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In the Press | incuba8

14 Nov


Grassroots Recognition of 30 Years of Entrepreneurship Education Leadership

November 14, 2011 | By |

CONSORTIUM FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION- Did you hear the LAUNCH of National Entrepreneurship Week 2011 by Cathy Ashmore at the “Future of Entrepreneurship Education Summit” in Orlando, Friday, February 18? Thanks to the leadership of Michael Simmons of Extreme Entrepreneurship there was an all-day focus on THE FUTURE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION with 130 specially invited national leaders to discuss this critical issue. You could have heard it streaming live…and hopefully the videos will be available soon. Read More

14 Nov


11 for 2011: Riffs on Today’s Entrepreneurship

November 14, 2011 | By |

JENNINGS MOSS OF PORTFORLIO.COM- Spend a few days in the company of entrepreneurs, or devote a solid 12 hours to listening to educators and self-made businesspeople talk about ways to encourage entrepreneurship, and you’ll come away with a few conclusions. That’s what happened to me last week after spending three days in Orlando: the first two spent at a retreat for young entrepreneurs and the third at a summit exploring the future of entrepreneurship education.

Rather than write a lengthy tome on any single topic discussed last week, I’m opting for a different approach (an impending flight back to New York and a looming deadline might have something to do with this). And since this is 2011, I offer not 10 but 11 lessons about the state of entrepreneurship today.

1. The biggest single takeaway from Friday’s marathon summit—organized by the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour and held at the University of Central Florida—is that educators at big and small institutions across the country say their schools are finally tailoring programs to teach about entrepreneurship. That’s definitely a solid development, since business programs traditionally deal with economic theory, supply and demand, and big finance. But just saying your university is adding entrepreneurship courses to a curriculum isn’t enough. Schools need to ensure they’re not just teaching the theory of entrepreneurship, but that they’re developing programs that actually let students create and develop new companies. Plus, they need to recognize that it’s not just business students who can benefit from these courses: would-be engineers, artists, doctors, journalists, and many more would be eager to create their own companies.

2. Following President Barack Obama’s launch of the Startup America program to encourage and support entrepreneurs, the administration sent representatives to Orlando to send the message “we’re here to help.” No one in the audience was critical of this effort. Far from it. The general consensus was it was about time Washington went beyond outreach to corporations and traditional small businesses. But this doesn’t mean the entrepreneurs were pro-government. One very successful creator of a multimillion-dollar company had a wild idea: eliminate as many government functions as possible and turn those tasks over to entrepreneurs.

3. Beyond what the feds and universities are doing, new resources for entrepreneurs are being created seemingly every day. There are intense and exclusive programs like Y Combinator and 500 Startups that will offer guidance, training, and funding for select companies in exchange for equity in companies. There are branded programs by American Express, Bank of America, Cisco Systems, and more to aid entrepreneurs. And there are incubators cropping up all over the country to lend a hand. To find these, you need to do two things: Be creative in looking for them (use online searches with various key words), and don’t get discouraged if you get turned down.

4. The high-tech startups get all the glory, but they only account for a minimal number of startups. Scott Gerber, the founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council who has a few businesses in the works, emphasizes this point and says 99 percent of all startup efforts are inherently non-tech. The YEC’s membership is filled with this type of business owner; people like Adam Witty, who founded and leads the Advantage Media Group, a company rooted in one of the oldest pursuits: publishing. Witty’s company mixes the old, putting out books and magazines, with the new through ebooks and multimedia production. Gerber, who briefed the summit on results of a survey of young entrepreneurs, also made clear to include more traditional small-business enterprises like dry cleaners in his call for more entrepreneurship.

5. When someone talks about being a “social entrepreneur,” he’s not talking about running another network like Facebook or LinkedIn. He’s referring to creating a company that either has a noble purpose or takes a creative approach to funding charitable operations. Robert Nicholson is an example of the first. The Ohio native is co-owner and operator of two companies that aid developmentally disabled adults. His companies are all about improving his communities. Ryan Allis is an example of the second. The founder of iContact, an email marketing company for small businesses, Allis mandates that 1 percent of his company’s payroll, 1 percent of equity, 1 percent of product, and 1 percent of employee time goes to supporting nonprofit organizations in North Carolina, where iContact is based.

6. In the example above, notice I used the pronoun “he.” That wasn’t on accident. Men significantly outnumber women in the entrepreneurial ranks, a fact that’s not lost on either gender. During a session Friday on young entrepreneurs, only one of the seven business owners on stage was a woman. Caryn Shick, president and CEO of Opportunity Analysts, suggested one reason for this dearth of women creating their own businesses might have something to do with an aversion to risk, a desire to be more practical or safe with career choices.
7. Don’t just look down the street, across town, or into a neighboring state for fresh leads or the talent to operate your business. Go global. This is a favorite topic for, and it deserves repeating here. Online employment sites like ODesk can help you find contractors in other parts of the world who may be more cost effective. British Airways is in the second year of its Face-to-Face program to give U.S. entrepreneurs foreign trips to help them grow their business. And groups like the Entrepreneurs’ Organization have programs dedicated to small-scale globalization. The world is getting smaller all the time. And that’s a great thing.

8. My reporter friends may hate me for saying this, but say it I will: Entrepreneurs ask better questions than journalists. During the two days I spent with the two dozen entrepreneurs under the age of 30, I felt like I was the one holding a press conference. They asked question after question about who I was, what my profession was all about, where I saw opportunities, and who my most meaningful interviews were. They peppered each other with similar questions and went deeper to ask probing financial questions without fear of offending anyone. To be an entrepreneur, you have to be all the things journalists should be: inquisitive, curious, and determined to get answers. To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to make sure you listen to the answers and take appropriate action.

9. Even if you ask the right questions and get good answers, you might feel a bit overwhelmed by it all and may be in need of some motivation. Here’s one way to get it: Talk to a young entrepreneur. Their energy and drive is simply intoxicating. A prime example is Arel Moodie, one of the partners in the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour, a company whose primary purpose is sending successful business owners in their 20s to college campuses around the country. Moodie served as master-of-ceremonies for Friday’s summit, getting the audience to high-five each other in crazy ways, and peppering his remarks with multiple uses of the word awesome. Moodie’s spirit is infectious, and an entrepreneur of any age would gain a boost by being around him.

10. Entrepreneurship breeds more entrepreneurs. Sure, it’s great that the nation’s universities are developing more programs for those who want to create startups. And it’s a welcome sign that Washington is waking up to the power of the entrepreneur. But perhaps the best proponent for taking the plunge is to see your classmate, neighbor, or sibling be successful with a startup. If jumping in all the way is too much of a perceived gamble, try developing a smaller-scale, new company as a sideline to your 9-to-5 job. This trend even has its own, somewhat awkward name: sidepreneurship.

11. All of this leads to one final observation. And there’s nothing special or unique or new to this one. Nike had it right with its corporate slogan. Stop thinking about potentially starting your own business and just do it. It won’t be easy, it won’t be instantly successful, and it won’t come without a healthy amount of mistakes and failure. But it will be all yours—and it could just be the best thing you’ve ever done.Published Monday, February 21, 2011


04 Aug


College Mogul Speaking at Incuba8 Entrepreneur Conference

August 4, 2009 | By |

COLLEGE MOGUL- Seed capital firms and incubators like TechStars, DreamIt Ventures, and Capital Factory aren’t the only type of programs that continuing to open up for young entrepreneurs. There’s plenty of others (just to name a couple of recent ones I’ve come across) including new meetup groups such as Dart Boston, a new initiative to enable students to interact and tour start-ups that’s being lead by Scott Kirsner from the Boston Globe, and a new program in mid Michigan called Incuba8 that I’ll be speaking at.

Incuba8’s goal is to inspire and encourage entrepreneurial activity in the area for those under the age of 30. Caryn Shick, one of the co-founders of the events, explained to me that “there’s a lot technology development in the area, but most sit on shelfs because there aren’t enough entrepreneurs to commercialize the technology.” This goes along with my theory that we’ll need an increasing amount of entrepreneurs to reap the benefits of the rapid pace of technological development.
Read more…

01 Oct


Community Canvas: New event hopes to attract large crowds on Saturday

October 1, 2010 | By |

MIDLAND DAILY NEWS- Community Canvas — a family-friendly celebration that connects Midland’s artistic, musical, theatrical and scientific communities — will make its debut from 1 to 10 p.m. Saturday at the end of Ashman Street near the Farmer’s Market by the Tridge.
The idea behind the event, which is free and open to the public, is to bring the community together by transforming downtown Midland into a canvas where talented individuals can share their skills to energize community members and celebrate diversity throughout the day.

The daylong festival is organized by dozens of local residents and business and organization leaders throughout the Midland area including Opportunity Analysts LLC, a new entrepreneurship venture located in Midland.

“This event is a collaborative effort of many people in the area,” said Caryn Shick, president and CEO of Opportunity Analysts. “The day will be remembered as a day where the community came together, drew closer and saw a new side of Midland’s colorful character.”

Many attractions are planned including an art exhibition, live music, do-it-yourself chalk art, hourly dance lessons, interactive science demonstrations and local dance and improv performances.

“It’s an interactive day where the community can come together,” Shick said. “There will be musicians playing all day. We’ll have swing and Latin dancing lessons with a big dance in the evening. People will be able to experience the area’s diversity through many activities.”

To learn more about the event, visit or contact Caryn Shick at (989) 430-3518 or [email protected].
Published: Thursday, September 30, 2010 2:06 pm (Click here to go to article)

06 Aug


Entrepreneurship highlighted at Incuba8 2009 in Midland

August 6, 2009 | By |

VISION  MID MICHIGAN- Several mid Michigan organizations and companies are joining forces for Incuba8 2009, which is a series of three entrepreneurial conferences spread over eight days.

Events are slated from Aug. 10-18 in Midland at Northwood University, the Mid Michigan Innovation Center and the Alden B. Dow Creativity Center. The three workshops are: a concept crafting boot camp, business launch weekend, and business set-up conference.

Incuba8 2009 is hosted startup consultant Caryn Shick of Opportunity Analysts, LLC, along with Midland Tomorrow, the Mid-Michigan Innovation Center, Northwood University- Alden B. Dow Creativity Center, and an array of entrepreneurs from all over the country.

Attendees can how Alex Lindahl founded, and how a variety of other successful entrepreneurs have built their businesses from scratch. Below are the breakdowns of the events, from the event’s Web site,

Area Innovation Showcase, Aug. 10, 10:15- 11:30 a.m., Alden B. Dow Creativity Center
Meet the area’s most creative innovators, services providers , inventors, and product creators. Showcase invention or business idea to angel investors, customers, and other entrepreneurs at the first Area Innovation Showcase.

Concept Crafting Boot Camp, Aug. 10-12, Alden B. Dow Creativity Center
A workshop that helps a person create a viable and feasible business proposal by helping one walk through the ideation process needed to outline the startup’s purpose, strategy, and revenue model. This workshop targets motivated entrepreneurs under 30. Suggested donation: $65 (scholarships available upon qualification)

Networking event, Aug. 12, 7 p.m., 2470 E. NewCastle Lane, Midland
A networking event creating connections among smart, driven people from all walks of life in Mid-Michigan to build a better community and world together. Suggested donation: $5

Mid Michigan Innovators Speakers Series, Alex Lindahl, Co-Founder of College Mogul ”“ Aug. 13, 4:30 p.m., The Sloan Building at Northwood University
Come hear a young entrepreneur share his journey of founding and the Boston chapter of Ultra Light Startups.

Business launch weekend, Aug. 13-16, The Sloan Building at Northwood University
Develop your own business concept with the help of mentors and experts targeting motivated individuals under 30. Don’t have a business concept? Jump on board with some of the hottest new concepts in Michigan and contribute your talent to making them a reality.

Business setup conference, Aug. 18, 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Mid Michigan Innovation Center
Have all of your startup questions answered by the experts.This event is focused on walking startups through the organizational structure, legal & accounting setup, intellectual capital strategies, and licensing your idea. Attendees will receive instruction from Intellectual Property Specialists, Start-up Lawyers, Accounting Specialists and more. Suggested donation: $100.

Published 8/3/2009 in Vision Mid Michigan

If you or someone you know is interested or is considering a business start-up check out the Web site or contact Caryn Shick at [email protected] or 989-430-3518.

06 Oct


Inaugural Community Canvas cold, but still a success, organizers say

October 6, 2010 | By |

TRACY BURTON OF MIDLAND DAILY NEWS- Published: Monday, October 4, 2010 10:00 am (Click here to go to article)
The word “WELCOME” chalked in orange bubble letters took up the width of the street as dozens of Midland residents crossed over, entering the first Community Canvas festival Saturday. A pink message followed: “Let’s color Midland Together!”

And that is just what children and adults alike did. By the end of the day, chalked drawings of love messages, suns, birds, clouds and more filled much of the street downtown near the Tridge.

The festival, planned by a group of area college students and other community residents, aimed to offer a family-friendly celebration connecting Midland’s artistic, musical, theatrical and scientific communities together.

Despite chilly weather, many strolled, played swords or even danced around during the different activities.

The day included many attractions including an art exhibition, live music, do-it-yourself chalk art, hourly dance lessons, interactive science demonstrations and a local dance and improv performance known as “Flash Mob.”

“Flash Mob is when people just break out into dance moves and all of a sudden you just have a big mob of people dancing,” said 8-year-old Luca Jolly of Midland. “It is really amazing.”

A few short minutes later Luca was showing off her moves with about 30 other dancers to an upbeat mix of music.

Onlookers taped with their video cameras or cell phones amid claps, whistles and cheers.

“This is awesome,” said Gabrielle Zimmer of Midland. “It makes me want to dance.”

Jenifer Sisco and her daughter, Rachel, 6, were enjoying the day, too.

“We’re out on a mom and daughter date,” Sisco said while watching Rachel write her name in blue and pink chalk. “It’s fun. It’s giving us a variety of things to do. All of the volunteers have been awesome, too.”

Charlie Beacom, one of the event’s organizers, said the weather may have kept some away, but he was still happy with the turnout.

“At least we’re having our first go at this because we’re planning on doing it again next year,” said Beacom, a Delta College student. “I think this could be a really big event.”

18 Nov


Incuba8LABS in Midland offers space for makers

November 18, 2013 | By |

MID MICHIGAN’S SECOND WAVE- Incuba8LABS, in downtown Midland, will make its debut in November or December, flinging its doors open to the public with much more than desks, conference rooms and office equipment for members and guests to rent daily, weekly, monthly or annually.

Read More

16 Aug


Inspire Michigan Radio Interview- August 16, 2009

August 16, 2009 | By |

INSPIRE MICHIGAN RADIO- Caryn Shick, featured on WDTK AM1400 -The Inspire Michigan radio program between 5:00pm & 6:00pm August 16, 2009.

08 Aug


New Program Aims to Help People with Big Business Ideas

August 8, 2009 | By |

MIDLAND DAILY NEWS- A 22-year-old Northwood University grad who already has a master’s degree and two businesses to her name has helped create a slate of events for others who have business ideas but aren’t sure what to do with them. 

Incuba8 is a summer event that starts Monday and has five components. People may attend all or some of them.

Concept Crafting Boot Camp will help would-be entrepreneurs create viable business proposals, an Entrepreneur Meetup is a networking event for people in all walks of life and the Business Launch Weekend helps people develop their business concepts with the help of experts. A Business Setup Weekend brings answers to startup questions from experts.

A dovetailing event, the Mid Michigan Innovators Speakers Series, features Alex Lindahl, cofounder of, a site that tracks innovations and business startups of college students.

Spearheading this activity, with the help of sponsors and other young people, is 22-year-old Caryn Shick, a Midland native who started college at age 16 and earned her master’s in business administration from Northwood University in December. She’s hooked up with her first clients as founder of Opportunity Analysts, a business consulting firm, and is starting an Internet company called, which works to make local Christian groups and events “findable” online, she said.

Incub8 seeks to unite people with great business ideas who are unsure of where to take them, according to program literature. Although some events are geared toward people under 30 who are passionate about their business ideas, the activities are open to anyone interested.

“I found lots of people with great ideas but there wasn’t a program that was specifically aimed toward helping young entrepreneurs get going,” Shick said. “This is a way of starting to cultivate a community amongst young people who have ideas.”

After graduating from Northwood, Shick traveled to other states to meet with people in organizations that support entrepreneurs. She found one meetup group at the house of Ryan Allis, who started iContact, a successful company that develops e-mail marketing and surveying software. There, she learned of the need to link people in science and technology companies. She recognized that Midland, with its focus on the chemical industry, has strengths for starting new businesses. She returned home and started hosting her own meetups, attracting from 26 to 40 people including recent college graduates, angel investors and people who already have started businesses. She found kindred spirits in various age groups.

At the meetups, owners of startup businesses give seven-minute presentations that include time for questions. “Content-based” speakers such as experts in creating websites or maintaining ownership of ideas have a little longer — 10 minutes — o present their information.

“Everyone introduces themselves,” Shick said. Attendees leave business cards on a table for an exchange. “Birds of a feather” calls ask for a quick show of hands of people with similar interests, giving them a chance to group together.

Organizers ask donations for the seminars. The donation for the boot camp, for example, is $65, $100 for the business setup and $65 for the business launch weekend.

For more information, visit

By Cheryl Wade
of the Daily News
[email protected]
Published: Friday, August 7, 2009 11:03 AM EDT (Click here to go to article)

04 Aug


Weeklong Business Creation Event Coming To Midland

August 4, 2009 | By |

GREAT LAKES IT REPORT- A tenant at the Mid-Michigan Innovation Center in Midland, Opportunity Analysts LLC, has partnered with several area organizations and companies to launch a week long intensive program focused on concept generation and new business creation called Incuba8. Read more…

14 Nov


What Is The Future Of Entrepreneurship Education?

November 14, 2011 | By |

MICHAEL SIMMONS AND MALLA HARIDAT OF YOUNGENTREPRENEUR- Seven top young entrepreneurs and leaders in the entrepreneurship education movement shared their thoughts during a panel at the Future of Entrepreneurship Education Summit (February 18) at theUniversity of Central Florida. The summit, created by Extreme Entrepreneurship Education (also led by young entrepreneurs), gathered over 130 top entrepreneurship education leaders from government, foundations, organizations, media, and corporations to talk about the future of the field.

Their panel was moderated by Donna Fenn, author of UpStarts!, and included:

  • Ryan Allis of iContact (earned over $40 million in 2010). Ryan built the firm from its start in July 2003 to its current size of 240 employees and 67,000.
  • Scott Gerber of the Young Entrepreneur Council. Scott is a serial entrepreneur and Scott is the most-syndicated young entrepreneurship columnist in the world.
  • Trevor Owens of the Lean Startup Machine (LSM). LSM teaches entrepreneurs how to rapidly improve their businesses through a customer feedback process called customer development.
  • Chris McCann of Startup Digest. Startup Digest publishes a weekly email newsletter of the best events in 57 cities and 6 Universities to over 100,000 subscribers.
  • Caryn Shick of Incuba8. Incuba8 is a series of initiatives that inspire and generate entrepreneurial activity that cultivate cultures of action, fully vetted ideas and make concepts a reality.
  • Travis Kiefer of Gumball Capital. Gumball is a social enterprise that has challenged over 3,000 students at 25 schools to raise maximum revenue and awareness on poverty alleviation using only $27 and 27 gumballs.
  • Ankur Jain of the Kairos Society. Kairos is a student run, not for profit foundation created to tap the power of the brightest undergraduate entrepreneurs to develop business innovations with global impact.

Watch the Full Panel

To watch the full, 1-hour panel, visit the following links:

Visions for the Field

Starting with the end in mind, below are the participants’ personal visions for the field of entrepreneurship education:

  • Entrepreneurship education and financial literacy should be required for all high schools.
  • There should be viable opportunities as entrepreneurs should be given to those who are not college bound.
  • There should be less business plan competitions and more events where youth can test their ideas.
  • The overall density of entrepreneurs should increase so entrepreneurs don’t feel alone.
  • Students should have their context shifted so they realize they can create businesses that solve big social problems.


How do we get there? Below are highlights on strategies panelists provided for aspiring entrepreneurs and those supporting aspiring entrepreneurs:

  • Reaching the first 100k is the hardest.  But once you reach this level, it becomes easier to scale.  You’ll need to spend three to four years to reach the $1 million revenue and ten years to reach the $100 million mark.
  • It’s important to create business models that aren’t based solely on raising money.  Instead, create a solid product or service and generate sales.  The pay-off should not be the goal of venture capital but rather the creation of a solid business model.
  • It’s not about the best idea but the EXECUTION of the idea.  Know the landscape of your industry and your company and know how to play the game of business.
  • It’s important to learn how to sell.  You don’t need a product but you will need to have masterful sales skills. Get started selling before you focus on building. Published Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Written by Michael Simmons and Malla Haridat. Michael Simmons is the co-founder of the Future of Entrepreneurship Education Summit and Extreme Entrepreneurship Education. Malla Haridat is the founder of New Designs for Life and a blogger at