Use the MSU Product Center to start your business
The MSU Product Center helps individuals and businesses launch new ventures by reducing the risk of business development.
March 4, 2011 - Author: Tom Kalchik, Michigan State University Extension, MSU Product Center
The Michigan State UniversityProduct Center for food, agriculture, natural resources and the bioeconomy was created in 2003 by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station (now known as AgBioResearch), and Michigan State University Extension. The vision of the Product Center is to be the go-to place for venture development in the food, ag, natural resource and bioeconomy sectors in Michigan.
The Product Center is a network of resources to assist in the creation of new ventures. This network provides a bridge between entrepreneurs and support services such as business, marketing, technical and scientific resources. It is a blend of expertise in MSU and external partners. Internal expertise includes campus staff, faculty and specialists. The Product Center has developed a network of external service providers that includes legal, marketing, and other business expertise. The key element of the network is a statewide cadre of innovation counselors who assist aspiring entrepreneurs with the business development process.
People with an idea for a business related to food, agriculture, natural resources or the bioeconomy, as well as existing businesses in these areas can seek help from the MSU Product Center. Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur who needs to develop your idea or concept, or an existing business seeking help with product development, nutritional labeling, or feasibility of a new project, the Product Center can provide resources to assist you
If you’d like to connect with the MSU Product Center, fill out our request for counseling. Include a brief description of your product or idea. After you submit your form you will receive an automated confirmation with a link to a confidential disclosure agreement. Complete and return that form to the Product Center per its accompanying instructions. Product Center staff members will respond within two business days to develop a plan of work for your project.
The Product Center also provides access to working papers and reports which can benefit anyone seeking more information about markets and product development. Our market reports include The Economic Impact and Potential of Michigan’s Agri-Food System, which is the source of the much used data on Michigan’s $71.3 billion agri-food system—the second largest industry in the state. Rapid opportunity assessments give insights into where potentially successful and profitable unique product ideas may be found in today’s marketplace. Full reports provide detailed information about critical consumer trends affecting each product category, then present analysis to determine which have greater or lesser potential to capitalize on the trends and demographics. Fact sheets broadly identify potential opportunities for high profit products and markets.
The Product Center has assisted almost 2,000 Michigan residents. Its innovation counselors have conducted more than 15,000 individual counseling sessions. It has helped Michigan residents launch 164 known new ventures that have created or retained 1,100 jobs, invested almost $230 million in the Michigan economy, and increased their first year sales almost $310 million.