SmartStart program prepares entrepreneurs to launch | Apply now for new session beginning October 23

HOUGHTON, Michigan (October 14, 2014) – MTEC SmartZone is gearing up for another round of SmartStart classes for entrepreneurs looking to grow their ideas into successful businesses. The next SmartStart session begins October 23, at the Powerhouse in Houghton. The intensive, six-week program meets Thursdays from
5–7pm, and combines facilitator-guided, hands-on sessions, small group exercises, guest speakers and idea sharing with peers. Program cost is $500 per team; some scholarships may be available. For more information about SmartStart or to apply for the program, contact MTEC SmartZone at (906) 487-7000. Online applications and more information are also available on MTEC SmartZone’s website www.

SmartStart serves as a pre-incubation program for technology founders before they become MTEC SmartZone tenants. The entrepreneur coaching program helps participants hone the skills they need to create, manage and grow a business. The program offers business counseling, access to office space, workshops, and a peer support network. Program Director Julie Melchiori notes, “SmartStart is a collaborative environment where founders receive guidance and direction from coaches and peers to help them analyze their ideas fully. With each session they’re asked to explain their ideas, and every time they do it’s a little bit different because they’ve thrown out what doesn’t work. You can really see how their ideas change and grow.”

Since the program was created in 2012, SmartStart has served 54 participants and helped create 32 new businesses in the community., an online training provider for public works professionals, is among SmartStart’s many success stories. “The SmartStart program helped us clarify our product, target market, and business development strategies so we have a much clearer view of the landscape in which we’re operating,” co-founder John Ryynanen said. “Julie and the rest of her team gave us specific guidance every step of the way. They also provided much-needed encouragement and held us accountable at times to make sure we stayed focused.” Additional MTEC SmartZone company tenants include Life Cycle Solutions LLC, Superior Marine Products, and LeClaire GeoServices.