DBusiness Daily Update: Michigan Mobility to Take Center Stage at SXSW, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
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Nighttime skyline with blurred vehicles in foreground
Leaders from Michigan’s tech and mobility community will be at SXSW in Austin, Texas, March 13-14 to demonstrate why startups are choosing the Great Lakes State. // Photo courtesy of Michigan Office of Future Mobility and Electrification

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Michigan Mobility to Take Center Stage at SXSW

The Michigan Office of Future Mobility and Electrification and Team Michigan are traveling to the annual SXSW (South by Southwest conference) in Austin, Texas, March 13-14 to connect with potential partners and highlight opportunities in Michigan’s mobility ecosystem.

Leaders from Michigan’s tech and mobility community will take the stage during Michigan Day at Midwest House in Austin to demonstrate why startups are choosing the Great Lakes State to operate their businesses.

The program includes (all times are Central):

Greening the Midwest (11:30 a.m.): The state’s Interim Chief Mobility Officer Kathryn Snorrason will join a panel highlighting the ways the industrial Midwest has become a surprising leader in green energy, from grid upgrades allowing for more renewable energy production to billion dollar battery plants to EV.

Innovation thru Partnerships and Groundbreaking R&D (1:30 p.m.): Presented by Ann Arbor SPARK, learn how Ann Arbor has fostered partnerships across public, private, and academic institutions to create an environment where high- growth companies thrive.

MI Unicorns: Life after the $1 Billion Valuation (2:30 p.m.): While it was once unheard of for a startup from Michigan (or the Midwest) to achieve a $1 billion valuation, more than half a dozen companies have reached that landmark in the last five years. This conversation presented by Michigan Founders Fund will examine what happens next; specifically, what that kind of growth means to the founder, the company, and the region.

Rediscover Michigan: Pure Opportunity (3:30 p.m.): Learn how Dug Song, co-founder of unicorn Duo Security, and Ollie Howie, Michigan’s first Black fund manager, have found  opportunity in their adopted home state, and hear why private and public-sector executives, like native Midwesterners TaRita Johnson and Dana Williams, actively choose the Great Lakes State to pursue their professional goals.

Self-Driving Cars: From Science Fiction to Scale (March 14, 11:30 a.m.): Featuring GM CEO Mary Barra, learn how auto industry leaders are navigating the technology advancements, regulatory environment, and customer acceptance needed to make the AV and EV future real.

To register to participate in Michigan Day at SXSW, visit here.

PNC Bank Releases Spring Economic Outlook for Small Business Owners

PNC Bank has released the results of its Spring Economic Outlook Survey of small business owners in Michigan, its first survey of the Great Lakes State in several years.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • A majority (51 percent) of Michigan business leaders feel highly optimistic about the prospects for their own company in the next six months, despite remaining cautious about the national economy (23 percent highly optimistic vs. 26 percent nationwide) and their local economy (27 percent highly optimistic vs. 30 percent nationwide).
  • The gap between Michigan business leaders’ optimism for their company versus the broader U.S. economy is 28 percentage points, indicating a strong divide between the prospects for their own business and expectations for the broader economy.
  • The survey also revealed that Michigan business leaders are expecting a better business environment with nearly two-thirds (63 percent) expressing belief that business conditions in the U.S. will improve in the next six months, matching the portion nationwide.
  • A majority of Michigan business leaders (55 percent vs. 58 percent nationwide) expect to see sales increases in the next six months. Amid these positive expectations, seven in 10 (69 percent) are very confident about the future success of their business.
  • Among Michigan businesses actively hiring employees, four in 10 (39 percent) say it’s become harder to hire qualified candidates over the past six months, compared with 36 percent of businesses nationwide.

Reseda Group in East Lansing Invests $8M in Cutting-edge Fintech Companies

Reseda Group, a wholly owned credit union service organization of MSU Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU) in East Lansing, announced $8 million in investments to support and grow several emerging fintech companies.

The investments are spread across the four companies — Nymbus, Flow Networks, Prizeout, and Larky — and are part of Reseda Group’s efforts to bring innovative technology and solutions to help credit unions create a better member experience.

“At Reseda Group, we are focused on discovering and elevating the best and brightest fintechs and dynamic solution providers to help credit unions build better for their members and communities,” says April Clobes, president and CEO of Reseda Group and MSUFCU. “We are excited to partner with these rising stars in the fintech space developing next-generation technologies that will transform the way people think about personal finance and the way credit unions think about digital banking.”

Reseda Group’s investments include:

Nymbus: A provider of banking technology solutions, enables banks and credit unions of any size to grow and attract new market segments. Based in Jacksonville, Florida, Nymbus delivers a full suite of banking technology applications available to modernize and optimize existing channels, as well as the operational resources to get to market quickly with a full-scale digital brand immediately positioned at capturing new niche customer segments.

Flow Networks: A consumer engagement and retention company that connects credit unions with cardholders during the payment moment for interactions, including rewards, offers, and loyalty experiences.

Prizeout: A performance-based ad-tech leader that allows customers to withdraw funds stored, earned, or won online with digital gift cards to their favorite brands. Prizeout has partnered with companies in more than 11 different industries. The New York City-based company provides customers with a better experience by offering bonus value on transactions, giving them more for their money, instantly.

Larky: A consumer engagement fintech provider that empowers financial institutions to proactively connect with their audience in the right place, at the right time. The Ann Arbor-based company advances digital transformation in the banking sector through its Larky nudge platform, which delivers tailored turnkey push notification campaigns to selected account holders.

“Reseda Group is proud to partner with each one of these dynamic companies,” says Ben Maxim, chief technology officer at Reseda Group’s and chief digital strategy and innovation officer at MSUFCU. “Through strategic investments and partnerships with cutting-edge fintechs like Nymbus and innovative ad-tech companies like Prizeout, we are delivering an elevated member experience that will not only help credit unions remain successful and relevant, but also bringing new technologies, digital resources, and credit union industry solutions to market.”

Detroit Companies Set to Mark 313 Day, March 13

Shinola Hotel is celebrating Detroit March 13 (aka 3/13 Day), in honor of the city’s area code. Snipes, a sneaker and streetwear retailer, is hosting a dance competition and unveiling a limited-edition adidas sneaker that day.

Shinola will be partnering with local designer JonXGenius to create 313 custom t-shirts, available exclusively for pick up at the Shinola’s Woodward Ave. boutique. With only 313 limited edition shirts to give away, availability is on a first-come, first-serve basis, starting at 3 p.m. One attendee also will win a voucher for a free one-night stay for two at the Shinola Hotel, complete with valet service and breakfast at flagship restaurant, San Morello.

Additionally, at Mister Dips in Parker’s Alley, Detroiters can spend $3.13 and receive a 313 Skinny Dip (plain cup or cone; vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, or buttered caramel popcorn).

Snipes is marking 313 Day with a dance competition from 5-9 p.m. at 3434 Russell St. in Detroit.

The event will include a 2v2 Jit & Breakin’ Competition with $2,000 on the line, along with a Detroit Jit vs Chicago Footwork Exhibition Battle, and an after party featuring an open bar (for 21+ over) and a live DJ set from DJ Vader.

In partnership with adidas Originals, Snipes also will be selling the adidas Forum Low Detroit SMU, along with matching apparel, at the event for a limited time. This exclusive gear is a must-have for sneakerheads and streetwear enthusiasts alike.

To RSVP and for more information, visit here.

Atlas Federated Ground Network Triples in Size with New Partnership

Atlas Space Operations in Traverse City announced a new partnership with Viasat Real-Time Earth (RTE), making Viasat RTE’s 10 new antennas immediately available to Atlas clients, with two additional antennas available by the end of the year.

For Atlas, the partnership with Viasat RTE represents another expansion of its federated global ground network of 44 sites after adding 11 ground sites belonging to AWS last month. The federated network is operated by Atlas’ proprietary communications and management software, Freedom.

Through Freedom, ATLAS clients onboard their missions and manage data flow and pass execution from a single point of entry while the software abstracts away all hardware differences. The result is a network of networks that enables users to access many ground networks through a single provider.

“Through our partnership with Viasat we are expanding the global footprint of our federated network and demonstrating the usefulness of software in the SATCOM marketplace,” says Brad Bode, co-founder and chief technology officer at Atlas Space Operations.

“Developments like this are less about infrastructure implications, and more about the utility of software to enhance hardware capabilities. Through Freedom we are able to extract far greater value from existing hardware without incurring additional costs. Using software to create one common ground solution allows us to offer extensive capabilities atop data delivery, such as automated insight into pass performance, Copilot to enable rapid onboarding, a superb user interface, and our single TT&C entry point in the cloud, no matter the site. Most importantly for our clients, Freedom is flexible and accessible through our unified interface, which means as our federated network grows, new antennas are immediately available to clients without any software changes on their end.”

Food Organizations Announce Free Safety Training for Restaurants

The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association (MRLA), in partnership with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), is offering two free food safety training opportunities for Michigan foodservice establishments.

The training, which includes an in-person Food Safety Pickling and Fermentation Workshop, and online Processing Meat Training Course, will teach participants accurate food variance and food processing measures.

An in-person Food Safety and Pickling and Fermentation Workshop will be conducted from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. April 18 in Lansing. It will feature steps for an approved variance and HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) Plan, presented by food variance specialists Ellen Shumaker, Patrick L. Guzzle, and Rebecca Vought. Pre-registration is required for this workshop.

Additionally, a comprehensive online Processing Meat Training Course is available to Michigan’s foodservice industry to focus on the basic science of curing and processing meat. The four-hour course, which was developed by Michigan State University, will address sanitation and food manufacturing practices in food production facilities, basic science of curing and processing meat, allergen control, cooking and cooling processed meat, shelf life and labeling, and regulations, records, and calibrations. Registration is available until Sept. 30.

“Food safety is of paramount importance to the thousands of foodservice professionals in our state’s hospitality industry,” says Amanda Smith, executive vice president of the MRLA. “By providing access to free education and essential resources, we are helping to create and promote an informed and experienced workforce who are knowledgeable and confident in their abilities. These trainings allow for Michigan operators to stay on the cutting edge of food and provide consumers with creative dishes, safely.”

For a FREE access code ($50) value or to register for a training, contact MRLA Education and Grant Specialist at lnesbitt@mrla.org, 517-702-3944 or visit here.

MatchingDonors PSA Program Saved Thousands of Lives

Currently, over 270 people die every day in the United States waiting for an organ transplant; those that live wait 7 to 12 years to receive a kidney transplant through the government’s deceased organ donor waiting list. Many patients receive their kidney transplant within only six months of registering on MatchingDonors.com.

In conjunction with many health organizations, MatchingDonors has created this very successful PSA campaign to help people realize that they 1. Can save lives by being a living organ donor, to encourage them to register as an altruistic living organ donor, and 2. That they can help save the lives of people needing organ transplants by donating other things such as cars, boats, rvs, real estate, planes etc…

To find various PSAs for MatchingDonors, visit https://www.matchingdonorspsas.com.