More Than 100 Michigan Start-ups Helped through MiSpringboard
Back in 2011, Varnum launched the MiSpringboard program, designed to help new and second-stage businesses in Michigan grow by providing free legal services to entrepreneurs with bright ideas and limited means. Varnum committed up to $1 million to the program, which was launched at a Lansing press conference featuring Gov. Rick Snyder and other state officials.
At the time of launch, it was unclear just how many businesses would qualify or even apply for the program. Clients had to meet basic criteria and be nominated by referral partner organizations in order to be eligible for the program, which includes a commitment of at least $2500 in legal services to each client.
Now, three years and more than 100 clients later, it's safe to say it's been a success, and a clear benefit to many of the clients who are well on their way to running successful businesses.
Client businesses in the program include health care-related products, training programs and retail offerings, but the largest percentage of businesses are technology related, including many software-as-a-service (SaaS) type companies.
“There is a great entrepreneurial spirit here in Michigan and many young individuals are taking risks and starting new companies,” said Varnum attorney Harvey Koning, who has worked with several clients in the program. “We have a lot of talent here and this new generation of entrepreneurs grew up in a technology-driven world and are creating innovative businesses using technology in new and creative ways."
MiSpringboard clients come from more than 40 different cities around the state, with the largest segment from the SE Michigan area. More than 20 organizations – including the MEDC, SBTDC, and a variety of economic development organizations, investors and angel funds from around the state – have referred clients to the program. Over $400,000 in free legal services has been provided through the program.
To mark its third year, MiSpringboard held a June reception at Detroit's Grand Circus training institute (itself a MiSpringboard client) where more than 70 clients, referral partners, and investors gathered to celebrate, network and commiserate about the ups and downs of launching a new business.
To learn more about the MiSpringboard program, including representative client stories, visit www.MiSpringboard.com.