MSU Product Center Assists Michigan's Agriculture and Food Industries
MSU Researcher Dale Mutch
The MSU Product Center is improving economic opportunities in Michigan's agriculture and food industries by helping clients develop and commercialize high value, consumer responsive products and businesses. The Product Center employs a multi-phase process that utilizes the following resources at various stages of a company's growth.
A statewide network of innovation counselors is available to guide entrepreneurs from the idea phase to start-up and beyond. These professionals are trained to help assess new products and businesses, provide guidance in the developmental phase, identify markets, and otherwise help entrepreneurs make informed decisions.
The Product Center's coordinating Venture Development unit pinpoints the most effective resources available to entrepreneurs at MSU or through state and federal agencies and private companies to help move existing projects forward.
Product Center analysts publish a variety of fact sheets and market reports to provide insights into where potentially successful product development ideas are found in today's marketplace. They are especially useful to entrepreneurs seeking high-value, differentiated, or niche products.
On October 19, 2011, the Center will present its annual Making it in Michigan Conference and Marketplace Trade Show. This event offers practical, handson educational classes on launching or expanding a business and showcases over 130 vendors. For more information visit Making it in Michigan.
The Michigan branch of MarketMaker, a multi-state, interactive, online mapping system, is maintained by the Product Center. It can be used to bring together agricultural product businesses and markets across Michigan, providing an important link between producers and consumers. Visit http://mimarketmaker.msu.edu for information on local agribusinesses and food products.
Team members assist in projects that will provide at least $1 million in new investments, $2 million in additional sales, or 30 or more new or retained jobs.
Recently added to the Product Center portfolio is the High Impact Venture Action Team (HI-VAT). HI-VAT is a partnership of the MSU Product Center in cooperation with MSU Extension, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and the Michigan office of USDA Rural Development. Its purpose is to quickly respond to challenges faced by agribusiness firms in Michigan as they prepare to expand their job opportunities and economic impact. These challenges might include regulatory compliance, marketing, business planning, or financing.
Team members assist in projects that will provide at least $1 million in new investments, $2 million in additional sales, or 30 or more new or retained jobs. According to Tom Kalchik, associate director of the Product Center, the Team has already assisted one company with a project that meets these criteria and is currently working on three other projects.