Entrepreneurial conference encourages innovation for investment

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published October 25, 2016

Do you need money for your startup business? How does $50,000 or even $3 million sound?

A nonprofit entrepreneurial organization wants to hear innovative ideas from potential startup companies at a conference Oct. 27 in Dearborn — a total of $1 billion will be given out for investments. Registration costs vary, but they start at around $200.

The conference, TiECon Midwest 2016: Ignite 2 Disrupt; Connected World/Connected Technologies is health care and mobility-centered.

“This is an amazing opportunity, and they don’t want to be left out,” Tel Ganesan, president of TiE Detroit, said during a recent phone interview.

The startups’ focus will be finding solutions to health issues worldwide, and the investment opportunity will include incubation space and senior mentorship, according to a press release.

Ganesan said in a press release that the search has begun for new developments in science and technology that will improve health on a global scale.

“We believe total investment of this magnitude for all startups, and the providing of physical incubation space in Michigan, can assist innovators with solutions that will benefit humanity worldwide,” Ganesan said. “This, I believe, will be a trendsetting conference for innovators in the Midwest region, if not nationally or globally.”

The incubation space is on a 25-acre campus with five vacant buildings ready to be occupied in the area bounded by Halsted, 11 Mile, 12 Mile and Haggerty roads in Farmington Hills.

The $1 billion investment is coming from Farmington Hills resident Manoj Bhargava, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, and the founder and CEO of Living Essentials. The company is known for producing the 5-hour Energy drink, according to www.tieconmidwest.org/manoj-bhargava.php.

Bhargava moved to the United States in 1967 at the age of 14 from Lucknow, India, where he was born.

In the early 1990s, Manoj founded a plastics company that reached $20 million in sales, at which point he sold to a private equity firm, according to the website. With that money, he began his consumer products company, Living Essentials. Since then, Bhargava has pledged to giving away 99 percent of his $4 billion net worth.

He presently creates solutions at Stage 2 Innovations, his invention shop in Farmington Hills, according to the website, along with supporting charitable organizations in India.

“My approach to things is let’s invent things that make a difference to people's lives, and the inventions that really matter are the ones that will help the poorer half of the world. Let’s do stuff, not just talk about it,” he is quoted on the website.

Bhargava could not be reached for comment by press time.

During the conference, the investments on each project will vary from $50,000 to a few million, based on the project.

The conference is scheduled for Oct. 27-28 at The Henry, 300 Town Center Drive in Dearborn.

Bhargava and an innovation team will meet with the groups looking for funding, according to the report.

The conference will also have a lineup of speakers, including gastroenterologist Dr. Partha Nandi, also of Farmington Hills-based “Ask Dr. Nandi” talk show.

Nandi said the event is about focusing on mobility and how it can impact health care.

“What I like about this conference is that it allows you to talk about how the health care has changed, but really become better,” Nandi said, adding that he will talk about technological advances in health care. “Social media and digital media is really helpful.”

Nandi said patients living in smaller towns where doctors are not always available could be more easily accessible through telemedicine on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

“We gets tons of messages — ‘This is my medical problem’— from all parts of the country and the world. … It is revolutionary, what is happening.”

Nandi added that he thinks people will be looking forward to what is happening in the state with mobility and technology.

“We are contributing to the whole platform; we can become a hub… and have another industry that can thrive, and that excites me,” Nandi said.

Ganesan said he is looking to spread the word on the conference and hopes people will submit their ideas. The goal is to also bring more companies to Michigan.

“We ... have a lot of space available,” Ganesan said.

He said the investment opportunities are not geared toward universities or large corporations, but rather innovators who have ideas that can impact health throughout the world, with the exception of drugs.

“I am excited to say the playground is now open,” he said in the release.

Participants must pre-register via www.tieconmidwest.org, and applicants must attend the event. Email sarahm@kyyba.com for more information.