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Past Events

November - Solidworks for Inventors

You have an IDEA We have a SOLUTION!Starting a business from the ground up is HARD. How can you take an idea from concept to brand, all before you ever make a profit?SOLIDWORKS is helping innovators, makers and entrepreneurs like you to create disruptive and groundbreaking products. SOLIDWORKS wants to empower you with tools and expose you toa new market of passionate engineers.What you get:• SOLIDWORKS design tools and 10+ hours of free online learning• A kick-off call with SOLIDWORKS• Co-marketing opportunities, including online promotion and speaking opportunities• Design guidance from SOLIDWORKS engineers• Hundreds of additional resources and tips to take your ideas to the next levelDASI is Here to Help!Contact Annette Norris for Information on Applyingannette@dasi-solutions.com888-327-2974 ext 1174

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October - The Habits of Successful Inventors

In our upcoming meeting, we will be talking about how you can utilize the power of your habits to become a noticeable creator or a successful inventor. If you read any business book or a book of successful people, you will find that habits are responsible for a drastic and positive change in their success story. Having habits same as the successful people is a must if you wish to be as successful as they are. If you attend the meeting you will be able to know that where your habits are contradicting with the habits of world’s most successful inventors or entrepreneurs so you can correct them. The president of the GRIN Steve Chappell will be the one who will discuss and cover all these points. And at the end of this meeting, you will have a list of small daily habits that can increase your chances of inventing success, along with that you will also get a guide to proven strategy to help you form and maintain these habits over time.

Steve Chappell is a habit-forming expert that trains people on forming good habits that are scientifically proven to work. He uses an evidence-based approach to help people to form and maintain good habits. He draws from the world’s greatest minds in, psychology, philosophy, anthropology and behavioral economics.

September - Building your Prototype in Grand Rapids

GR Inventors monthly meetups are back on September 12 in our new location. We are excited to announce our partnership with GR Makers who will be hosting our meetings at their location @ 401 Hall St. SW, Suite 185. Andrew Abissi will be talking about making and the tools that are available to help you prototype your ideas in Grand Rapids. Casey DuBois will also present on the state of GR Inventors and how you can get involved. We hope everyone has enjoyed their summer and are looking forward to getting together

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May - Crowdfunding from the Investors and Fundraisers Perspective

5/9/2017  6:00pm

Crowdfunding offers many decisions: Which type of crowdfunding? Which type of platform? What will investors think of me?


Thomas Coke, a former securities regulator and crowdfunding attorney will present an overview of the crowdfunding landscape, including history, types of crowdfunding, and test cases on best practices in the crowdfunding space for companies. 


Bring questions and prepare for a conversation as much as a presentation.


Thomas Coke is currently the VP of North America for Hubbub Fundraising.  He was previously the CEO of, a crowdfunding site for college entrepreneurs that was acquired by Hubbub in June.  He has also been the Director of Business Development at CrowdFundConnect and in Business Development for FinTech startup VerifyValid.  He advises a variety of startups in the Midwest and speaks around the country on crowdfunding, payments and electronic signatures as well as working on several state crowdfunding bills.  He is a graduate of Kalamazoo College and the Michigan State University College of Law. 

April - Practical Product Evaluation

4/11/2017  6:00pm

Join Ryan Phillips at GRIN as he shares his experience with product development and provides you with a very practical method for making decisions on moving your ideas forward. “Ideas are easy. Everyone has one. But some ideas should not make it past the drawing board.”

How to turn a single product idea into a $50-million-dollar Business?

3/14/2017  6:00pm

Steven Bosio the current president for MarketLab will be coming to talk about how MarketLab was started from a single product and has expanded into a multi-million dollar company that specializes in unique and hard to find items for the Healthcare industry.


The MarketLab story: In 1994 Mike Bieker invented a simple, yet unique, product. He designed it, prototyped it, manufactured it, and started selling it out of the basement of his house. The company was originally called Phlebotic, and it started growing as Mike added more products to his line. As he gathered more products to sell, Mike focused the company on being more of a distributor rather than a manufacturer, this was one of his company's core strengths. Changing the name to MarketLab in 1997, it grew handsomely year after year and landed on Inc. Magazine's list of the 500 fastest growing companies in the United States. In 2011 and nearing $50 million in revenue, Mike sold a majority of the company and remains a minority shareholder and director today.


We also have Valerie Obenchain with AIRS coming to talk about her progress with Advanced Interactive Response Systems - AIRS. In January Valerie won the ACE challenge and $5000 at the Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurship ACE  Valerie will discuss the challenges with making a product for the medical industry and what it takes to keep the momentum going. She's getting good at shows and was most recently at the MedHealth Summit in Detroit last month.


February GRIN meeting 3D Printing and Rapid Prototype Building

2/14/2017  6:00pm

The needs of inventors haven’t changed in the last 200 hundred years. You have a great idea and you need to make it a physical product to get it to market. What has changed is how you do it. What used to take months of skilled workmanship can now be accomplished in weeks and design revisions can be quick. Welcome to rapid prototyping! But how do you access it affordably? The community around you might just be the answer. This month we will be discussing how to access these resources and how using lower-fidelity prototypes to work out engineering and design issues is key to your invention’s development.


January GRIN meeting

1/10/2017  6:00pm

Join us at the January GRIN meeting and begin planning for your success with an interactive presentation by the business mentors from the Grand Rapids chapter of SCORE.  SCORE has over 30 members with various backgrounds from legal to CPA to business owners who are either now retired or currently actively employed in their specialized fields of businesses in the west Michigan area



December - Pitch Night at GRIN!

12/13/2016  6:00pm

We have five inventors ready to pitch their invention and share the story behind their journey. Plus, we have a very special guest, who is absolutely crushing it with his company!

Austin Groesser: Big Dipper Dough Mission: To provide the best Cookie Dough on the market, AND providing the best Customer Service Experience ever received.

Korey Cook: Submersive Solutions Non-invasive River Turbine: We offer a renewable energy source that is non-invasive and much more efficient than what is already on the market.

Jason Burt: Stow Fitness STOW Fitness is a new fitness equipment product designed to provide full featured equipment while taking up Zero space within a room.

Julie Burrell: Pumpndo Made in Michigan, the Pumpndo is a must have accessory for every nursing mom! HetherFrayer: Kaleamazoo Chips Hether created Kaleamazoo Chips in 2013 in her kitchen, inspired by her passion for encouraging folks to eat fresh, local, and delicious foods. Distribution of Kaleamazoo Chips is expanding quickly around Michigan.

And our very special guest: Jordan Vanderham:Orindi Ventures Orindi Ventures offers a mask that allows cold air workers to breathe in warm air. Jordan is excited to share his stories on winning pitch contests!

November - Organizations that Help Inventors

11/8/2016  6:00pm

It’s a triple-header at GRIN on Tuesday night. 

We have multiple guests tonight, representing Start Garden, Collective Metrics and the Ag-Tech Business Incubator.


 All these organizations help support inventors in a variety of ways including funding, business development and connecting to the right resources at the right time. There will be short presentations followed by Q & A. 


Start Garden – Speaker; Laurie Supinski

Launched in 2012, Start Garden burst onto the scene with its $15 million seed capital fund. The thought was simple, invest $5,000 in two companies each week. Over the course of 18 months, over 200 startups received $5,000 grants. This capital infusion kick-started the growth of new companies throughout West Michigan. In the past 4 years, Start Garden has stood at the center of an emerging entrepreneurial ecosystem launching 5x5 Night, and the Seamless Accelerator in 2015. The organization continues to evolve to meet needs of area entrepreneurs including its new partnership with the GRABB 5, 

Collective Metrics, and Kiva ZIP. Supported by the Grand Rapids LDFA, Start Garden is returning to its roots of providing support to entrepreneurs of all types.


Collective Metrics – Speaker; Austin Dean

Having difficulty finding the help you need to grow your business? Released in 2015, Collective Metrics is an online map of all the startup resources in the community. Learn how to navigate the interactive map and find the programs, mentors and capital available to you locally. Connect with other entrepreneurs and even add your business to the directory.

Collective Metrics is a regional initiative led by Start Garden, the City of Grand Rapids and Holland’s Lakeshore Advantage with the purpose of improving access to information for entrepreneurs across the region.


Great Lakes Ag-Tech Business Incubator: Speakers; Paul Sachs, Becky Huttenga, Doug Huesdash

 A recent literature study led by AgFunder identified the Great Lakes Ag-Tech Business Incubator, located in West Michigan, as one of only 11 Venture Development Organizations that specifically focus on ag-technology. The study identified a total of only 77 organizations worldwide that provide startup services specifically for the ag-tech sector. Safe, efficient, and profitable food production literally benefits everyone, and our 501c6 organization strives to assist entrepreneurs in bringing ag technologies that will help achieve those goals to the marketplace. While ag-tech startups are different in some ways from startups in other industries, in many ways they are similar. Challenges that require a tech solution, like the need for automation and improving distribution methods, are not unique to the ag industry. Therefore, not all great ideas and inventions that can solve ag problems come from the ag sector. Join us November 8 to learn about our unique model, what we do, how we do it, and whether YOUR invention could benefit the ag industry.

10/11/2016  6:00pm

The worldwide 3D printing industry is expected to become a 12-Billion Dollar industry in 2018 and nearly double that by 2020. Additive manufacturing can quickly create objects that may be impossible by any other process and is of great interest to those who want to get their product into the hands of investors or early customers. We have assembled a panel of 5 experts to share what this looks like today and what's on the horizon. They are knowledgeable in everything from the design process of an object (3D modeling, 3D scanning) to the actual creation of the object (materials, machines, and man power). Come and learn about what this means for you and your next big idea!

9/13/2016  6:00pm

Inventors are always interested in knowing how developed their invention or product needs to be in order to get sufficient interest from investors to continue moving forward. Scott Daigger has extensive experience in working with entrepreneurs to get their technology built into a successful company. Scott has experience working with numerous early-stage technology and service companies, including a consumer ideation and product development company he co-founded prior to joining Spectrum Health. Scott also previously worked with the Wisconsin Angel Network to help increase early stage investment in that state. Scott has been involved in the Board of Advisors for the Great Lakes chapter of the MIT Enterprise Forum, as a GLEQ and MWest Business Plan Contest judge, and formerly as president of his alma mater’s Entrepreneurship Association.

8/9/2016  6:00pm

In short, you’ve GOT to know this stuff in order to successfully build a business. Marketing and sales are key to building a viable business … key to transitioning from a hobby to a genuine business.

Bill McHenry (marketing) and Randy Sherwood (sales) are experts at these two vital skills. Both have been at this for years. Both are consultants focusing on helping businesses be effective … including start ups. Come pick their brains! The discussion will focus on key aspects of marketing and sales, questions will be answered, and as a bonus, we will do some hands-on skill testing. A goal is that, by the end of the meeting, you know your strengths … and your weaknesses … as well as get some practice on hands on activities.

7/12/2016  6:00pm

Three experts say how THEY would develop three specific product ideas. These three experts have bought and sold more businesses … been part of more start ups … developed more products … than you and I have relatives! The purpose of this meeting is to get specific … to talk about product development timelines and decisions. The experts will comment on three specific product concepts, how they would proceed, when, and for what cost.


6/14/2016  6:00pm

 Join us for an evening focused on entrepreneurship. Hear pitches from local college students who are creating innovative and exciting new concepts. There are no winners or losers - just an open forum to see what some of the up-and-coming talent is bringing to the market.


June - You're Talking. Is Anyone Listening?

6/9/2015 6:00 p.m.

Aren’t sure where to focus your marketing efforts? Or maybe you’re looking to branch out into social media marketing but aren’t sure how. Marketing is a key component for business development. Join us to learn about the importance of developing a proper marketing strategy, and how to implement it, including social media marketing tips, as well as available resources at the Library.

July - Shark Tank Pitch Competition

7/14/2015 6:00 p.m.

We will have a pitch completion, where several GRIN members pitch their ideas to a panel of experts. Kind of like a “Shark Tank” ar- rangement, but the panelists on TV had scheduling conflicts and couldn’t come ... so this will be more about pride than venture capital investment.

August - Life Cycle of Startups

8/11/2015 6:00 p.m.


The life of a start up business is amazingly predictable … for people who have gone through it. Come listen to a couple guys who did it … and did it amazingly well.

Ken Johnson started a game manufacturing company in his parents’ basement … with some pretty good success. In 1982 he hit a grand slam … creating the "Phase 10" card game. His first customers included K-Mart and Meijer stores. In 1987, it went worldwide, and became the 2nd best-selling card game in the world. He now receives royalties from orldwide sales, and it is sold in over 30 countries! Ask him how. What did he do? When? How did he even come up with the idea? These are things you need to know!

October - How USPTO Helps the Small Inventor

10/13/2015 6:00 p.m.

Christal Sheppard, the USPTO’s Director for the Detroit Office, will come lead an interactive session about inventor-assist resources and services offered at the USPTO Detroit Satellite Office. Come get your questions answers … straight from the director of the USPTO’s Detroit Office.

September - Innovating at Amway

9/8/2015 6:00 p.m.

Doug DeVos, president of Amway, leads an incredibly innovative machine.

- Learn how.

- Learn what it’s like.

- Learn how it was built…and continues to build.

But even more than that, listen to the journey … the incredible, unbelievable, and hugely-awesome journey of successes … and not-so-successful ventures … Learn about risks worth taking … and risks not-so-worth taking! Learn more than j

November - Ignite Your Innovation … WMU Has Your “MATCH”!!!!!

11/10/2015 6:00pm

Inventors have a wide variety of needs. WMU has a wide team of experts. Come find out how to access WMU’s team of experts.

December - Six GRIN Members Tell Their Story

12/8/2015 6:00pm

SIX GRIN MEMBERS are going to share their story of conception to business plan to product development to prototyping to first sale to steady sales … and all the challenges that went with it … financial, family, time, risk, worries, “constraints”, keys to success …

1/12/2016 6:00 pm

Start-ups start small, often as a one-person army (or two-person platoon). This meeting is a reality check. Learn what life as a start up is like, and how to deal with it. Learn how successful entrepreneurs successfully balance competition for their time, money, resources, and core energy

2/9/2016  6:00pm


SBDC has experts … lots of them … all ready to help YOU … giving assistance in marketing, finance, accounting/budgeting, business plans, and many more things … And its provided at no charge … so you can’t beat the price. Dante Villarreal leads the SBDC office. Come listen as he talks about his team … which includes ex-entrepreneurs (who have run successful startups), ex-bankers, expert accountants, experts at writing and implementing business plans, and experts with many other skills sets. Come find out how to tap this resource!

3/8/2016  6:00pm

Jack Keller and Drew Ysserdyke, both commercial lenders, will lead a discussion bout bank loans. Yes, banks DO lend money for start-up businesses … but be aware, banks also LIMIT their risk. You need to understand both sides of that equation. Jack is a commercial lender working at Lake Michigan Credit Union, and Drew Ysserdyke is VP of Customer Relations at Old National Bank (formerly Founders Trust). Serious discussion for serious entrepreneurs searching for the best mix of financing to get their ideas off the ground.

April - Expert Tables

4/12/16  6:00 pm

This April the GRIN is having another ask the Expert table meeting. This is a different format than our normal meeting. We will have 14 of the most in-demand experts sitting at different tables answering question from local inventors. If you are not comfortable asking the questions you still can sit in at any table and listen to what other problems inventors are running into. Check out the flyer for the list of tables.

5/10/2016  6:00pm

A partnership is an arrangement in which two or more individuals share the profits and liabilities of a business venture. But what makes partnerships work? Learn about the pros and cons of partnerships.


Join Orville Crain as he leads a discussion about what works and what doesn’t. Orville will share his experiences from a lifetime of being an entrepreneur.


Also, Todd Stuart Law, PLC will join the discussion how to structure a partnership agreement.

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