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Lansing’s NEO Center partners with Spartan Innovations

The Center for New Enterprise Opportunity, Lansing’s first business incubator, is partnering with Spartan Innovations to help the region gain more entrepreneurial traction.

The partnership will allow five teams of Michigan State students to receive eight months of coaching from the NEO Center in all aspects of starting a sustainable business.

NEO Center founding member Tom Stewart will mentor them at The Hatch, MSU’s student incubator.

“We want MSU students to build successful businesses that will be making them money before they graduate,” Stewart said. “We’re trying to grow an entrepreneurial ecosystem here in Lansing that engages, empowers and keeps young talent in Michigan. It’s starting to happen, and that’s exciting.”

“Student startups benefit significantly from being exposed to, and part of, a supportive culture of entrepreneurship activity,” shared Paul Jaques, director of student and community relations at Spartan Innovations. “This partnership allows us to provide students with a stronger entrepreneurial network, more experience in working with an expanded start-up community, and great resources.” 

The five student business start-ups participating in the program are:

  • Tech Twurl: Electronics become outdated quickly, and this company will buy your old (or not-so-old) used or newer electronics in a simple and secure way that gets you your money quickly.
  • Carbon Cash: This app rewards college students for conserving electricity and reducing their carbon footprint with discounts from their favorite retailers.
  • York Apparel: For every article of clothing sold, York Apparel donates a needed article of clothing to a homeless person in the U.S. So far, they’ve donated more than 900 hats, socks, gloves and underwear.
  • Folyo: Pronounced “folio,” this website is a social platform that goes beyond the transaction phase of buying or selling artwork. Artists and art lovers can create a profile to buy or sell work and to develop a connection with each other.
  • Lyke Me: Think of it as LinkedIn meets Facebook — people who don’t know each other but share social and professional interests can find each other. It’s a way for people to meet new friends — not simply connect online with friends they already have.

This pilot program builds on the NEO Center’s proven success in its first three years in Lansing, giving more than 30 new businesses the tools to succeed and thrive.

“Our work with Spartan Innovations is a continuation of the success we’ve already generated in greater Lansing,” Stewart said.

This is not the first time Spartan Innovations and the NEO Center have worked together. The two have partnered on local entrepreneurial events including The Hatching, a community effort to cultivate and support entrepreneurs through a live pitching competition.