SBTDC Helps Cultivate Businesses

March 3, 2003
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — When cultivating a business, certain processes and ingredients are necessary to bring it to the desired level and a little expert advice and nudge in the right direction is always helpful.

NxLevel Growth, in conjunction with the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC), is brining experts from across the state to help companies learn about these different ingredients and processes, for the second time this year, on Fridays, March 7, 14, 21 and 28. During the four-week period there will also be Tuesday night online discussions.

The program is designed to help IT, life sciences or advanced manufacturing business owners meet with experts, network with other professionals and evaluate the positioning of their business.

“NxLevel Growth will bring in experts to help companies learn about identifying new markets for their business, finding alternative financing and presenting their business idea to potential investors,” said Nancy Boese, Region 7 director of the MI-SBTDC.

“In addition, each company has access to professional coaches to filter their ideas and assist in developing a growth plan for their company.”

NxLevel Growth is a certified business program, and the MI-SBTDC is certified to provide training and use the program’s materials. The core of the program is to have experts present to the business participants, said Boese.

During the first three Friday sessions, scheduled from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., attendees are asked to bring laptops for business plan development.

The three sessions will allow attendees to complete a business plan to assist in company growth, receive coaching from business owners and specialists that have successfully grown businesses, interact with angel investors and venture capitalists regarding business ideas, and determine the factors that investors evaluate and how to improve those areas.

Attendees will also have the chance to test their ideas for growth in a dynamic environment, determine growth areas for their company, learn the intricacies of structuring equity and debt financing, present their businesses to a team of venture capitalists and business executives, and receive feedback to improve the presentation.

Final presentations are scheduled for the last Friday session, March 28, starting at 8 a.m. This is an opportunity for business owners to test their presentation skills.

“This is a practice for if they ever need to complete a presentation,” said Boese. “The participants also receive feedback on their business plans from investors, who are also very experienced business people. This helps the participants develop their business further.”

During the Tuesday online sessions, scheduled March 11, 18 and 25, interested parties will have the opportunity to discuss ideas and get feedback from other participants.

The work sessions will be held at Grand Valley State University’s DeVos Center, 401 West Fulton. The charge is $500 for the first person and $350 for additional management team members. The price includes all meals, workbooks and refreshments.

Pre-registration is required and can be entered online at www.misbtdc.org. Then follow the site and click on calendar of training, click on registration and the form can either be filled out and submitted with a credit card payment online or can be printed and mailed or faxed.  

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