VFA Company Spotlight- Bizdom U

Venture for America Company Spotlight with Bizdom U located in Detroit, Michigan and Cleveland, Ohio:

Detroit Recruiting and Development Leader, Maria LaLonde, tell us more:

1. Tell us about Bizdom U.

Bizdom U is an entrepreneurship accelerator that funds and mentors aspiring entrepreneurs to launch innovative, tech-based businesses that have the potential to scale. We’re a nonprofit that was founded in 2007 by Dan Gilbert, Founder and Chairman of Quicken Loans and Majority Owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA basketball team. We’re on a mission to transform Detroit and Cleveland’s economies from being over-reliant on manufacturing to economies rooted in entrepreneurship and innovation.

Startups that partner with Bizdom U have access to the expertise and network of the entire Quicken Loans’ Family of Companies, which includes over 40 innovative, tech-based businesses in Detroit, Cleveland and throughout the country.

In addition to Dan Gilbert’s personal support, Bizdom U has received significant funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan.

2. Name a fun fact about Bizdom U.

You might find us frantically creating vegetables from Play-doh or tying up our team members in ropes on any given day. Don’t worry, it’s just one of our crazy team building activities. And, the winners usually win fun prizes, too.

3. What does your ideal Venture Fellow look like?

Our ideal Venture Fellow is ready to roll up their sleeves and use their creativity and leadership to add value to our Bizdom startups. They need to be obsessed with executing on ideas rather than just talking about them. Being as flexible as a ball of silly putty is helpful, as there are so many hats to wear in the startup world, you’ll think you own a hat store.

They’ll need passion for creating something that will add real value to the world, and the tenacity to stick with it when times get tough or uncertain. Their curiosity, passion and work ethic are more important than their experience. But, they’ll benefit from identifying their talents and using those to add value to the startups they assist. That could happen by offering their business development, sales, graphic design, web development, or industry experience, etc. And, above all, they are a team player, sharing in the victories and the challenges together and encouraging their team to make amazing things happen together.

4. What does the daily office routine look like?

Every day is different, and it can feel like a roller coaster ride at times. Here’s a typical day, if there is one at Bizdom: Grab a coffee, cold-call potential customers for an hour, more coffee, brainstorm on ways to increase your SEO, pivot business model due to feedback from current customers; find out that you were listed as one of Huffington Post Detroit’s Top 11 tech startups of 2011; compete in an impromptu hula hoop contest with your fellow entrepreneurs; freak out because your website just got hacked; avert disaster for free by reaching out to the Bizdom network of tech experts; more coffee; work til’ midnight making amazing things happen for your startup.

5. Additional thoughts or comments?

Bizdom U offers two programs to best fit the needs of budding entrepreneurs. The first is Idea Generator, an eight-week part-time program that gives them the tools to break down their idea, research it and turn it into a business. It’s a great option for someone that has an innovative, scalable idea and wants to determine if it is feasible.

The second is Launch Labs, a three month full-time startup accelerator where entrepreneurs launch their startups while receiving hands-on expertise and connections from our network and up to $25,000 in seed funding. At the end of the Launch Labs program, entrepreneurs are connected with multiple investors, where they have the opportunity to pitch for the necessary funding to take their business to the next level.

Bizdom U’s goal is to be self-sustaining while creating waves of entrepreneurs and new businesses, and a whole new buzz in Detroit and Cleveland.

To find out more about Bizdom U:

Web: http://www.bizdom.com/
Cleveland FB: http://www.facebook.com/BizdomCleveland
Detroit FB: http://www.facebook.com/BizdomDetroit
Twitter: @Bizdom
Cleveland Twitter: @BizdomCleveland

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