New Enterprise Forum Sets 5th Annual Battle of the Elevator Pitch: The Ann Arbor New Enterprise Forum is holding the 5th Annual Battle of the Elevator Pitch. During this popular annual event, we spotlight leading entrepreneurs who know how to have fun while demonstrating what a great business pitch looks like. We’ll give the participants an imaginary, offbeat company to pitch — with almost no time to prepare. Our panel of judges will take it all in, assessing substance as well as style. Past events have been based on Gilligan’s Island, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Columbus’ presumed discovery of America, and some of the world’s silliest inventions. The event takes place at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 19, at the Holiday Inn on Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor. Participants include defending champ Mike Korybalski, founder of Mechanical Dynamics; Charles C. Fry, founder and CEO of American Sweet Bean Company, Seneca County, Ohio, John McIntyre, a serial biotech entrepreneur extraordinaire; and a “mystery competitor.” Judges include Dale Grogan of Michigan Accelerator Fund 1; Ray Waters of Enterprise Detroit; Jack Miner, Tech Town Capital Champion; and Gary Baker, the Internet Advisor & CIO of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Moderators will be David J. Brophy, director of the University of Michigan’s Office for the Study of Private Equity Finance and Eleni Kelakos, motivational speaker, keynote speaker, entertainer. Also, this month’s showcase presentation emerging companies will be Tom Gross of Fusion Coolant Systems, which provides a patented metal-working coolant system and John Shabino of Lektromotiv, which is developing technology for making high performance, high efficiency electric motors. Registration and networking begin at 5 p.m. with the program starting at 5:45 p.m. Free to NEF members, the cost is $20 for non-members, $5 for students. The event is sponsored by NEF stakeholder sponsor, the Bank of Ann Arbor ( More at

Panelists Announced for May LPI Legislative Forum on Venture Capital: On Thursday, May 26, the Michigan State University Land Policy Institute is sponsoring a legislative forum on “How Michigan Venture Capital Dollars Can Jumpstart Growth in Jobs and Income.” Hosted by Rep. Marty Knollenberg, a panel discussion will explore statewide venture capital sources and flows, and offer examples and strategies for leveraging these investments to create jobs and improve incomes. Panelists include Jim Barrett, consultant and former President and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, who will address the importance of directing Venture Capital funds toward Michigan businesses; Ben Calnin, LPI Informatics and Support Coordinator, will discuss economic impact of directing a portion of State investment dollars toward second-stage companies in New Economy industries; David Weaver, Founder and Chairman of the Great Lakes Angels, will showcase various examples of Venture Capital programs from other states; and
Zsuzsanna Fluck, MSU Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Venture Capital, Private Equity and Entrepreneurial Finance in the Eli Broad College of Business, will discuss a recent study to measure national and international institutions’ interest in Michigan Venture Capital partnership investments. A question-and-answer period with the panelists will round out the luncheon forum. The event will be held from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the Mackinaw Room in the Anderson House Office Building near the Capitol in Lansing. The forum is free and open to the public. RSVPs are requested for a luncheon headcount. Please send RSVPs to Jessica McFarland at or call (517) 884-3957.