WJR Business Beat: Marquette Is a Michigan Tech and Startup Hub (Episode 426)

On today’s Business Beat, Jeff talks with Joe Thiel of Innovate Marquette, who explains why Marquette, Michigan, is a hot spot in the tech and startup scene.

Tune in below to learn more about Innovate Marquette:

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Good morning, Paul! There’s a center of innovation emerging that is on the radar screens of those in the know with respect to the tech and startup space. But a deeper look makes clear why this is so. I had a chance to interview the CEO of Innovate Marquette SmartZone, Joe Thiel, who explained how and why the city of Marquette, Michigan, is now a hot spot in the tech and startup scene.

The Innovate Marquette program was founded in 2015 as part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s focus on fostering entrepreneurship and business growth in the state. The cool thing about the Marquette program is that it covers the entire business continuum from idea to scale through its incubator accelerator combined program.

Joe, first tell us about the incubator program.

“So basically if you’re an entrepreneur, whether you’re a Main Street business, low technical tech cottage industry, high-tech scalable or product idea, we have all the resources in one building here to be able to satisfy your needs and get you through that process. “And the first phase of that really is identifying what the business is and what it does. So you have your mission, vision-centric considerations to your launch. You want to start doing some customer discovery early on and really identify what your MVP is going to be. Why is your business unique? Where do you fit in the marketplace, what your basic competition is and then can you protect your ideas.”

And then for those companies successful in getting past the incubator phase and then moving on to the accelerator program, Joe, tell us about that part of the program.

“Once you make it into the accelerator, I’ve got my idea and I know what I want to do, and I know where I’m at in the market. Now I got to get everybody on board with me to scale it up and get out in the marketplace and generate revenue as fast as possible. Now, what’s my capital planning and what’s my partnership landscape look like, what’s my additional IP that I may be able to capture through partnerships, and then designing and developing the product, if it’s a product-based idea, to then be efficient enough to scale at some point.”

Sound cool? You bet it does. To learn more, go to: innovatemarquette.org.

I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO of startupnation.com, and that’s today’s Business Beat on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.


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