Roundup: Goldman Sachs, Hatch Detroit, Aging 2.0, U-M & More

Here’s a look at innovation news from around Michigan:

—The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative, a $20 million effort announced in 2013 that provides loans, business education, and grants to Detroit-area entrepreneurs, celebrated the graduation of 60 small-business owners at a reception at Wayne State University earlier this month.

The graduates participated in more than 100 hours of classes over 11 sessions, with curriculum provided by a consortium of higher education institutions, including Macomb Community College, Oakland Community College, and Wayne State. Participants also studied a business and management curriculum designed by Babson College. The classes covered accounting, human resources, negotiation, marketing, and other topics. The program also included one-on-one business advising and accounting workshops. Capital partners to the program, which are potential investors in the participants’ ventures, are Invest Detroit and the Detroit Development Fund.

According to Goldman Sachs, six months after graduating from the program, 73.5 percent of participants saw increased revenues, and 51.9 percent of participants added net new jobs. The 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative is now accepting applications for its fall session; click here to apply.

Comerica Hatch Detroit, the annual competition that offers $50,000 in seed funding to the winning retail business idea, has announced this year’s semi-finalists. Among them are a restaurant devoted to meatballs, a Caribbean food truck that wants to establish a brick and mortar location, an artisanal ice cream venture, and a cycling studio. A key part of the competition is online public voting, which starts today and runs through Aug. 28, when the winner will be announced during a live pitch event at the Madison Building in downtown Detroit. To cast your vote, click here.

—Grand Rapids is one of 30 cities bringing entrepreneurs together for a 30-day period (Sept. 8-Oct. 8) to share their business ideas for meeting the needs and interests of the United States’ aging population. Called #30in30in30, the global business competition is looking for six local startups to pitch their ideas at Aging 2.0 Pitch Night on Sept. 10 at Start Garden in downtown Grand Rapids. Five judges will determine the winner, who will take home $2,500 in prize money and get the chance to advance to the semi-finals. To apply to participate in the pitch competition, click here.

—The University of Michigan is part of a new international effort to build better cities of the future, funded by a $12 million award from the National Science Foundation. The University of Minnesota-led project focuses on ways to reimagine the energy grids, road networks, green spaces, and food and water systems that form the urban infrastructure.

U-M’s portion of the project is roughly $750,000 over four years and involves green infrastructure, urban farming—including a Detroit aquaculture project to raise freshwater shrimp—and the investigation of anaerobic membrane bioreactor technology, which recovers energy in the form of methane gas from household wastewater, food waste, garden waste, and urban food-production waste.

LLamasoft, the Ann Arbor-based supply chain software startup, this week announced the appointment of Bob McFarland as senior vice president of global sales. McFarland will lead business development efforts for the LLamasoft team worldwide. Before joining LLamasoft, McFarland served as senior vice president of retail sales at Epicor.

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