alone has spent $6 million and they are still working on the parking structure and the main lobby. We have also done studies that say we can use more hotel rooms in Southfield to support business travelers. The new owner of Hawthorn Suites is putting well over a million dollars in refurbishing and extended stay, the Westin is doing extremely well, and another hotel is totally booked for the Robotics competition happening at Cobo Hall.

How else are you and the city supporting the growth and success of startups and entrepreneurs? 

We have a business development office that works very hard to find space and make connections with businesses—we regularly entertain people here who are interested. I’m also a fan of the Chamber of Commerce as a partner, and I don’t want to forget to mention that Southfield was the 9th Michigan city to be named “redevelopment ready.” These are all things that are helping businesses grow here, and we work with businesses on the incentives that the State of Michigan offers.

As Mayor, my job entails being an advocate, an ombudsman, and an ambassador for the city, which includes Southfield Centrepolis. I have people that I talk to all the time that are doubtful that a young professional will come work here, and I tell them the success stories that other people had. I think there is great opportunity here—for talent, businesses, and innovation— you can’t listen to all the noise.

Southfield to Attend HANNOVER MESSE Tech Convention

HANNOVER MESSE is one of the largest trade fairs in the world, held on the Hanover Fairground in Hanover, Germany. Each year, this convention attracts nearly 6,500 exhibitors and 250,000 visitors from all areas of industrial technology.

This year’s event takes place April 23-27, and with the teaser of “get new technology first,” the promise of 5,000 exhibitors, 150+ speakers, 1,400+ events, and 220,000 visitors—the event is anticipated to be a spectacular affair.

Among other organizations and entities working to promote the future of technology, the City of Southfield will be there to exhibit with Automation Alley and talk about everything Southfield and Oakland County have to offer to tech businesses.

A Destination for Innovation

With a mission to encourage the growth of modern technology, the City of Southfield has evolved into a destination for innovation in automotive, robotics & automation, and communication & IT.

Surrounded and supported by countless universities, entrepreneurs, engineers, research & development specialists, and local resources—Southfield is positioned to become a major hub for technological advancements.

Southfield is a part of Oakland County, which is home to 64 of the Global 100 Automotive OEMs, 4,000 IT firms, and 1,000 international firms from 39 countries—with a powerful, highly-educated workforce to support it all. In fact, Oakland County has the third-highest number of technical workers in the nation, alongside skilled engineering and R&D professionals, and leading manufacturing talent.

The City of Southfield is ready to tackle Industry 4.0 and Mobility by bringing innovations to market, and here’s how:


Over $17 billion has been invested by automakers and suppliers in Michigan to support automotive research, design, and advanced manufacturing resources related to next-generation mobility and technology development.

The City of Southfield and Oakland County are home to major automotive giants—including Chrysler, Lear, Meritor, and Autoliv—that are avidly working on new concepts and ideas.

Robotics & Automation

An Emerging Sectors initiative has resulted in more than $21 million of new robotics & automation investments in the past five years.

Education and research is prominent in Southfield and Oakland County, with 10 universities and 16 research centers and labs that are currently conducting more than 35 robotics-related research projects.

There are also 85 robotics & automation firms—including COMAU Robotics, Diverse Automation Michigan, and DiFACTO Robotics America—that employ more than 4,400 local professionals.

Communication & IT

A recent Emerging Sectors initiative resulted in more than $167 million of new investment and over 3,100 new jobs in communications & information technology.

This sector has experienced significant growth and will continue to expand with 30 research centers working on projects around new developments. Additionally, the presence of global industry-leading giants—including Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Cisco Systems—is helping Southfield and Oakland County drive the charge.

Beyond the City of Southfield and Oakland County’s significant volume of investments, research, and organizations in automotive, robotics & automation, and communication & IT, there is a support system of resources that helps local entrepreneurs and businesses meet the needs of the future. Some of the top resources at their disposal include the Southfield Centrepolis SmartZone itself, along with Lawrence Technological University, the LTU Collaboratory, the Tech248 initiative, and the new Business Catalyst.


HANNOVER MESSE will be an exciting opportunity to share the local momentum behind a global technological revolution.

State of the City Address: Southfield to “Reinvest & Renew”

This year’s Southfield State of the City Address, hosted by the Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce and presented by St. John Providence, was held on March 19 at the Shriner’s Silver Garden Event Center in Southfield.

Southfield city officials and business professionals gathered to hear Mayor Kenson Siver share the city’s successes in 2017 and initiatives for 2018. Among the attendees were representatives from all of the event sponsors—Ascension, Lawrence Technological University, Everstream, TCT, Cybernoor, Motor City Mini, the Better Business Bureau, and Pinnacle.

The event started with a welcoming message and remarks from Tanya Markos-Vanno, Executive Director of the Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce, who highlighted the organization’s recent achievements, which included 21 ribbon-cutting ceremonies, 44 events, and 68 new members.

Health & Wellness

The next speaker was Joe Hurshe, President of St. John Providence Hospital, who shared some exciting investments and innovations the health system is developing. To date, the Southfield hospital has been awarded the designation of a Top 100 Hospitals in the U.S. for the tenth year in a row—an honor that speaks volumes to the expertise and customer service they provide. Providence Hospital continues to grow, with new services lines and programs like Mobile Units that will provide mammography, heart, and vascular screenings.

Hurshe also emphasized the fact that Providence is a regionally and nationally preferred academic teaching center, with 16 different residencies, fellowships, and research programs that are connected to Michigan State University, Lawrence Technological University, and the American University of the Caribbean.

Additionally, another local health system, Beaumont Health, has just purchased an office building on Northwestern Highway in order to consolidate its support operations.

Lathrup Village

Following Hurshe, Kelly Garrett, the first African American Mayor of Lathrup Village, talked about ways in which her city is supporting their community and the City of Southfield.

There are new officials in place that will help Lathrup continue to thrive, including Sheryl Mitchell, the new City Administrator, and Scott McKee, the new Police Chief. Lathrup Village’s current developments include constructing the residential Townhomes of Lathrup and the expansion of The Michigan First Credit Union, which will add 100 new jobs to the area.


When it was time for the formal State of the City Address, Mayor Siver shared that Southfield is focused on reinvesting in and renewing the city.

The first topic was construction and renovation projects. With a $30.3 million budget, the city is venturing to repave 246 miles of local roads, including Eleven Mile, Nine Mile, Evergreen Road, Lahser Road, and Franklin Road. Planned construction for the year will also roll out across housing, business development, and efforts to enhance the community.


Southfield has always worked to maintain attractive, safe neighborhoods for its residents and continues to pursue projects that support the beautification and safety of these spaces, in order to drive out blight.

To do this, the City wants to improve public infrastructure, raise property values, and assist homeowners and renters with yard care. Programs that support these efforts include Oakland Rebuilding Together, Habitat for Humanity – Rock the Block, the Southfield Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (SNRI), and the Big Rake—a neighborhood clean-up effort that last year brought together 350 volunteers to rake 120 yards in six days!

Additionally, Spring Haven Apartments is a new residential building under construction and will provide more luxury apartment living options in Southfield.

Business Development

The Southfield Town Center is undergoing $56 million in renovations this year, with upgrades that include parking structure and infrastructure repairs, as well as modern design makeovers of the lobbies and a new conference center.

The Southfield Westin Hotel just completed the reconstruction of guest rooms, meeting rooms, and public spaces. Likewise, the Best Western Premier Hotel (the venue for last year’s State of the City Address) is now a destination for business travelers and business meetings or conferences after $3.6 million in upgrades to the hotel and the restaurant (which is now called The Nomad Grill). Additionally, a $6 million, 20,000 sq.-ft. Southfield Conference Center is to be built on 12 Mile, just east of Inkster Road.

Adding to those developments, more than 17 new businesses joined the Southfield business district. Vibe Credit Union built a new store in the City Centre, Kroger just completed a $1.6 million renovation, and New Seoul Garden is working on a total remodel and will reopen later this year. Further, automotive and technology giants Stefanini, Autoliv, and Lear have expanded operations in Southfield.

One of the biggest and most exciting redevelopments is that of Northland Mall! This complicated undertaking has made huge advancements in demolition and unraveling the 33 property easements placed on the space (they are down to one easement!). The city is also stockpiling dirt that will fill the old shipment tunnels beneath the complex. Among other businesses that are considering moving into the new Northland space, St. John Providence Hospital will a 30-acre site for their new Pacific Medical Building.


This year marks the City of Southfield’s 60th Anniversary! To promote Southfield and engage the community, the City will be putting on some of its signature events including the Summer Soulstice Fun Run, the Corporate Challenge, Eat to the Beat, Jazz & Blues, and A Taste of Southfield.

Recent recreational improvements to Southfield include a pedestrian loop that adds more walkable space to the community, a bike-sharing program with seven locations around the city (LTU, Civic Center, Marriot Courtyard, Town Center, City Centre), and the Red Pole Park public art installation along Northwestern Highway.

Southfield is also increasing the presence of public art throughout the city, and after securing 18 pieces of artwork from Northland Mall. ‘The Pioneer Family II’ sculpture has been installed at the Mary Thompson Farm, the ‘Soral Elrog’ sculpture has been put in the south garden of the Municipal Building, and The Boulder Garden at Carpenter Lake is under construction.

While there were many more announcements and impressive accomplishments shared in the 2018 State of the City Address, the idea that Southfield is actively working to ‘Reinvest & Renew’ is the inspiring thought that makes us excited for what’s to come!

Centrepolis Advocate Profile: Jeffrey Granat

Jeffrey Granat—Business Services Specialist/TAA Case Manager – Program Coordinator at Oakland County Michigan Works! Southfield—is in an instrumental part of stimulating the workforce and economy in Southfield and Oakland County. He is a man focused on building talent and setting that talent up for success by connecting local individuals searching for jobs with training and resources that help them start and establish a career. In turn, this talent empowers businesses to reach their goals and continue to grow.

How would you describe your current role?

 I work with local businesses to ensure that talent needs are being met, help promote job opportunities for employers, collaborate with partners to develop programs to prepare/educate jobseekers for the workforce, and provide career assistance for job seekers to enhance their career development opportunities

What do you like about working in Southfield?  

The City of Southfield is the “Center of it All”. It is a diverse community and our center is now part of Centrepolis, giving us greater exposure to the community and businesses. Southfield provides tremendous resources to its residents and businesses, and we are proud to serve this community because of that!   

How long has your company been located in Southfield? 

Oakland County MI Works! has been here for about 40 years. We recently moved to our current location at 21415 Civic Center Drive, Suite 116 in July of 2017.

How does your company benefit from being in Southfield? 

We have the opportunity to work with a diverse group of job seekers and employers. It gives us exposure to different industries and a variety of populations. It really provides us an opportunity to make an impact in what we do. We are now in a more visible area of Southfield and this opens up enormous opportunities for more partnerships in the community. 

How do you support the Southfield business community?

We support the Southfield business community by serving as a hub for a variety of business and workforce development resources. We have been active in working with companies of all sizes and helping them promote their job openings and getting out the word about the different opportunities that are available in many different industries. We have served as partners on different committees trying to be a part of the solution in the hunt for talent in Michigan and continue to be active in creating job fairs and regional events to attract job seekers and employers to the area. Additionally, we can provide businesses with information about the labor market that will help them make informed decisions (wage information, job growth, etc) based on trends and data.

Where do you see the Southfield business community in the next 15 years? 

The business community in Southfield continues to be robust and we see the future as very bright. By being part of Southfield, we will be active in meeting with employers and learning about their needs and continuing to stay up on the trends. This will allow us to deliver quality services to the job seekers and ensure that we stay current with the needs of the employers. There are several large employers along with mid-sized and smaller employers in Southfield in various different industries, which will allow us to observe closely and build partnerships with these companies in order to have a representative understanding of market conditions.

How are you supporting the growth and success of startups?

Being part of LTU’s campus and sharing space with the LTU Collaboratory, we are able to connect startups and entrepreneurs with resources and funding available to grow their business.  We offer workshops and counseling through Oakland County’s One Stop Business Center for entrepreneurs.  We connect startups to local and state economic development partners, and promote their business  

To connect with Jeffrey Granat and Oakland County Michigan Works! Southfield, call 248-796-4578 or fax 248-796-3508.


Helping Southfield Entrepreneurs Succeed with New ‘Business Catalyst’

Home to over 10,000 businesses, the City of Southfield proudly works to support organizations of any size. That’s why the Southfield Business Development department publicly launched an online resource focused on entrepreneurs and small businesses this past month.

The Southfield Business Catalyst is an online tool that provides information about the local economy, customers, competition, and other market data to help business ventures make effective business decisions.

Southfield Mayor Kenson Siver commented on the tool, saying, “It can be challenging for new businesses and entrepreneurs to find the correct resources and information they need to create effective business plans.” He continues, “The Southfield Business Catalyst will address these challenges by providing the most current data available in one convenient place.”

Filled with a wide variety of easily accessible, up-to-date market data, the interactive toolkit is a comprehensive resource for anyone entering the market. Information segments available at entrepreneurs’ fingertips include:

  • Industry trends
  • Zoning controls
  • Available properties
  • Business climate
  • Customers
  • Competition
  • Workforce
  • Local Opportunities

“This online toolbox will give small businesses access to information about the Southfield market, providing entrepreneurs with tools to make educated business decisions,” stated Rochelle Freeman, Southfield’s Business and Economic Development Director. “We know this information will be an asset to help business owners thrive in Southfield.”

Southfield Centrepolis continues to work collaboratively with the City of Southfield, the LTU Collaboratory, and Lawrence Technological University to create an environment of success for businesses both big and small.

By empowering entrepreneurs with the Business Catalyst, Southfield’s business community and the local economy will continue to thrive. Mayor Siver expresses, “We’re excited to offer this toolbox and want entrepreneurs to know that Southfield is open for business!”

Explore the Southfield Business Catalyst online at https://southfield.ecdev.org/. To learn more, contact Southfield’s Business and Economic Development Director, Rochelle Freeman at 248.796.4161 or rfreeman@cityofsouthfield.com.

Meet the Winners of the Excellence in Southfield Awards

The City of Southfield is home to over 10,000 businesses, including more than 100 “Fortune 500” companies. In order to recognize Southfield businesses and individuals who have stood out and demonstrated best practices in business leadership and community service, the Southfield Chamber of Commerce hosts an annual Excellence in Southfield Awards and Reception Ceremony.

The 2017 winners were announced at the ceremony on Thursday, November 30 at the Westin Hotel in Southfield. Meet the winners below and learn why they have become visible members of the Southfield business community.

“Company to Watch” Award — Autoliv

Autoliv is the world’s largest automotive safety supplier, and the company continues to innovate, which is the main reason they received the Company to Watch Award.

In the world of automotive occupant safety, Autoliv was the first to introduce the two- and three-point seat belt system and airbags for front and side impacts. They were the first to launch pyrotechnic belt pretensioners and pedestrian protection systems. Autoliv also produces active safety systems, including brake control systems, radar, night vision and camera vision systems.

Additionally, Autoliv’s vision of Saving More Lives is the guiding principle to more than 70,000 associates in 27 countries. Each year, their products save over 30,000 lives and prevent ten times as many severe injuries.

Recently, Autoliv also announced that they will be building a new Tech Center in Southfield, which will employ about 250 new workers.


What does your company do and where exactly are you located?

We are the world’s largest Automotive Safety Supplier. Globally, we are headquartered in Sweden, but Southfield is our North American Headquarters for the Electronics Group.

How is your company innovative?

We make innovative automotive safety products including Radar Systems, Night Vision Systems, Camera Systems and Autonomous Driving Systems

What do you like about doing business in Southfield?

We like Southfield because it is growing, it supports the businesses in the city. Additionally, it has Lawrence Technological University, and we hire students for internships and full time employees when they graduate from there.

What do the next five years of your company look like, what are your goals?

We are growing in the next five years. We are building a brand new technical center that will house all of our Southfield employees—currently, we are in four different buildings.

What is the best way to get in contact with your company?

Our website has a lot of great information and contacts.


“Sustainability” Award — JVS

JVS is a Southfield-based human services organization founded over 75 years ago to help people realize their life’s potential. In the realm of sustainability, the agency has two “green” initiatives, eCycle Opportunities and the JVS Green Team, which aim to leave a zero footprint within their organization and the greater metropolitan Detroit community.

The eCycle Opportunities (ECO) is a JVS subsidiary, which recycles electronics to ensure that electronic parts and components are kept out of landfills and safely recycled to protect the environment, as well as individuals’/businesses’ personal and private data. This venture has collected nearly 400,000 pounds of electronics from more than 1,000 consumers and organizations.

The JVS Green Team initiative has also been a great success. The agency has collected approximately 1,000 pounds of materials and is on target to collect 12,000 pounds or six tons of pulp and paper recyclables over the next year.


What does your company do and where exactly are you located?

Helping metropolitan Detroiters realize life’s potential, JVS is an award-winning nonsectarian human services organization with four main locations in the metro area. Through a variety of programs designed to help people maximize their self-sufficiency, the agency helps job seekers jumpstart their job searches, provides meaningful programs for people with disabilities and helps seniors remain active and engaged.

How is your company innovative?

ECO was launched with three goals: keep e-waste out of landfills, provide jobs for people with barriers to employment, and create revenue for mission-based services.

ECO has recycled more than 200 tons of electronics since its launch in 2015. The electronics brought into ECO are dismantled and the commodities are sold. All proceeds from the program are recycled back into the community by supporting our agency’s programs to help people with disabilities lead fulfilling lives. For more info, visit www.ecycleopps.org.

What do you like about doing business in Southfield?

The Chamber of Commerce is very helpful and supportive of Southfield businesses and organizations, and has been instrumental in helping us make mutually beneficial connections.

What do the next five years of your company look like, what are your goals?

JVS is currently in the beginning stages of updating our strategic plan. However, we can share eCycle Opportunities’ 2018 goal: to collect and recycle 300,000 pounds of electronics from local consumers, school districts, businesses and organizations. ECO hopes to achieve this goal with new and expanded partnerships with businesses and organizations in Southfield who need to recycle their outdated technology assets. By partnering with ECO, they can be environmentally responsible while also making a difference in the lives of people served by JVS.

What is the best way to get in contact with your company?

Call the main JVS phone number at (248) 559-5000, or visit our website at www.jvsdet.org.


“Business Innovation” Award —Stefanini

Stefanini is a technology company offering IT services to businesses in many different sectors and industries. As technology continually changes, constant innovation serves to be their differentiator. With the accumulation of data on the back-end, intelligent solutions will help them continue to thrive, evolve and continuously improve customer services as well as the customer experience.

Stefanini also recently opened the Stefanini Innovation Center in Southfield Centrepolis. This will be a major contribution to the business community, which will improve Southfield’s position as a global business destination.

Learn more about Stefanini on their website.


“Chamber Member of the Year” Award—University of Phoenix

Over this past year, the University of Phoenix has demonstrated excellence in its approach to community and corporate giving by opening its doors and classroom resources to the Southfield community at no cost.  Also, the University of Phoenix staff has volunteered to ensure that all organizations using our facilities are accommodated.

The University of Phoenix has had two Southfield Chamber BNG groups meeting at our Southfield Main Campus. Several other community groups use their location for meetings. This includes: The Southfield Area Rotary Club, Execunet, South East Michigan Entrepreneur Association, local Entrepreneurs, and other business leaders.

Dr. Jan Cardwell also serves on the Board of Directors and Succession Committee and has dedicated her time to the success of this great Chamber.


What does your company do and where exactly are you located?

The University of Phoenix provides opportunities for adult learners to complete their higher education goals. We provide bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs. The University of Phoenix–Detroit Main Campus is headquartered in Southfield at 26261 Evergreen.

How is your company innovative?

The University of Phoenix is the premier forerunner of online or virtual learning, which has changed the entire landscape of how students complete their higher education.

What do you like about doing business in Southfield?

Our Southfield location is in Southeast Michigan. This provides opportunities for students and the community to use our centralized headquarters.

What do the next five years of your company look like, what are your goals?

We are an online university. Over the next five years as virtual learning gains more popularity, the University will reduce our local footprint for learning and increase our Alumni community outreach.

 What is the best way to get in contact with your company?

Connect with our local contacts: Dr. Jan Cardwell, Detroit Campus VP/Director at Jan.cardwell@phoenix.edu or 248.675.3721; and Dominika Lazarska, Campus Operations Manager at Dominika.lazarska@phoenix.ediu48.675.3701 or 248.675.3701.


“Commitment to Community” Award — HAP

HAP has always contributed and participated in Southfield community initiatives. The company has sponsored and supported many Chamber events and activities and is more than willing to provide us with experts to speak about health related topics. HAP also offers free aquatics and exercise classes for people 65 and over at the Southfield community center.

HAP was a participator and leader in the Inaugural Southfield Community Cup Challenge this year. This initiative gave way for more engagement of HAP employees in the community; it provided an opportunity to give back to the community via food drive, engage with other companies in Southfield area and promote healthy habits through weekly events. Tamara Duby-Sheanhan and Laura Garman have recently taken leadership roles with the Southfield Young Professionals, with a dedication to growing the group.


What does your company do and where exactly are you located?

Health Alliance Plan (HAP) is a Michigan-based, nonprofit health plan that provides health coverage to individuals, families and companies of all sizes.  HAP’s Southfield office is located at 21700 Northwestern Hwy, between 8 and 9 Mile Roads.

How is your company innovative?

HAP is committed to advocating for quality health care that is accessible and affordable for consumers.  HAP was founded in Michigan in 1960 and continues to be a Michigan-based business.

What do you like about doing business in Southfield?

Headquartered in Detroit, HAP also has offices in Southfield and Flint.  The majority of HAP’s employees are based in the Southfield office.

What do the next five years of your company look like, what are your goals?

Health care and coverage are becoming much more consumer-focused.  HAP is committed to increasing health care literacy among consumers so they are better informed to make decisions with their all-important health care dollars.  HAP will be celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2020.

What is the best way to get in contact with your company?

On our website www.hap.org or at 855-WITH-HAP (or 855-948-4427).


“Volunteer of the Year” Award —Sheila Byrd

Sheila’s has a passion to help the community—she has been a member of the Southfield Chamber of Commerce for three years and is now an Ambassador for the Chamber. She is really and exceptional individual who is ready and willing to go the extra mile for the Chamber and its members without hesitation.

Sheila loves being a part of the Chamber, working with others committed to helping make Southfield a city where businesses and the community can thrive. Sheila is a Rotarian with the newly charted Southfield Area Rotary Club, focused on the needs of the youth in our area and recently started her own non-profit organization, Angel Life Development, helping the needy develop life-transforming skills.  Her goal in life is to make a positive difference in this world and leave a legacy that her family can continue to carry on into the next generation. The Chamber is lucky to have such a passionate volunteer and recognized

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