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Ann Arbor Spark

April 28, 2020

Ann Arbor SPARK Launches SPARK.tech Virtual Workshop for Startups

For the first time, Ann Arbor SPARK is making its Entrepreneur Boot Camp curriculum available online. The three-part webinar series, SPARK.tech, is designed to guide innovators who have a tech-related business idea through the first stages of bringing their product or service to market.

“SPARK.tech creates a confidential environment for very early stage entrepreneurs to share their business concepts and get feedback from experts,” said Bill Mayer, Ann Arbor SPARK vice president, entrepreneurial services. “The curriculum is based on the Lean Startup method and will increase an entrepreneur’s knowledge of their target markets as well as the business ecosystems that can help with their launch. It’s also a great opportunity for tech startups to pivot from their current business idea to something more commercially viable, before they commit resources launching a company.”

The first event in the series, “Intro to Lean Startup and Ecosystem Mapping,” will be offered on May 4. Participants in the webinar will learn more about the Lean Startup method and why this approach is beneficial for early innovators and entrepreneurs as well as the concept of building an ecosystem map to determine the priorities of your stakeholders. The follow-up webinar, “Customer Discovery: What and How,” will be offered on May 18 and will cover how to get the most out of customer conversations to support commercialization. The series will conclude June 1 with “Nailing the Value Proposition and Refining your Elevator Pitch,” where participants will learn how to gain experience in communicating about their idea to quickly and simply define a product, service, or organization and its value proposition. All three webinars will be live from 9 to 10:30 a.m. and archived after on SPARK’s website.

SPARK.tech will be led by Dr. Margarita Hernandez, Ann Arbor SPARK’s director of entrepreneurial services, and Lee Gorman, who is the managing director for SPARK’s Boot Camp program. Prior to joining SPARK, Hernandez was with Fast Forward Medical Innovation at the University of Michigan, where she supported healthcare commercialization education courses and mentoring biomedical innovation projects for medical students and clinicians. She was also chief operations officer of medical device and software startup Pathware.

Gorman, who is with Barton Consulting Group, has worked with Ann Arbor SPARK for several years on its Entrepreneur Boot Camp program. Her experience includes coaching startups through the New Enterprise Forum, Great Lakes Entrepreneurs Quest, Tech Town Detroit, and University of Michigan’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Erb Institute.

SPARK.tech is a complementary program to Ann Arbor SPARK’s Entrepreneur Boot Camp, which will continue to offer critical one-on-one coaching to participating startups that are part of its business accelerator program. For more info about the Boot Camp program, please contact Margarita@annarborusa.org.

“Direct, one-on-one access to mentors who are experts at what it takes to start a tech business is a key benefit to Ann Arbor SPARK’s entrepreneurial services clients,” Mayer explained. “Albeit virtual, our clients will continue to participate in that Entrepreneur Boot Camp offering in addition to following the SPARK.tech curriculum.”

Learn more and register for SPARK.tech.

Additional coronavirus-related business resources.

About Ann Arbor SPARK

Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization, is advancing the region by encouraging and supporting business acceleration, attraction and retention. The organization identifies and meets the needs of business at every stage, from start-ups to large organizations. Ann Arbor SPARK collaborates with business, academic, government, and community investor partners. For more information, please call (734) 761-9317 or visit www.AnnArborUSA.org.