Free fair Friday for entrepreneurs


On Friday, Sept. 30, Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance is bringing keen minds to the realm of entrepreneurship.

The fair will be held at SVSU from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Curtiss Hall and is open to students and public.

“There’s no difference if you’re an 18- to -22-year old student or a 62-year old guy,” said Matt Felan, the president and CEO of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance.

The entrepreneurial fair stemmed from a recent layoff of several hundred Dow Chemical employees.

“Since 700 people are losing their jobs right now, let’s try to make them aware of all the great resources in the Great Lakes Bay Region,” Felan said.

Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance plans on bringing entrepreneurial programs from the area’s schools such as Central Michigan University, Northwood and SVSU.

The schools include the SVSU Dow Entrepreneurship Institute and the Central Michigan University Research Corporation.

Felan and fellow leaders at the Regional Alliance want to aid people with entrepreneurial spirit in their mind.

“Our whole premise here is: how can we help future entrepreneurial growth here in the Great Lakes Bay Region?” he said. “Either from those that have been impacted at Dow or otherwise, and let’s really raise the profile of all of these great entrepreneurial programs.”

The entrepreneur fair does not cost anything to the attendees.

“What we’re excited about is that we’re doing it for free,” says Felan. “The only thing needed is an entrepreneurial mind and a possible idea.

“It could be as simple as an idea. We have people who can link you up.”

The resources available to participants are vast, but the biggest resource is undoubtedly the people themselves.

“This fair will provide many opportunities for participants to network, share ideas, resources, and collaborate on initiatives that will facilitate business and economic activity and increase high paying jobs,” Interim Dean of SVSU’s College of Business and Management Anthony Bowrin said in a press release. “They not only help the entrepreneur, but the possible future employee as well.”

There are several major aspects to the fair including a 90-minute portion solely dedicated to people focused on their ideas.

The attendees will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from regional businesses and institutions that will show off their programs and potential partnerships.

President and CEO of Community Ventures Resources Inc. Mike Finney said a keynote speaker will be at the event.

“He has some of the best experience in the entire state,” Felan said.

Finney, a SVSU alumnus, will share his experiences in entrepreneurship and tell personal stories of success and failure, showing what may and may not work in the world of start-ups.

The Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance has the entrepreneur in mind, Felan said.

“If we have one idea or one product from one person and if they start a company that hires 20 or 30 people, it would be worth every single second of everyone’s time,” Felan said.