Walsh College

Member News

2017 Member News:

Get Your Game On:  Leanna Haun owner of Picasso’s Grapevine has just the game for your next picnic or tail gate party – Corn Hole Bean Bag. Sign up for a DIY Class or order a custom one. Visit her website for more painting events to liven up the summer days.

No Need to Shop at Hallmark:  Need a card for Father’s Day or one for that special grad? Contact Mary Margolis of Hearts on Paper for a one-of-a kind heartfelt card.  Keep in mind, that Mary can do grad cards using your student’s school colors for an extra personal touch!

Time to Sow the Seeds:  Now is the time to prepare your garden, so visit honorary LaunchPad member Katie Flickinger of  The Garden Hoard either via her website or at various Farmers’ Markets in the Brighton, Howell and Detroit.

Honorary LaunchPad member Deidra Hogue, owner of The Traveling Pants Company, is one of the many entrepreneurs banking on the QLine to increase business. Deidra is sharing space in the New Center area in what's called the North End Collective. Deidra appeared on Joanne Purtan's "Mom's a Genius" segment for WXYZ TV along with the three other women entrepreneurs sharing the space. The broadcast can be viewed here.

LaunchPad Member Tony Mitchell was featured in Forbes magazine because he has averaged 24 percent for the last 10 years making him less of a risk now than Buffett was in his early years. Read the article here.

Walsh College LaunchPad Member Armando Doku, founder of Avaneer Dental Studio, was one of three  finalists in the Startup Business to Watch category for the Macomb County Business Awards.  During the awards breakfast on February 14, United Shore Professional Baseball League was announced the winner. Congratulations to Armando on being selected a finalist from 10 nominees in the category!

On January 12 via PRWEB, LaunchPad Member Patty Werner of Baby Sleep All Night, LLC announced the launch of her new website and landing page that feature her unique methodology for helping babies sleep through the night. View the article here

2016 Member News:

Congratulations to Alum and LaunchPad member Julie Andreae, co-founder of Secure Beginnings who won the 2016 Best of MichBusiness in the Manufacturing Inspiration category.  She was honored at the awards banquet on Thursday, December 1st at the MGM Grand Hotel.  Also, Julie and her sister, Dr. Margie Andreae, a pediatrician, are proud to announce that after rigorous testing, the Secure Beginnings air permeable crib mattress meets and exceeds all the safety standards described in the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Safe Sleep Guidelines and is the preferred crib mattress for any parent concerned about their infant rolling prone.  The official press release can be found here.

Remember to support local small businesses on Black Friday and Cyber Monday and include the following Walsh College LaunchPad businesses on your list of places to shop: Walsh College LaunchPad member, Leanna Haun, wants you to impress yourself and your friends at Picasso’s Grapevine, an art studio offering private and open session painting parties.

LaunchPad member, Steve Johnson of Motor City Brew Tours will be offering black Friday specials on merchandise, books and gift certificates. Learn more at: http://MotorCityBrewTours.com.  Motor City Brew Tours is a fully insured tour operator. Steve and his team love Michigan made beer and would like to help you experience all of the great places making them in Michigan via bike, bus or by walking! His tour guides are fully versed on the entire Michigan beer scene. They interact with your group and make sure everyone has a great time.

Based on the feedback we received from attendees, our Walshpreneur Showcase & Forum on on Thursday, October 27th was a huge success.  Participants were enthused about seeing the diverse businesses and received some ‘golden nugget’ learnings from the panel discussions. They also enjoyed listening to a fireside chat with a LaunchPad member who authored a book, demoing the features of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset in the Cyber Lab, as well as being entertained by an amazing magician!

The LaunchPad staff enjoys receiving news from our LaunchPad members when they’re excited to share their accomplishments with us.  Whether these entrepreneurs met with our advisors for one consulting meeting or several, they all are special to us and we proudly congratulate them on their successes.

Congratulations to LaunchPad Member and alum Shaniece Bennett, MBA, CPA upon receiving the Achievement Award from the Detroit Chapter of NABA, Inc. (National Association of Black Accountants) on June 2nd.  Shaniece is the owner of Accutrak Consulting and Accounting Services.  She founded Accutrak Services, a full service accounting firm, as a means to offer her experiences and passion for financial accounting to assist others achieve their business, financial, and personal goals. If you are seeking accounting solutions for business, contact her and see why she is more than just a CPA.

Walsh College LaunchPad Member and Alum Steve Johnson of Motor City Brew Tours has written a book titled:  Detroit Beer.  The official press release can be viewed here.  Steve is the owner and founder of Motor City Brew Tours, a tour company that provides guided tours to Michigan breweries.  So if you’re looking for fun weekend events, check out his website.

Baby Sleep All Night founder and LaunchPad Member Patty Werner was interviewed by Amy Andrews of Fox 2’s On the Nine and discussed mistakes that parents may make when it comes to helping their baby sleep through the night.  View her enlightening interview here.  Patty, is Michigan’s Certified Baby Sleep Consultant and would love to help you guide your baby to learning the best way to get a full night of peaceful sleep every night!

Walsh College LaunchPad member, Judy Farmer of Great Pilates Now received certification in ‘Relief Through Rolling’.  This is a new technique that provides her clients with an effective self-care option that compliments her Pilates practice.  Visit Judy’s website to try Pilates free for 15 days!

Liberation12, LLC is a social enterprise co-founded by LaunchPad member Angela Stabel-Holcomb that focuses on using sustainable materials to create unique handmade products.  Currently, Liberation12 is connected with a local nonprofit in Pontiac that concentrates on rehabilitating sex trafficking survivors.  The team’s long term goals are to establish a stable market for their products and hire people who have survived sex trafficking to further empower their journey toward healing.  If you are interested in supporting their cause or purchasing a unique gift, please visit their website at: http://liberationtwelve.weebly.com/.

LaunchPad member Allen Rouse has expanded his Extraordinary Cleaning Services business during the past year.  As a business owner, he has realized that “word of mouth”, trustworthiness, integrity, professionalism, a well prepared portfolio and a hand-shake are the traits that are increasing his revenue more than his website!  So if you’re in search of a reliable cleaning company for your home or office, check out his website at http://www.extraordinarycleaningservices.com/ or visit his Facebook page.  

Listedmycar.com was created by LaunchPad member and car enthusiast Enrique Colville for those who are frustrated with dealer’s unfair practices. Listedmycar.com is The Private Seller Marketplace, the only one without dealers. Listedmycar.com website and mobile app allows buying and selling used cars and parts from peers and enthusiasts. His mission is to be the easiest and safest website for individual buyers and sellers to transact without overpaying or losing money by providing them with the right tools.  Want to know more? Check out the website:  www.listedmycar.com.

LaunchPad member and alum Anthony Majeweski founder of Read with Max, LLC is receiving the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from Western Michigan University’s Haworth College of Business, where he earned his undergraduate degree in Behavioral Psychology.  Each year the Haworth College of Business honors alumni and industry partners with awards for outstanding leadership in business and service.  Congratulations to Anthony on this outstanding achievement

One of the reasons that entrepreneurship is so amazing is looking back and seeing the growth and success of a business is often directly related to the personal growth of the entrepreneur behind it.  Here’s two stories of Walsh College LaunchPad entrepreneurs whose businesses are growing….

Never a dull moment for entrepreneur and Walsh College LaunchPad Member Leanna Haun owner of Picasso’s Grapevine.  She has expanded her Clarkston business space to offer two new classes:  "Pallet Board Sign Classes" and “Paint in the Dark/Glow in the Dark” Paint Sessions.  Both are great ideas for a kid’s birthday party as well as for an adult!!  Reserve a spot today by visiting: https://picassosgrapevine.com/.

Walsh College LaunchPad Member Anthony Majewski author of the Read With Max book series is excited to announce that his award winning children’s book DOGS MOVE TOO! has been made into an audio book and is distributed through Simon & Schuster:  Bean Books.  The book was produced by Center Sound Records where Max is a signed artist, narrated by Benjamin Parks, includes great sound effects and a few children’s songs from his award winning album “Sing With Max”. The audio book can be downloaded from:  http://www.baen.com/read-with-max-dogs-move-too.html

Over 155 ‘Make It Better’ Competition entries were submitted from various high school and community college students within Southeast Michigan!  The judges definitely have their work cut out for them and have begun reviewing all the submissions.  Stay tuned for a list of the winners to be announced in April.

2015 Member News:


Our Walshpreneur Fair on Monday, November16th celebrating Walsh College LaunchPad’s 5-Year Anniversary was a huge success!  The inspiring Q&A session by John Latella, the former CEO of Garden Fresh Gourmet, led by Don Jones, Senior Program Officer of NEI of Southeast Michigan was very informative and entertaining.  Interactive displays by our LaunchPad ventures allowed the event guests to enjoy practicing Pilates with Great Pilates Now, painting a picture with Picasso’s Grapevine and practicing money management skills by playing the Oakland County Cash Flow Game, just to name a few.  Take a look back at the LaunchPad’s past 5 years by viewing the YouTube video here.  You may also recognize some faces in this short video of congratulatory remarks:  https://youtu.be/mvxL0ulZh7w.

LaunchPad has a new logo and name.  We are now known as Walsh College LaunchPad!  Name change only, services remain the same. Walsh College LaunchPad has assisted nearly 300 Walsh students or alumni who have wanted to explore entrepreneurship as a career choice.

Walsh College LaunchPad member Julie Andreae co-founder of Secure Beginnings has advanced to the next round of consideration to ultimately appear on ABC's Shark Tank, and Secure Beginnings sales have tripled in the past few months!  More details about her success can be found in the dbusiness article.  Also if interested in more information about Secure Beginnings’ products, visit the website at:  http://www.securebeginnings.com/.

A beer bike ride hosted by LaunchPad member Steve Johnson of Motor City Brew Tours raised $3,100 for the Paint Creek Trail. Read the article that appeared in the July 1, 2015 edition of the Oakland Press here. To register for one of many tours that Steve offers visit:  http://www.motorcitybrewtours.com.

LaunchPad member and alumni Leanna Haun was such a natural in front of the camera and offered a wealth of painting knowledge when she appeared on her local cable TV show:  It’s a Good Day When…that she now has a her own local cable TV show:  Painting with…Picasso’s Grapevine.  Grab a paint brush and canvas and watch her first episode here.


LaunchPad member, alumni and ‘fashionista’ Julie Wardi of 325BLVD is featured in the February 15th edition of the Oakland Press.  Julie’s fashion philosophy is “What makes you different makes you beautiful.”  Her mission at 325BLVD is to allow individuals to express themselves using their own style.  Read the full article here and be sure to shop her website!




Are you or a family member or friend expecting a baby soon?  This article: “Secure Beginnings Offers Air-Permeable Crib Mattress to Combat SIDS” which appeared in Xconomy on January 14th is a must read for new parents.  Walsh College LaunchPad member Julie Andreae, is founder of Secure Beginnings.


2014 Member News:

LaunchPad Member and alumni Denise Kulak of other Fun Stuff! was featured in the December 19th edition of The Oakland Press.  Read the article: “Birmingham Shop Owner Grows Business While Helping Other Entrepreneurs” here.


On Saturday, December 13th, Walsh College alumni and Blackstone LaunchPad members Julie Andreae of Secure Beginnings, LLC and Jason Beale of RegainGo.com were guests on the Startup Nation Radio show.  The topic discussed was:  Are you born an entrepreneur or can you be taught?  What all the guests agreed on was the fact that every entrepreneur, born or taught, has rough edges that they can improve.  Listen to the panel discussion to find out if you’re a natural entrepreneur and how to spring it into action here!  Startup Nation can be heard at 2:00pm on Saturday afternoons on WJR 760 AM.  

Walsh College alum and Blackstone LaunchPad member Anthony Mitchell is featured in the current Forbes Magazine 2015 Investment Guide as one of more than a dozen “Unknown All Stars of Personal Finance”. These individuals have cutout the middleman and outdid the pros in investing, real estate, tax planning and philanthropy. Check out Anthony’s personal strategy: the Peter Lynch approach to stock picking along with other strategies here


September 2014

 The following Blackstone LaunchPad businesses were nominated for the 1st Annual Best of MichBusiness Awards:  Avaneer, Doce B Shop, Fun Stuff!, Motor City Brew Tours, Picasso’s Grapevine, Read with MaxRuma Organics and The Work. Winners will be recognized at a reception on November 18th at the Sound Board inside Motor City Casino.  Good luck to the nominees!

Alumna, Danielle Cecconi, and her business Doce Brigadeiro has been featured in several articles. Check out the list:
- Brazilian Native Brings Sweet Business to Oakland County | The Oakland Press (09/02/14) 
- Brazilian Native Brings Sweet Business to Michigan | Daily Tribune (09/02/14)
- Entrepreneur Program at Walsh Launches Sweet Initiatives | Troy Times (08/28/14)
- Entrepreneur Program at Walsh Launches Sweet Initiatives | C and G News (08/27/14)
- Brazilian Immigrants  Launch Pastry Biz, Doce Brigadeiro | SE MI Start-Up (08/22/14)
- Brazilian Immigrants Launch Pastry Biz, Doce Brigadeiro | metromode (08/21/14)
- Confectioners Offer Brazilian Gourmet Sweets | dbusiness (08/19/14)

Announcing two new Blackstone LaunchPad ventures open for business:  If you're looking for natural personal care products, check out Ruma Organics and read their story here.  Also, if you're interested in art to purchase or to create, visit Picasso's Grapevine.  That business was featured in the Troy Patch and other Patches.

May 2014

Confidence in the Michigan economy and a passion for controlling personal economic destiny guided Stephanie Zanon as she opened her new venture Ahoy! Marine Specialist - six months after receiving her bachelor of science in business management from Walsh College. Now, as she marks the one-year anniversary of her marine brokering company, she reflects on a year filled with valuable lessons and successes that exceeded her expectations. Located in a small marina at 32575 South River Road in Harrison Township, Zanon’s company began business reaching out to customers beyond the sale with a full line of services including marine transporting, color restoration and waxing, custom vinyl and wraps, and bottom painting. Custom marine electronics and interiors were also part of its offerings. “Our goal was to build a continuous relationship with our customers,” said Zanon, who is joined in business by her husband Jim and their friend Tom Sepesi. “Most boat brokering relationships end with the sale of the boat, but we knew we needed to offer services after the sale to stay in business during the long Michigan winter months.”

To help support her business goals, Zanon took advantage of the services offered through Walsh’s Blackstone LaunchPad program. “You can dream, but you want to make sure you have a solid business plan and are following the correct procedures when you launch a business,” said Zanon.  “Blackstone LaunchPad provided us with insightful brainstorming, great contacts for business, insurance, and legal representation – and helped us through the state registration process.”

Zanon’s hard work and planning paid off. “We haven’t had to put any new money into the company since July; it has been self-sustaining since then,” exclaimed Zanon. “I’ve been amazed at our progress, we were only operational for a few months last summer before we had to get through the winter.” Zanon’s early success has enabled the company to expand. Ahoy! Marine Specialist now rents out wells surrounding the marina and offers winter storage. Her advice to other would be entrepreneurs … “just plan for the unexpected,” she exclaimed. “Our first boat transport should have taken three or four days, and ended up taking two weeks. We had to get permits in every state, broke down twice and ended up stranded over a holiday.”

Check out the article that appeared in the Oakland Press and the Daily Tribune announcing the Make It Better Competition winners here.

January 2014

Deadline to enter the Make It Better Competition is Friday, February 28th at 5:00pm.
Click here for all the details and please share this information with family and friends.

Back by popular demand! Walsh College, Michigan Women's Foundation and Inforum bring you the 3rd Annual Entrepreneur-YOU Conference on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 from 8:00am – 2:00pm at the Walsh Troy Campus.   Register here.

The Buy Michigan Now Festival is taking place August 1st – 3rd in Northville.  This family-friendly event includes tasty treats, street vendors, live music, and children’s activities, all highlighting Michigan-based businesses and Michigan-made products.  For information about showcasing your business click here.


On Friday, January 31, Walsh College participated in Junior Achievements's National Groundhog Job Shadow Day. Thirty students from Osborn Evergreen High School visited the campus and listened to presentations from six speakers. Carol Glynn, Director of the Blackstone LaunchPad, actively engaged the students in a discussion about the traits of an entrepreneur, shared this video with them, and then helped them solve the Launch a Business crossword puzzle.

About a dozen alumni, students and friends ventured the inclement weather to attend the Walsh College Alumni Associations's Evening Networking and LearningEvent on January 16.  The topic was:  Elevator Pitch. Carol Glynn, Director of Blackstone LaunchPad, along with LaunchPad Adviser, Brian Renner provided in an interactive instructional presentation on fomring and delivering an elevator pitch. 


2013 Member News:

In celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Walsh College opened their Troy campus to the community Monday, November 18 for the third annual Walshpreneur Fair.  Approximately 20 decorative booths showcasing products and services of several Blackstone LaunchPad Members’ businesses were set up in the Barry Center Lobby and included; Growable Greetings: environmentally friendly greeting cards that become flowers when planted; Fun Stuff!: a whimsical gift boutique; Great Pilates Now: virtual Pilates; Ahoy! Marine Specialist: a boat brokering company; IBS Global Consulting: an international business development company; Blackforge Tools and Equipment: a company providing an arsenal of tools, equipment and knowledge to meet specific job needs and budget; and SMFerguson Photography: a photographer who uniquely captures milestones moments of  life.  These new businesses represent only a fraction of the over 200 ventures that have been mentored during the last three years through the Walsh College Blackstone LaunchPad program. 

Joining Walsh College President and CEO Stephanie Bergeron as special guest speakers was Larry Gardner, president of the consulting firm Lawrence Gardner Associates and Vince Thomas, founder and chairman of Billhighway.  In addition to celebrating the accomplishments of newly minted entrepreneurs, Walsh College Blackstone LaunchPad Director Carol Glynn designed the event to provide attendees with insight on starting and maintaining a viable business.

Blackstone LaunchPad Member, Armando Doku, celebrated the ribbon cutting ceremony of his business, Avaneer Dental Studio, on Thursday, September 26th.  Avaneer Dental Studio is located at 448480 Utica Road in Utica, MI and Utica City officials facilitated the event, which was attended by family, friends, dental hygenists and the Blackstone LaunchPad team.  Avaneer Dental Studio will provide dentists with a complete line of cosmetically pleasing ceramic restorations, including crowns, bridges and veneers.  Although Armando spent 10 years working and learning the technical aspects of a dental laboratory, he needed assistance learning business operations and utilized support from the Blackstone LaunchPad team.  "The most exciting part of becoming an entrepreneur is realizing your ideas come to fruition," Doku said.  For more information, visit:  http://avaneerdental.com.

On September 24th a crowd of about 75 people witnessed business pitches of 15 women at Walsh College in the Michigan Women Foundation's second annual Entrepreneur-YOU competition for $75,000 in venture funding donated by Huntington Bank, The Ford Motor Company Fund and The Kellogg Foundation.  Carol Glynn and Brian Renner of the Walsh College Blackstone LaunchPad staff were assigned to coach Katie Flickinger of Garden Hoard Garden Hoard’s mission is to propagate heirloom seeds for a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs while providing consumers with the knowledge and tools to grow healthy, safe produce and beautiful flowers.  It was quite an education for all involved with Carol and Brian learning all about heirloom seeds and Katie learning how to prepare a business plan.  Their diligent efforts paid off -- literally -- Katie won the $10,000 first prize in the Lifestyle category.  She is also now an Honorary Blackstone LaunchPad member!  Check out her website at http://www.gardenhoard.com.

On August 21st, 2013 Blackstone LaunchPad at Walsh College sponsored the Know-Do Crowdfunding event presented by Fundington.  Over 30 attendees learned terms, tips and tricks of Crowdfunding 101.  The workshop took place from 6pm-9pm and participants left with a good understanding of the crowdfunding model, tools for a successful campaign and met new peers for networking.  The next Know-Do Crowdfunding workshop is on September 25, 2013.


On June 4, 2013, Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson visited Walsh College and the Blackstone LaunchPad Office. 

We had 33 entries for the 2013 Innovators Start Here Competition: Make It Better.  Eight winners will receive cash awards for their unique ideas and two will receive Apple® Gift Cards for their creative marketing flyers.  This year we enlisted the help of our Marketing Department Staff to help choose the winning flyers. Check the Competitions Page for the results.

Thank You LaunchPad Members for Giving Back:
As the Admin Assistant for Blackstone LaunchPad, I often find inspirational entrepreneurial quotes to post on our Facebook page.  One of my recent posts was this quote from Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google:  “Find a way to say ‘Yes’ to things.”  Well, I’m truly amazed how when I put a call to action out to our community of entrepreneurs they are always so willing to say ‘Yes’, despite their busy schedules and lack of funds, since most of them are true startups.

Recently, I sent an email to our Blackstone LaunchPad members asking if they would donate an item from their business for the “Made in Michigan” basket that LaunchPad was preparing to be part of the silent auction at the Walsh College Alumni Association’s Casino Night.  I received an overwhelming response and our basket was overflowing with the members’ fine products.  They personally delivered their items either on their way to work, in between a meeting, during their lunch hour, before class, or by email. 

I am very proud to be associated with such a special group of entrepreneurs who just naturally “pay it forward.”  The Walsh College Alumni Association was so impressed with our basket that it became the VIP Raffle Prize!  So thanks to the following “VIP” donors:  Steve Johnson of Motor City Brew Tours, Stephanie Comptois of Bear Necessities, Denise Kulak of Fun Stuff!, Anthony Mitchell of National Mother’s Hall of Fame, Anthony Majewski of Read with Max and eMarketing, Nicole Sesko of Growable Greetings and Brian Renner of Movie Insider.   Eric Schmidt ends his quote with “Yes is what keeps us all young. It’s a tiny word that can do big things. Say it often.”   I witnessed the generosity of our LaunchPad members and saw firsthand what big things they accomplish by saying ‘Yes’. 

April was a busy month for our Blackstone LaunchPad Members...

After realizing that the Blackstone LaunchPad consulting service was available to employees, Jamaine Reece sought their assistance and launched his own business --FLYA THAN AVERAGE -- a clothing line consisting mainly of T-shirts and hoodies marketed for individuals who share his passion for sneakers.  Read his story here.

With the help of the Blackstone LaunchPad Team, Walsh Alumni, Mary Miodowski, created a website devoted to busy moms and their families.  Her story is featured here.  Visit her website at:  www.dashingelements.com.

Congratulations to Blackstone LaunchPad Member and Alumni Anthony Majewski for being selected in Brooks' 2013 Class of Elite 40 Under 40.

Steve Johnson, Walsh Alumni and owner of  Motor City Brew Tours, is featured in the Thursday, March 28, 2013 edition of The Troy Times.

On Monday, March 25th, Blackstone LaunchPad member, Nancy Martens, RN, CSA and founder of ElderCompass presented:  Elder Care and the Challenges of an Aging Population at the Troy Public Library. Thirty people attended the 7pm event and received practical information about dealing with elder care challenges.  Nancy addressed safety, medical, lifestyle, and legal/financial issues for seniors and provided a list of the Top 10 Elder Advocacy Tips to the attendees.


Informative Entrepreneurial Articles at Innovation America.

On Friday, February 1st, 26 Junior Achievement Students from River Rouge High School visited Walsh College to participate in a Job Shadow Day.  Carol Glynn, the Director of Blackstone LaunchPad, was one of the speakers and encouraged the students to consider entrepreneurship as a career choice!  She also worked on a fun "Launch a Business" crossword puzzle exercise with the students. 


2012 Member News:

Best Holiday Craft Ideas From Detroit Artist (and Blackstone LaunchPad Member) Stephanie Comptois of Bear Necessitites.

Campus Pilot Program Helped Launch or Boost 105 Local Businesses | The Oakland Press, Tuesday, October 16, 2012.

Carol Glynn, Director of Blackstone LaunchPad at Walsh was interviewed by Michigan Business Network Radio in October.  The first part of the broadcast can be heard here and the second half can be heard here.

Congratulations to alumni Larry Cunningham (BBA 2007), a member of the Blackstone LaunchPad and retired Deputy of the Wayne County Sheriff Department, who started  Step-Up Transportation.  Step-Up will provide reliable transportation for elementary and middle school students in Detroit’s riverfront district with an emphasis on preventing bullying.  It’s a win-win situation -- students will feel comfortable and parents will have the peace of mind knowing that their children are safe commuting back and forth to school.  More information about Step-Up Transportation is available here.  


LaunchPad Member and Alumni, Denise Kulak (BBA 2000), opens gift gallery, Fun Stuff!, in Birmingham, MI.  Fun Stuff! is an experiential pocket shop with whimsical, eclectic gifts for all. Check out the articles written about Fun Stuff! in The Oakland Press and metromode.

Nancy Martens of ElderCompass was recently featured in the Detroit News and Free Press.

The 2nd Annual Walshpreneur Fair and Reception, held on November 12th to celebrate Global Entrepreneur Week  was a huge success.  As our President, Stephanie Bergeron said, no roller coasters were available and cotton candy wasn’t served, but fun was still had by nearly the 100 attendees.  The event featured presentations from Terry Cross an Angel Investor, Antoine Dubeauclard, President of Media Genesis and Tony Tolentino from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.  Blackstone LaunchPad members also showcased their businesses.

Blackstone LaunchPad hosted FundingPost again this year on November 1st.  Joe Rubin conducted his Pitching Workship via Skype. During the morning workshop, attendees were able to practice their pitches and receive advice from Joe. In the afternoon, they presented their "perfected" pitches to a panel of Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors.

CALLING ALL MOMS!!!  LaunchPad Member, Anthony Majewski, transformed his Moms 2 Moms website.  Visit the new transformation of this LaunchPad member’s project at http://www.CutieBuy.com/  -- A Moms 2 Moms Community Shopping, Event, and Socializing site.

to the following eight Blackstone LaunchPad Members who won the 2012 Venture Accelerator Program and received a cash prize to advance their business!

Rob Berry and Judy Farmer
Aaron McCarthy
Tony Mitchell
Derek Baker
Jason Beale
Armando Doku
Mary Miodowski
Jamaine Reece

The Great Pilates Now venture is featured in two local newspapers: The Canton Obeserver and The Plymouth Observer.

One of our Blackstone LaunchPad Members, Nancy Martens of Eldercompass, is a finalist in the Michigan Women's Foundation Entrepreneur-YOU Competition!

Gotbibs breaks through to Export Market
Blackstone LaunchPad Members Virginia and Ken Krolczyk, had a major breakthrough with their business, Krol Mfg, selling 500 multi-purpose bibs to a business in the Middle East.  Virginia credits Blackstone LaunchPad for providing insight and guidance with the export and shipping processes.  She stated they now have confidence to pursue selling in other countries.  Interested in the product?  Visit their website: http://gotbibs.com/.

Four Blackstone LaunchPad Members opened businesses in March: 

BLP members make the news: MomsTwoMoms.com launches maternal eBay platform in Grosse Pointe (MetroMode), Nancy Martens' Eldercompass (MetroMode) and Nicole Sesko's Growable Greetings (Detroit News). Blackstone LaunchPad Students Partner with One Hen to Kick Off Mentorship Program
We extend our thanks to the following Blackstone LaunchPad Members who are volunteering as mentors for the One Hen ProjectChris Coussens, Adam Funk, Garrett Graham, Anthony Majewski, Nancy Martens, Mike Pircer, Brian Renner, Wendy Richardson, Nicole Sesko and Donovan Shand.  

one hen

"The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is proud to support One Hen," said Amy Stursberg, Executive Director, Blackstone Charitable Foundation. "Instilling entrepreneurial spirit and know-how at the earliest ages is a groundbreaking approach that will help foster the next generation of entrepreneurs. The economic future of the country is in the hands of these young entrepreneurs and we are pleased to be partnering with One Hen to start them on a path toward innovation and discovery."

Innovation Starts Here Competition:
"What Bugs You?" And the winners are...
  1. Vineet Jammalamadaka, Novi High School
  2. Hannah Sassone, Frankenmuth High School
  3. Glenn Czupinski, Oakland Community College-Auburn Hills Campus
  4. Agustin Paniagua, Oakland Community College-Auburn Hills Campus
  5. Audrey Gray, Frankenmuth High School
  6. Kacinda Payne*, Oakland Community College-Auburn Hills Campus *(Now enrolled as Walsh student!)
  7. Travis Lange, International Academy-Bloomfield Hills
  8. Brandi Hannah, Frankenmuth High School
See here why  was such a HUGE success! Stay tuned for next year! 2011 Member News:

LaunchPad Member Reveals Website

On Friday, December 9th, one of our Blackstone LaunchPad members, Anthony Majewski, officially launched a business website and several Walsh employees attended the reveal.  Moms2Moms (www.momstwomoms.com) -- is an alternative to the traditional garage sale. We received great feedback from all who attended.

Blackstone LaunchPad "Pays Off" in November
November was an exciting month for our Blackstone LaunchPad members who participated in several activities which took place during Global Entrepreneurship Week: 

Congrats to Nancy Martens who won the $5,000 first prize for her Eldercompass elevator pitch at the Blackstone LaunchPad sponsored "Get Launched" event held at Wayne State! Our other two participants, Anthony Majewski (Moms2Moms) and Jason Beale (RegainGo), received Honorable Mentions for their business submissions. Great job by all!!! 

Six members won cash prizes of $500 or $250 to help move their businesses forward through our Venture Accelerator Program. Kudos to the following winners: Eldercompass (Nancy Martens/Donovan Shand), Growable Greetings (Nicole Sesko), Moms2Moms (Anthony Majewski), Once Upon an Adventure (Cheri Priester), Krol Mfg Virginia Krolczyk), Meridian Exchange (Marisa Scott).

Detroit Venture Capital and Angel Investor FundingPost
Eleven of our more active and advanced Blackstone LaunchPad members from Walsh College and WSU were invited to join 70 entrepreneurs in the Detroit Venture Capital and Angel Investor FundingPost event hosted by Walsh on November 3rd.  They were given the opportunity to participate in a workshop to help educate them on real-world Venture Capital and Investor experiences and received tips on how to pitch their businesses effectively.  In the afternoon session, four VCs and Angel Investors shared their tips on early-stage investing, hot sectors, things that are most important to them when they are considering an investment, the best and worst things entrepreneurs can do to get their attention and, of course, the best ways to reach these and other investors.                                Discover, Network, Win | Walshpreneur Fair and Alumni Open House, November 14, 2011
President Stephanie Bergeron
helped host our first ever Walshpreneur Fair and Alumni Open House which was a huge success. Nearly 100 local  entrepreneurs, Blackstone LaunchPad members and Walsh College staff attended. Fifteen of our "budding" Blackstone LaunchPad entrepreneurs featured their company products or services.
Other special guests included Carolyn Cassin, President and CEO of the Michigan Women's Foundation, and a surprise appearance by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. Mr. Patterson talked about his respect for Walsh College as well as his commitment to building the entrepreneur spirit in the State of Michigan.

Paul Chambers (Core3 Solutions) and Brian Renner (Walsh Alum, who is now an Advisor for LaunchPad, and Founder of MovieInsider.com) gave the audience some quick tips on maximizing revenue through search engine marketing (SEM). Brian Pilarski (President of the Walsh Alumni Association) facilitated a panel discussion with three serial entrepreneurs, Dave Morin (Cielo MedSolutions), Allen Wolff (Crowdrise and PaySimple), and Bobby Smith (EnGarde! Detroit) who shared lessons learned and secrets to success in building their businesses.