Roundup: BoostUp, U-M, GSTV, SPARK-Ed, Business Leaders for MI

Here’s a look at news you may have missed from around Michigan’s innovation hubs:

—Detroit-based BoostUp, a website that helps users save for big-ticket purchases such as homes and cars, announced last week that it has won a spot in the 2015 class at the REach accelerator in Chicago. The accelerator is part of Second Century Ventures, the investment arm of the National Association of Realtors. “[BoostUp’s] mission of promoting homeownership among the younger generations is an incredibly worthy one, and we are looking forward to helping them further this pursuit over the course of the program,” said Constance Freedman, managing director of Second Century Ventures and the REach accelerator, in a press release.

The company said it was one of eight startups selected from hundreds of applicants from across the country, picked because of its potential to impact the real estate market. As part of the eight-month program, BoostUp will have access to workshops, conferences, and networking within the real estate industry.

—The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business celebrated the inaugural year of its Center for Social Impact last week. The center was created in response to growing demand for multidisciplinary paths toward social impact careers, and to make meaningful progress on significant social issues by better connecting the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. In the past year, the center has partnered to launch a $15,000 social impact track as part of the university’s Michigan Business Challenge competition; put graduate students on nonprofit boards in Southeast Michigan; undertaken an urban redevelopment project in Detroit; and offered $10,000 to MBA students pursuing summer internships in impact investing.

—Earlier this month, Rockbridge Growth Equity announced that Gas Station TV (GSTV) was relocating its headquarters to the Kresge building in downtown Detroit. Founded in 2006, GSTV is the nation’s top video network playing at gas pumps. The company will move its entire operation—and all 80 staffers—to Detroit, occupying 15,000 square feet across three floors. The move is expected to be completed by June.

Ann Arbor SPARK has launched a free, new video series called SPARK-Ed to provide information to business owners. The first installment is a four-part look at what entrepreneurs need to know about starting a successful business. In Starting a Business, Business Plan Basics, Perfect Pitch, and The Value of Entrepreneurship, Bill Mayer, SPARK’s vice president of entrepreneur services, offers advice. SPARK plans to release more videos in the series throughout 2015.

—The annual Hatch Detroit contest starts on May 1 and is open to local entrepreneurs with a retail business concept they want to get off the ground. The winner of the contest gets a $50,000 grant, and the public is invited to vote online for their favorite ideas throughout the competition. To submit your business plan for consideration, click here.

Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), a statewide professional organization composed of C-level executives from Michigan’s largest companies, said Michigan’s economy will continue to grow and outperform the U.S. economy in the next six to 18 months, according to a new economic outlook report. The findings are based on a survey of members, said BLM president and CEO Doug Rothwell in a press release, and should be considered good news because they indicate almost half of Michigan’s largest companies are expecting to grow. Other findings: None of the respondents thought Michigan’s economy would be worse in the short term or the long term. To read the economic outlook in its entirety, click here.

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