Ann Arbor, Michigan: Entrepreneur Coaching for Investment Opportunity

New Enterprise Forum (NEF) is an Ann Arbor-based not-for-profit corporation
founded in 1986 to help entrepreneurs prosper and grow.

For more than 25 years we've linked entrepreneurs to management expertise, potential joint venture partners, mentors, business services, capital, and other critical resources. Since its founding, NEF has been a model for similar groups and a magnet for entrepreneurs and investors throughout Michigan and the Midwest. Our success has captured national media attention and is unique among organizations of its kind in longevity, dynamism, and the number of deals assisted.

If you share in our passion of helping entrepreneurs succeed, you will want to explore the services we offer. We offer many opportunities to participate whether you are:

  • An entrepreneur seeking capital
  • A service provider or consultant wanting to get involved
  • A student who wants to learn more from experts
  • An investor searching for business opportunities
  • An entrepreneurial organization looking for project collaboration

You have come to the right place to get connected.

Next Event

Putting the Pieces Together - An Entrepreneurs Guide to a Great Launch

Date: Thursday, 20 November 2014 - 5:00 pm   

Location: Ann Arbor SPARK Central, 330 E. Liberty St, Lower Level, Ann Arbor

It's a conundrum. Where will you focus your energies today...on perfecting a pitch, selling to customers, building your team, developing your product, executing on your marketing plan? Nailing the essential components of startup success is never easy. You have to bring all the pieces together seamlessly for a successful launch and fully functional business. If even one area is weak, you'll fall short of your potential. Join us to hear how you can build strengths in four essential area of business development: Financial Strategy, Leadership, Marketing, Product Development. If the critical issues you're facing include a lack of access to capital, ineffective management practices, and difficulty recruiting talent, developing a sales pipeline or scaling up production or services, learn from this panel experts how you can bring these pieces together and get on firm footing.


Angela Barbash, Principal and Investment Advisor for Revalue, is a registered investment advisory firm. Revalue specializes in helping investors align their investment decisions with their values and diversify their capital into the local economy. In addition to her role as an innovator in the local investment advising market, Ms. Barbash is also the visionary and founder behind Revalue’s sister company Reconsider, a research and development firm launched in 2012. Reconsider’s core purpose is to nurture the growth of the social impact economy ecosystem. Both firms are located in the Spark East business incubator in Downtown Ypsilanti and the teams work together to take a holistic systemic approach to building the local impact economy. Prior to launching Revalue and Reconsider, Angela spent 10 years as a financial advisor in the Metro Detroit region, managing over $250 million during the last decade. She studied Cultural Anthropology and History at Eastern Michigan University and began her professional career at the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC) before becoming entering the financial services sector.

Kevin Suboski, Professional Implementer for Entrepreneur Operating System. As a Professional Entrepreneur Operating System (EOS) Implementer, Kevin helps people get more of what they want from their business. While improved financials generally is part of what people want, he often finds they get as much or more satisfaction out of the peace and predictability they get as well. EOS is the Entrepreneurial Operating System as explained in Gino Wickman's book Traction. EOS is a complete set of simple tools – a system for running your business. The system is designed for entrepreneurial organizations not big corporations. Kevin works with Leadership Teams to implement the EOS which brings three key things to organizations: Vision, Traction and Team Health. Everyone in the organization gets greater clarity on the vision, discipline and accountability in executing that vision and a functional, cohesive and healthy team culture

David Bloom, Founder, Factotem. David is a founder or executive of nine startups; an advisor or director with five emerging companies; and a coach or trainer for scores of entrepreneurial ventures in Software/Mobile/SaaS, Consumer Electronics, Big Data/Analytics, and Life Science/Medical Devices. David mentors startups on Business Canvas and Customer Development, Translational Research/Commercialization, Revenue Generation, and Networking. He serves as coach and connector for Factotem's portfolio of companies. In 1995, David founded the Factotem Constellation, a global team of senior business development professionals who provide hands-on engineering, marketing, and analyst/diligence services to entrepreneurs and investors. Prior to Factotem, David worked as a product developer, project manager, magazine writer, and editor.

Maurice Collins, VP of Operations, InfoReady. Over the last 18 years, Maurice has held a wide spectrum of roles, from developer to CEO. Maurice brings a unique understanding of the business needs and using technology to deliver the business goals. Maurice brings several years of hands-on software development experience complemented by strong product development and team leadership experience. He has been a leader in technology planning and developing software products at companies such as Wellness & Prevention Inc. previously known as HealthMedia. Maurice is currently in his 3rd start-up environment and has also worked for organizations like Johnson & Johnson and AAA Michigan. Maurice holds a masters of business administration degree from Eastern Michigan University and a bachelors degree in computer science from Kettering University.


Diane Durance, president of MiQuest, which is working to ignite, unleash and promote entrepreneurship in Michigan through its initiatives that include competitions, publications, and events. MiQuest is continuing the legacy of the GLEQ Business Plan Competition with a business competition for ventures beyond the start-up stage. In addition to the competition, MiQuest publishes the Michigan Entrepreneurship Score Card and supports the Michigan Celebrates Small Business event and the 50 Companies to Watch awards. For ten years, the Entrepreneurship Score Card has tracked 120 key metrics that impact the growth and vitality of entrepreneurship in Michigan and prepared a state-by-state comparison on each metric. Prior to her current economic development roles, Diane founded and grew three companies, including a telecommunications engineering firm; a marketing communications publishing company; and an angel-funded, Ann Arbor-based home repair/handyman business. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Public Administration, both from Southern Methodist University

Showcase Presenter

Advanced Interactive Response Systems

Presenter: Valerie Obenchain, CEO

Advanced Interactive Response Systems (AIRS) is focused on improving the lives of patients who rely on oxygen therapy while concomitantly reducing the costs and improving the reliability of the oxygen systems. This is accomplished by way of AIRS’ patent protected alarm systems that monitor pressure, flow and concentration; automatically switch to a backup supply when needed; and transmit system status information to remote care givers via a variety of communication modes.

AIRS products reduce the amount of time that facility personnel spend monitoring oxygen systems, which allows the already overworked staff to accomplish more tasks; and they further reduce costs by allowing oxygen tanks to be use more completely, thereby reducing the number of needed tank changes. AIRS products also provide peace of mind to oxygen users, and potentially reduce facility liability costs, since they can provide an immediate alarm in case of a system failure.

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