TROY — As host organization for the Adams Entrepreneur Fellowship Program, Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association, is once again encouraging recent college and university graduates to apply for a chance to be matched with a growing early-stage company in the region.
The Adams Entrepreneur Fellowship provides opportunities for fellows to engage with early-stage companies at the management level with mentoring support from company management and the program coordinators in a highly entrepreneurial experience.
To apply, visit automationalley.com and click on the Adams Entrepreneur Fellowship Quick Link on the left side of the homepage. The deadline to apply is April 1. For the first time, out-of-state applicants who want to return to Michigan and work in a highly entrepreneurial setting are also eligible to apply for the fellowship.
“The Adams Entrepreneur Fellowship is a unique program that has been extremely successful in highlighting entrepreneurism as a viable career choice and assisting in creating a thriving economy of innovative high-growth enterprises,” said Automation Alley senior director Thomas Anderson, who coordinates the program in collaboration with Adams Entrepreneur Fellowship Director Terry Cross. who is a serial entrepreneur and investor with deep experience in identifying, coaching and placing young entrepreneurs.
“In addition, the Adams Entrepreneur Fellowship is a method for enticing young graduates who have left Michigan to return and work here in a highly entrepreneurial setting,” Anderson added.
The fellows will have daily job responsibilities and will be encouraged to participate in local entrepreneurial, business development and leadership events, taking advantage of the many programs already in existence in Southeast Michigan. In particular, fellows will be given opportunities to network with one another and with other young emerging leaders in the region.
Kevin Tuczek, growth development analyst with Troy-based Billhighway, was a recipient of the Adams Entrepreneur Fellowship in 2012. He is currently working to help Billhighway develop operations and strategy to break into new markets and said the fellowship helped get him where he is today.
“I really wanted this for a long time and first heard about it when I was going to Wayne State University,” Tuczek said. “I put a lot of hard work into the application and actually contacted most of the past Adams fellows and talked to them about their experience. They gave me some great advice and tips. I knew I needed that practical application to supplement the theoretical concepts I had learned. The fellowship gave me that opportunity and it really does provide a great chance to be in the thick of things.”
When choosing host companies for the program, the coordinators focus on smaller, growing companies with expanding revenue and strong management already in place. Billhighway fits this description. The company provides cloud-based financial management solutions for nonprofit, donor and member-based organizations. Tracy-Ann Palmer, chief growth officer at Billhighway, said that from the employer standpoint, the fellowship program was a win-win, providing an environment that is both supportive and challenging for the fellow, while matching the company with a talented, bright individual and encouraging the economic growth of Southeast Michigan.
“We are very invested in our community, so we get involved in any programs that will help entrepreneurship-minded individuals and keep them in the state of Michigan,” Palmer said. “We have a lot of work to do here at Billhighway, and we need talented, young, smart individuals who can join us and add value immediately. And certainly I think that’s what we’ve been able to get from the Adams Fellowship.”
Palmer added that the Adams Fellowship is very successful in providing recent graduates with the tools necessary to learn first hand how to run a business in an entrepreneurial environment.
“If that’s the direction they are going for, then they need to work in an environment with a startup that’s facing those challenges to learn how to pivot, be persistent and resilient. It’s not something that anyone is going to teach you at a college or university. This is real, practical application,” she said.
The Adams Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program was created through the support of the Ann and Carmen Adams Fund of the Community Foundation. Three fellowships are awarded each year through a competitive application process. The Adams Entrepreneurial Fellowship provides an annual stipend, including benefits, placement in a startup enterprise, ongoing mentoring and coaching and engagement in entrepreneurial development workshops.
In addition to the application form found at automationalley.com, applicants are required to submit a resume, academic transcripts, a copy of their diploma, letters of personal recommendation, an essay discussing why they should be selected as an Adams Entrepreneurial Fellow, proof of citizenship or employability and a signed release form for background check.
For more information, contact the Automation Alley Resource Center at (800) 427-5100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.