Business-in-residence Spotlight: Camp Tavor

  What does your business do? Camp Tavor, a nonprofit Jewish youth camp located in Three Rivers, MI (but headquartered at the Green Garage), cultivates self-confidence and community in Jewish youth through activities that focus on sustainability, creativity, and collaboration. Camp Activities: Camp Tavor’s enriching programs include daily “popular education” seminars based on the summer’s theme (e.g., a few years ago, the theme was compost). Campers also take part in kibbutz-style dorming where youth of all ages take responsibility for different aspects of their camping experience. For example, campers will be assigned special jobs to perform every morning such as cleaning or preparing meals. Furthermore, Camp Tavor offers employment opportunities for teenagers and … [Read more...]

Business-in-residence Spotlight: ProSeeds

Planting the seeds of change… What? ProSeeds is a consulting firm that supports community and economic development by providing grant writing, project management, and technical assistance to nonprofits located in Detroit. Who? Libby Levy, Principal of ProSeeds, works independently as a business consultant. However, she partners with a wide variety of companies and civic organizations to achieve her community development goals. She also teaches urban planning graduate students at the University of Michigan. A number of Libby’s partners are actually other Green Garage businesses, including Goaltrac, New Solutions Group, livingLAB, Center for Community Progress, Patronicity, and more recently, Great Lakes Environmental Law Center. When and How? In the early 2000s, Libby, … [Read more...]

Business-in-residence Spotlight: CollabFeature

What do they do? CollabFeature is a collaborative filmmaking platform that facilitates the creation of multi-director  feature films, series, documentaries, and news media. Who? CollabFeature is Marty Shea (who works at the Green Garage) and Ian Bonner, along with an extensive network of more than 150 filmmakers from across the globe. Marty’s Background: Marty’s passion for film can be traced back to when he was just a kid. Utilizing the limited cast of his two sisters, Marty would make movies. This passion followed him to college, where he took Film Studies classes. Those film classes, meanwhile, led to a job at the Michigan Film Office and an internship on his first film set. That internship led him to a career as a producer, director and crew member where he worked on … [Read more...]

Business-in-residence Spotlight: LaunchGood

Crowdfunding Incredible Muslims Worldwide  What? LaunchGood is a global crowdfunding platform that supports and aids Muslims in raising funds for ideas, projects, and creative efforts. Projects they promote include: The first women’s Muslim workout DVD Fundraising for traumatic events such as the San Bernardino and Orlando shootings Home for Orphan Girls- Provides Quality Education, Healthcare, Wholesome Nutrition, Shelter, Clothing, Loving Home Environment, Guidance, and Hope to orphan girls in Lahore, Punjab. Safe hands for Girls- Works towards ending female genital mutilation. (Gambia) Winter relief for Syrian Refugees in Greece- “provide an extremely vulnerable population with bare essentials for winter, such as warm food, hats, gloves, socks, blankets, … [Read more...]

Business-in-residence Spotlight: livingLab

Landscape architecture : planning : project realization   What do they do? livingLAB is a planning and landscape architecture design studio that partners with governmental entities, cities, townships, neighborhood organizations, and other nonprofits, as well as private landowners, to create sustainable, cutting-edge planning and community design projects. Who? Leah Groya(planner and interviewee), Jason Macdonald, Courtney Piotrowski (landscape architects), and Lauren Hoffman (landscape designer). The Start: livingLAB started five years ago when Leah, Jason, and Courtney, who all worked together previously,  discussed their idea of wanting to start a design studio where they could be integrated with the community, heavily involved in projects, and flexible with … [Read more...]

Mistakes are the compost for growth and learning

Every Thursday from 12:00-1:30, the Green Garage hosts an open lunchtime conversation about the leadership of triple bottom line businesses. Regularly in attendance is Harriet Greenwood, who operates her consultancy Greenwood Solutions out of the Green Garage. This post, originally published in Harriet's blog, was inspired by the conversation at one of those lunches.  * * * Mistakes are crucially important to entrepreneurs. When you’re working on something new, it’s normal for things to go wrong. The only real failure is the failure to learn from what happens. Life experiences – which inevitably include mistakes – are the best teacher. Some programs encourage entrepreneurs to write business plans and go the bank right away for financing.  Those business plans are often pure fiction.  … [Read more...]

Business-in-residence Spotlight: Foodlab Detroit

Food Entrepreneurs for a just, vibrant, and sustainable Detroit What do they do? FoodLab Detroit is a non-profit organization that connects and supports a diverse community of food businesses and partners working to create a sustainable local food economy accessible to all. Their work falls into three categories: cultivate (helping values-based businesses start, grow, and experiment); connect (building relationships through member mixers and meetups); and catalyze (getting members engaged in the larger food community of Detroit). Membership FoodLab Detroit has over 200 members. Members of Foodlab are independent food businesses rooted in Detroit and dedicated to cultivating their business, empowering Detroit, and building valuable relationships.  FoodLab provides its members … [Read more...]

Business-in-residence Spotlight: Global Detroit

Mobilizing Detroit’s immigrant potential What do they do? Global Detro is a non-profit that promotes awareness of the benefits immigrants bring to southeast Michigan. They run a number of initiatives to make the region more welcoming and to empower immigrants to fully participate in the regional economy. Who? Steve Tobocman is the founder and Director of Global Detroit. Sloan Herrick, my interviewee, is their Deputy Director. Raquel Garcia Andersen, Director of Partnerships and Community Outreach. Gracie Xavier, Director of Corporate and Economic Development Strategy. Kathryn Brennan, program manager. Beth Szurpicki, Director of Special Projects. Mary Lane, Director, Welcome Mat Detroit. After serving five years on legislature, Steve Tobocman was approached by the Skillman … [Read more...]

Business-in-residence Spotlight: Simply Well Communities

Sustainable Pocket Neighborhoods What do they do? Simply Well Communities facilitates health and wellness through the built environment. They design living spaces that promote five pillars of health and wellness: community, architecture, physical activity, access to healthy food, and access to nature. Who? Lawrence and Kimberly Williamson, founders of Simply Well Communities Three years ago, Kimberly and Lawrence moved to Detroit from southern California. They noticed the excessive blight and barely livable neighborhoods Detroit offers. Knowing the strong connection between a person’s environment and their mental stability, they set out on a journey to pull Detroit residents from the snares of poverty, mental illness, and obesity. Initially, Kimberly had an idea of … [Read more...]

Business-in-residence Spotlight: What’s Next LLC

What do they do? What’s Next LLC is a business consultancy and coaching organization that coaches triple bottom line businesses. For example, their current clients, a group of collision repair industry leaders who are working to get the word out about how sustainability and the triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) could be a game changer for the collision repair industry, are consulting with What’s Next on building the usefulness of the internal team, and staying focused. By working with these clients, What’s Next  is emphasizing the worth of people in triple bottom line values. Who? Mike Shesterkin, founder of What’s Next LLC. After working 33 years at AkzoNobel, a company that sells paint to independent automobile businesses, Mike was told that his job was being … [Read more...]