Innovation and entrepreneurship in the news

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Product developed by Wayne State professor touted to be safer for marine life

After spending weeks and months in the water, the bottom of a boat can become a slimy mess, as algae and other marine organisms coat the hull. Biofouling, the accumulation of algae, barnacles and other marine organisms on underwater surfaces like the hulls of boats and ships, can slow down vessels and increase fuel consumption by as much as 40%, at a cost of $36 billion for the global shipping industry. It costs recreational boaters more in fuel, as well, because of the drag added to the boat. That’s why many boaters — recreational owners and commercial shippers — use a bottom paint containing an anti-foulant. More than 90% of current anti-foulants in the market rely on copper as a biocide, however. The heavy metal is designed to leach out of the paint while it is in the water, creating a toxic environment to deter wildlife from attaching to the hull, but it is also an endocrine disrupter that affects the life cycles of fish, according to Sheu-Jane Gallagher, one of the three co-founders and general manager of Repela Tech, a startup out of Wayne State University. A new technology developed in a lab at Wayne State University is being used in an attempt to change that, however. “Repela is all about sustainability, and what we are developing is a sustainable technology for boaters,” Gallagher said. Zhiqiang Cao, Ph.D., a professor of chemical engineering and materials science in Wayne State University’s College of Engineering, invented the underlying technology for the product and approached Gallagher and Edward Kim, the third co-founder of the company, about promoting and marketing marine applications for the technology.
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Techtown Detroit highlights their efforts to help during COVID-19 pandemic

In this 7 UpFront segment, Techtown Detroit helped keep small businesses and startups from folding during the pandemic. It has been a tough year, but the organization has become a lifeline in Detroit. TechTown President and CEO Ned Staebler, joined the discussion. "Obviously, you know it's been a horrible year medically and emotionally for the community, but our small businesses, which make up more than half of the jobs in metro Detroit and across the country, have really suffered as well. Estimates have shown that, maybe, 25 or 30 percent of small businesses nationally have closed over the last year," Staebler says. "We hopped right in in March of 2020, recognizing that the vast majority of our clients only had two weeks of cash on hand we were able, in the first days of the pandemic, to help over 700 businesses with cash grants totaling more than 1.2 million dollars to help those businesses, which collectively employed more than 2,300 people, stay in business."
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U.S. Department of Commerce invests $754,840 in Cares Act Recovery Assistance to support medical technology innovators in southeast Michigan

Last Thursday, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded a $754,840 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to TechTown Detroit to support innovation and entrepreneurship in the region’s medical and manufacturing sectors. This EDA grant, to be matched with $249,900 in local investment, is expected to generate $5.5 million in private investment. “TechTown has been helping to build a more resilient and inclusive economy by leveraging this region’s unique assets for more than 17 years, and now we have a partner at the highest level to help us expand our impact,” said Ned Staebler, president and CEO of TechTown Detroit. “With this grant from the Economic Development Administration, we’ll engage 25 regional stakeholders including healthcare systems, local government entities, private investors, universities and economic development organizations to advance regional innovation in medical technology, creating good-paying jobs and helping SE Michigan build back better.” “This critical support from the Economic Development Administration signals a commitment at the highest level to Detroit’s innovation ecosystem,” said Wayne State University President and TechTown Chair M. Roy Wilson. “With it, TechTown will continue to be a leader in driving the region’s economic recovery through the COVID-19 crisis via its MedHealth cluster. Since 2015, MedHealth has played a critical role in convening, educating and connecting medical innovation stakeholders in the Detroit region, and we are thrilled to work with the EDA to expand programs that will further catalyze entrepreneurship and business growth in the region’s healthcare sector.”  
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30 in their thirties 2021

Kelly Kozlowski, COO of TechTown Detroit, has found her place in operations. After working as COO of Automation Alley in Troy and COO for the Downtown Detroit Partnership, Kozlowski moved into the same position with TechTown. “I love the work of a COO,” she says. “I love the work of someone who’s working very closely with a leader, in support of that leader, and in partnership with that leader.” TechTown is a nonprofit entrepreneurship hub that supports businesses in and around Detroit by offering funding, workspaces, and programming. According to Kozlowski, finding startup capital can be a big hurdle. Many people who start a business first attempt what’s referred to as a “friends and family round,” asking loved ones for funds. It’s a route that typically isn’t an option in communities where generational wealth is scarce. TechTown partners with Wayne State University, which has resources and networks that TechTown wouldn’t be able to curate alone. In turn, TechTown can quickly change programming when necessary. Kozlowski’s role is dual-purpose; she’s also assistant vice president of economic development for Wayne State. In this role, she guides the development and execution of the university’s economic impact strategy, serving as a bridge between TechTown, Wayne State, and the community.

Bringing the student startup dream to life at Wayne State

Armed with care packages, clothes and clinical supplies, medical students in Detroit are learning outside the classroom. They are putting their knowledge and boots to the pavement, providing free health care to the city's homeless. Each week, students under the supervision of a registered physician or nurse practitioner get on their bikes and look for those in need. Programs such as Michigan State University's Detroit Street Care, Wayne State University's Street Medicine Detroit and the University of Michigan's Wolverine Street Medicine work together to treat as many of the city's homeless as possible. Jedidiah Bell, a fourth-year med student at Wayne State University and president of Street Medicine Detroit, says seeing issues from lack of health care access in his home country of Zimbabwe made him want to participate. "When I moved to the states for university and medical school, I saw the similar things [lack of access] with the homeless population," said Bell. "When I saw street medicine, I appreciated the model of how can we take medical care to the street and build up trust to bridge the gap between the homeless and the medical world." While the programs provide a vital service to the community, Bell says the real-world experience teaches students things the classroom or clinic can't. "It teaches medical students to hone-in on, not just medical conditions of patients, but to be able to sit down and form relationships and discuss other things that might be contributing to [patients'] health but might not come up during a traditional medical encounter." Bell says there's a widespread belief that the "students take away more from people on the streets than they take away from us." Anneliese Petersen, a second-year medical student at Wayne State University and volunteer with Street Medicine Detroit, says the experience also shows upcoming medical professionals another side of health -- the social determinants. "Things that are not strictly medical-based but have a strong impact on health and well-being. Income, access to health care, access to medication, being able to eat well, sleep well, to be able to relax and not be under chronic stress."
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Michigan Mobility Institute begins crafting curriculum in partnership with Wayne State

Michigan Mobility Institute executive director Jessica Robinson says the process of creating a first-of-its-kind Master of Mobility degree is "well underway," thanks to the institute's new partnership with Wayne State University. The institute made headlines earlier this year when it announced its intention to create the high-level educational credential in mobility. Robinson says Wayne State's College of Engineering was an ideal inaugural educational partner to collaborate with in creating the coursework and formal structure for the degree. Wayne State's existing dual focus on both cutting-edge research work and connecting its grads to jobs in the field also is a plus. WSU professors are already working on classes that are applicable to next-generation mobility careers, which will form an important base upon which to build a regimen of highly specialized mobility coursework. Wayne State will provide the Michigan Mobility Institute's physical campus for the time being. Other space needs may arise with time, and if they do Robinson says the institute will work with WSU and other partners to create them.
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Detroit, U-M, MSU, and Wayne State Form Economic Analysis Partnership

The University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University will partner to give economic data -- which will be used to evaluate local economic conditions and plan for an improvement in economic opportunities -- to Detroit through the City of Detroit University Economic Partnership. The project aims to accomplish three tasks: provide an economic forecast for Detroit each year; build an econometric forecasting model for Detroit's economy and the city's major tax revenues; and to develop local economic indicators, indices and reports. University of Michigan's Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics will lead the partnership, while Michigan State University will give revenue modeling and forecasting through its Center for Local Government Finance and Policy. Wayne State University's contribution will focus on providing data on housing and property tax modeling. Michigan State and Wayne State have previous experience creating economic analyses using local governments' internal data. Available data will also come from government agencies and initiatives including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Internal Revenue Service and the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. "We'll combine the city's internal data with publicly available data to construct Detroit-specific estimates of building activity, measures of activity in residential and commercial real estate, total commerce and tourism activity," Allen Goodman, director of the master's program in economics at Wayne State, said in a press release.
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LinkedIn shows off its new space in Detroit's downtown

LinkedIn opened the doors of its new permanent regional home on Woodward to visitors Wednesday, among the latest businesses to locate in the downtown Detroit corridor. Officials and area professionals were on hand to celebrate with the professional network site's space at 1523 Woodward, a 75,000-square-foot office in the Albert Kahn-designed Sanders and Grinnell buildings. Keith Whitfield, provost of Wayne State University, said he’s excited to have LinkedIn expanding in Detroit. There’s so much to do, there’s so much capacity and so much opportunity,” he said. “We want to make the opportunities for people, the mobility for people in terms of jobs.” 
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Marijuana a sure thing for entrepreneurs?

Jeff Stoltman, a professor of marketing and entrepreneurship at Wayne State University's Mike Ilitch School of Business, said a lot of his students look at opening a marijuana business as a sure thing. Stoltman said he pushes his students who are interested in the pot business to dig deeper into market realities. "They’re looking at this tremendous explosive growth in the states where the cannabis business was liberated a little earlier and there is this ‘Why not here, why not me?’ They don’t dig too deep to find out who is really benefiting the most of those kind of operations and what was the path that they took and can they replicate that here.”
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Motor City Match winner Rebel Cycle Studio opens in Detroit

A 35-year-old Wayne State University writing instructor is offering more classes outside of her day job. Amy Latawiec invested $40,000 to launch Rebel Cycle Studio LLC in the Detroit City Fieldhouse in Detroit's lower east side. The new fitness center's mission is to "shatter perceptions of what healthy 'looks' like" by promoting a supportive, body-positive environment in cycling classes for beginners to experts. The indoor cycle studio won a $5,000 grant from Motor City Match in August to get the off the ground. Latawiec, a former triathlete who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012, was inspired to open the studio as a graduate student at Wayne State University. She earned bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from the Detroit college.
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WSU hosts DHack June 21-24

WSU hosted 600 attendees on campus for the newly rebranded DHack: Detroit's Hackathon. During DHack, college and high school students and the community came together to create tech projects in an overnight event culminating in cash and technology prizes for the winning projects. Formerly known as HackWSU, DHack transformed the second floor of the David Adamany Undergraduate Library into a hub of ideas and innovation as beginner, intermediate and expert hackers collaborating on software and hardware projects, including mobile apps, web applications, robotics, drones and more. .

Wayne State University launches Innovation Hub to maximize student success

As one of the nation’s preeminent urban research universities, Wayne State consistently generates important innovations and ground-breaking research. At 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15, in the Student Center Ballroom, the university will launch the Wayne Innovation Hub to coordinate and enhance its programs for entrepreneurship education, technology commercialization, and community partnerships, and to enhance the university’s overall culture of innovation.

Innovative Partnership Increases Exposure For Detroit’s Largest Archival Repository

Historical materials preserved at the Walter P. Reuther Library are receiving increased exposure and research use through an innovative partnership with the Digital Publishing Unit in the University Library System. The Reuther Library is the largest archival repository in Detroit and preserves primary sources related to the history of organized labor in North America, urban affairs in Southeast Michigan and Wayne State University. 
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Cleo CEO, CTO to Share Big Data Production Implementation Tips at Annual Symposium

Cleo, a global leader in managed file transfer and multi-enterprise integration solutions, returns to Detroit this week to sponsor and speak at the 2017 Big Data & Business Analytics symposium at Wayne State University. The annual event, which is hosted by Wayne State’s Big Data & Business Analytics Group and runs Thursday and Friday, March 23 and 24, brings together industry experts to exchange insights on big data strategies and best practices to drive business growth.
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Big Data, Business Analytics Symposium

DETROIT – Wayne State University will host its fourth annual Big Data and Business Analytics Symposium on March 23 and 24 at the WSU Student Center. More than 100 leading companies in varied fields such as health care, finance, information technology, energy, automotive, manufacturing and supply chain management will converge to discuss how big data strategies can drive business success. As in years past, the conference agenda is built around the case studies of top practitioners and industry leaders. The symposium, which will stretch to two full days of activities this year, also presents keynote addresses from big data and analytics experts as well as tutorials, networking receptions, panel discussions and a startup company showcase — a new feature for the event. “The panel sessions will create some rich discussions that will provide some clarity on big data, and we will complement these conversations with case studies where companies can report on real experiences and share best practices,” said Ratna Babu Chinnam, professor and co-director for the Big Data and Business Analytics Group at Wayne State University. The philosophy of sharing and open discussion is at the core of this year’s event theme, “Doing it Right.” Chinnam explains that many companies launch data analysis initiatives that are not only expensive but also do not provide sufficient insight for developing sound strategies in marketing, product development, distribution sales or service. “It’s not about companies coming in and saying ‘this is the right way to do it,’” said Chinnam. “We want them to tell others what they’ve done, what experiences they had with various projects, and what were the lessons learned so that others can benefit.” Since its inception in 2014, the symposium has provided a platform for businesses and data-intensive individuals to learn new ways to navigate the vastly expanding big data space. It is estimated that more than 90 percent of the world’s data was generated in the last two years. The Big Data and Business Analytics Group at Wayne State was formed to develop innovative answers as to how to manage and leverage this information — as evidenced by the success of the symposium, which saw over 300 attendees in 2016. The group is anticipating up to 400 guests this year. Wayne State’s commitment to leadership in big data was taken a step further when the WSU Board of Governors approved a new Master of Science program in Data Science and Business Analytics, a collaboration between the College of Engineering and the Mike Ilitch School of Business that will launch this fall. Early bird registration for the Big Data and Business Analytics Symposium ends March 5. Learn more about the event at