Presentation Coaching Prepares Entrepreneurs for MGCS Pitch

Shannon Beeman
April 9, 2012

The pressure is on when you’re presenting a company – and you only have one shot to make a killer impression. That’s why the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium (MGCS) works in partnership with the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC) Technology Team and the New Enterprise Forum (NEF) to provide pitch coaching to all of its presenting startups. “Every successful entrepreneur values an outside set of eyes to provide a smart, objective perspective,” said SBTDC Tech Team Coordinator Phil Tepley. “We help companies put their stories into comprehensive 10-minute presentations, and craft short, compelling sound bites to create buzz. We also give them the tools and knowledge to be more effective in raising money. Several client meetings with investors at the MGCS have led to investments.”

The MI-SBTDC Tech Team specializes in consulting of early stage technology companies, with a goal to help them grow, commercialize their technology, and create jobs inMichigan. “The MI-SBTDC helps companies with their financing strategies – how much to ask for, from whom, to complete what milestones – and how to keep the company progressing until they successfully raise capital,” said Tepley. “We help make sure they present well to investors by working with them to refine their executive summary and investor presentations. We also make sure they are aware of opportunities, such as MGCS, where they get exposure to investors.”

The Tech Team launched in 2002 with one employee. By 2007, it had grown to eight full-time consultants. “With a team of eight, we are truly able to serve companies statewide – and in partnership with regional economic development efforts all around the state,” said Tepley.

In 2008, the MI-SBTDC assumed management of the Michigan Emerging Technologies Fund, which provides commercialization funding to support companies that receive federal R&D grants and contracts. In 2011, the Business Accelerator Fund was launched by the MI-SBTDC, enabling the state’s business accelerators to fund specialized services for technology companies in their regions.

Tepley said both the MI-SBTDC and the MGCS play a vital role in the re-birth ofMichigan’s economy. “MGCS creates a huge opportunity, for not onlyMichigancompanies, but forMichiganitself – to impress and attract out-of-state capital and to get in-state investors connected with companies and excited about doing deals,” he said. “The MI-SBTDC role is to make sureMichigancompanies make the most of this opportunity MGCS creates each year.”