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Thursday, October 18, 2012 - Entrepreneur-YOU Women's Business Plan Competition Winners Announced
Three Michigan women entrepreneurs won cash and in-kind services during a business plan competition at Walsh College held Thursday, October 11. A collaborative effort by the Michigan Women’s Foundation, Walsh College, Inforum and Huntington Bank, the Entrepreneur-YOU business competition drew 125 initial applicants. Ten finalists presented and pitched their business plans before a distinguished panel of local business experts selected for their business savvy and professional and entrepreneurial experience.

Capturing first place and winning $15,000 plus in-kind support was Ann Arbor resident Angelique Johnson, interim CEO and CTO of MEMStim LLC. Her company developed a fully automated manufacturing process for electrode lead production employing nanofabrication of thin films. MEMStim LLC intends to disrupt the neurostimulator market with a new automated nanofabrication manufacturing method to replace hand-assembly.

“My company is focused on implantable nerve stimulators to replace lost nerve function. Our intent is to treat conditions such as chronic pain, hearing loss and Parkinson’s disease,” said Johnson.

Johnson, who recently earned her PhD in electrical engineering, is the inventor of MEMStim's patent-pending technology. She has 10 years of experience working on bridging the gap between research-based devices and biocompatible neurostimulation devices. 

Second place went to Susan Land Sprentall of Wixom, who received $10,000 and in-kind support. Her company, SurClean, Inc. has developed disruptive technology to selectively remove paint and other surface coatings from multiple types of surfaces. SurClean's proprietary system represents the next generation of surface coating removal.

Sprentall is CEO and owner of American Laser Enterprises, providing manufacturing and technical engineering services to laser equipment OEMs, system integrators, distributors, and end users. She is a serial entrepreneur with 25 years of extensive technical sales and marketing experience as well as 13 years in the laser industry.

“Laser technology is an exciting field and developing the SurClean product is rewarding since we are not only reducing cost, but eliminating hazardous waste while creating a safe environment for the operator,” said Sprentall.  “Placing in this competition helps build credibility with the investment community knowing our business plan has been vetted by a reputable group of business leaders.”

Winning third place in the Entrepreneur-YOU competition and receiving $5,000 plus in-kind support was Angela McCommons. Her company, Kids Kruiser LLC is a premium transportation service; serving youth ages 3 - 18 in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti areas of Southeastern Michigan.

Kids Kruiser was established to provide a safe, reliable, child-friendly transportation service for young children and teens, and alleviate this growing stressor for parents and their children. McCommons, president and sole owner of Kids Kruiser, has professional experience at Chrysler Group LLC in problem solving, quality control and manufacturing resident engineering, as well as consulting her self-employed husband in growing his successful barber business.

 “The weekly coaching I received during this competition process helped me get on track with a solid business plan,” said McCommons. “This competition came at a critical time for my business, as I get ready to celebrate Kids Kruiser’s second anniversary. I can see myself being successful faster, because I now have a deeper understanding of the finances of my business.”

The competition was designed to showcase ideas and uncover the best and brightest business concepts of Michigan women entrepreneurs, while providing support and feedback not typically available for women launching or growing a business. Women entrepreneurs at any stage of business, in any industry and at any age were encouraged to apply.

About Entrepreneur-YOU

Entrepreneur-YOU is a collaborative initiative between Michigan Women’s Foundation, Walsh College, Inforum and Huntington Bank to help women become successful business owners.  Among its varied business-building activities, Entrepreneur-YOU conducts all-day workshops - taught by leading business professionals - to teach female entrepreneurs about the resources necessary and available to open, run and grow a business. 

Photo by: Danielle Volker

Winners of the Entrepreneur-YOU Business Plan Pitch Competition from left: second place winner Susan Land Sprentall of SurClean, third place winner Angela McCommons of Kids Kruiser LLC and first place winner Angelique Johnson of MEMStim LLC.
 


Photo by:  Danielle Volker

Winners and competition collaborators of the Entrepreneur-YOU Business Plan Pitch Competition are from left: second place winner Susan Land Sprentall of SurClean, Walsh College President and CEO Stephanie Bergeron; Terry Barclay, president and CEO of Inforum; third place winner Angela McCommons of Kids Kruiser LLC; Scott Woliffis, senior vice president, business banking market manager, Huntington Bank; first place winner Angelique Johnson of MEMStim LLC; Michigan Women’s Foundation President and CEO Carolyn Cassin.