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

NEF Pitch Pit

Date: Thursday, 15 May 2014 - 5:00 pm   

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

Three entrepreneurs will each give a four-minute pitch of their business idea to a panel of investor judges in a “Shark Tank” format. Prototypes and visual aids are encouraged but, no Power Point presentations. After each pitch, the judges will give detailed feedback and score the business. At the end of the evening, the person with the highest score will receive a $100 cash prize plus all additional prize money provided by the audience.

The three entrepreneurs, selected from a large pool of applicant are:

  • Wesley Steen of Soup Spoon  – Providing utensils for people with motor skill issues.
  • Denis Foo Kune of Virtalabs – Enabling malware and anomaly detection via power cord monitoring.
  • Karthik Raman of Devices for the Elderly – Offering devices to improve the life styles of the elderly.

Pitch Pit Judges:

Melissa Wong Aagesen of Certare Ventures is an experienced angel investor through a family partnership specializing in real estate, start-ups, and established firms. Certare’s current portfolio includes more than 40 firms. Melissa is actively involved in the direct investment process, development of detailed financial models, and monitoring and guidance of portfolio company performance. She has also consulted for Microsoft, Northwest Airlines, Coopers & Lybrand, and Ernst & Young.

Ray Waters is the President of the Detroit Development Fund (formerly Enterprise Detroit) and the Managing Director of the Detroit Community Loan Fund (DCLF), which provide growth capital to minority-owned businesses in the City of Detroit. Ray’s business career includes many years’ experience as CEO and owner of three profitable growth companies, two of which were start-up ventures.  He is also a past president of the New Enterprise Forum.

David Pierle, SVP, PNC Commercial Banking, is a relationship manager for middle market clients in Ann Arbor and throughout SE Michigan.  David's primary responsibilities include business development as well as advising clients on credit and treasury management solutions. David's 19 years in banking have allowed him to work with hundreds of businesses across a wide range of industries. This experience gives David a unique perspective to serve as a trusted advisor to clients along with their CPAs, attorneys and other advisors. Prior to his current position at PNC, David worked as a community banker in Genesee, Oakland and Livingston Counties.  He has a BSBA from Central Michigan University and an MBA from University of Michigan