WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: Lawrence Tech’s Annual Robofest Goes Virtual (Episode 78)

On today’s WJR Business Beat, Jeff shares news that the Lawrence Technological University Annual Student Robofest, which involves more than 2,500 LTU students, is going virtual this year.

The event, originally scheduled for May 14 to 16 on LTU’s Southfield campus, will now take place beginning August 28 through 29 and continue October 2 through 3 via video conferencing.

As reported in DBusiness magazine, C.J. Chung, Robofest inventor and professor of computer science at LTU, says, “We are proud to announce that Robofest is currently the only robotics world championship operating this year.”

Listen to today’s WJR Business Beat for more details on this entrepreneurial event:


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“These (events) drive technological advances. Ultimately these are the seeds; this is where it all starts, and we’re thrilled the event is going on.”
– Jeff Sloan

Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at 7:11 a.m. for the WJR Business Beat. Listeners outside of the Detroit area can listen live HERE.

Are you an entrepreneur with a great story to share? If so, contact us at editor@startupnation.com and we’ll feature you on an upcoming segment of the WJR Business Beat!

This segment is brought to you by Dell Technologies

WJR Business Beat Transcript

Good morning, Paul.

Today on the Business Beat, we’re pleased to report that the Lawrence Technological University Annual Student Robofest world championship, which involves more than 2,500 LTU students. Instead of canceling it, it’s moving online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event, originally scheduled for May 14 to 16 on LTU’s Southfield campus, will now take place beginning August 28 through 29 and continue through October second, third via video conferencing and other sign of the changing times. But we’re thrilled this event will go on the importance of events like this are these events help shape students’ minds. They force technological thinking, innovative and progressive thinking, which can result in the seeds of really interesting startup companies being born out of our region.

Now as reported in DBusiness magazine, C.J. Chung, Robofest inventor and professor of computer science at LTU, says, “We are proud to announce that Robofest is currently the only robotics world championship operating this year.”

That’s amazing. The only one, and of course it’s going to be operating online, but it will be taking place, Paul. Robofest teams can choose to participate in a variety of events. Love these.

How about golf bowl in which students design and build a robot to putt golf balls into holes on a six-foot table, while also knocking over water bottles.

How about bottle Sumo time trial, a competition in which robots try to push water bottles off a table. Robo arts, in which students create robots that offer artistic performances like music or dance. Robo med, in which students create medical care robots. And the list goes on and on.

Now, on the surface, these may seem playful and maybe even silly, but again, these drive technological advances. Ultimately these are the seeds. This is where it all starts, and we’re thrilled the event is going on.

I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO of StartupNation.com and that’s today’s business beat on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.

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WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: John Gallagher Offers Key Takeaways from Day 1 of Detroit Startup Week (Episode 79)

On this morning’s WJR Business Beat, Jeff shares insights from John Gallagher, former Detroit Free Press columnist and noted author, who provides key takeaways from the first day of Detroit Startup Week.

Tune in to below to hear John’s key highlights: 


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Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at 7:11 a.m. for the WJR Business Beat. Listeners outside of the Detroit area can listen live HERE.

Are you an entrepreneur with a great story to share? If so, contact us at editor@startupnation.com and we’ll feature you on an upcoming segment of the WJR Business Beat!

This segment is brought to you by Dell Technologies

WJR Business Beat Transcript

Good morning, Paul.

We’re midway through Detroit Startup Week, and to cover the action and key takeaways for us, we’re fortunate to have John Gallagher, former Detroit Free Press columnist and noted author, reporting for us. Here’s some key highlights from John’s latest report. D

Dug Song, founder of the unicorn company, Duo Security, in Ann Arbor said Monday, the big change in metro Detroit startup culture has been moving from a few celebrity entrepreneurs to a more grassroots, bottom up roster of numerous players. There has been this swell of support for broader more community-based entrepreneurship. He said, I’m excited to see how far that’s gone and a very rich community of support.

And so are the long-term difficulties facing entrepreneurs of color. Minority startups have always faced a harder road since entrepreneurs of color tend to have less family wealth to back them up. And they may face a residue of misunderstanding and racism in applying for loans and the like many programs have attempted to address these inequalities, including the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund created by JP Morgan Chase, WK Kellogg Foundation and others, which has aided dozens of minority entrepreneurs in Detroit. But there’s still a long way to go to even the playing field.

Thank you, John. We’ll be reporting more together from Detroit Startup Week, so stay tuned.

I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO of StartupNation.com, and that’s today’s Business Beat on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.

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WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: John Gallagher Reviews Day 4 of Detroit Startup Week (Episode 81)

On this morning’s WJR Business Beat, Jeff welcomes back John Gallagher, former Detroit Free Press columnist, noted author and WJR Business Beat reporter, who shares his review of Thursday’s sessions during Detroit Startup Week.

Listen to John’s insights, below: 


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“If Detroit Startup Week is demonstrating anything, it’s that the startup world is adapting to the new normal created by the coronavirus lockdown.”

– John Gallagher

Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at 7:11 a.m. for the WJR Business Beat. Listeners outside of the Detroit area can listen live HERE.

Are you an entrepreneur with a great story to share? If so, contact us at editor@startupnation.com and we’ll feature you on an upcoming segment of the WJR Business Beat!

This segment is brought to you by Dell Technologies

WJR Business Beat Transcript

Good morning, Paul.

Well, as you know, this is Detroit Startup Week, going on all week here in Detroit this year, it’s all virtual, no in person meetings or events at all, all taking place online. The first of its kind in the world, as I understand, and we’ve got our Business Beat reporter, our StartupNation Business Beat reporter, John Gallagher, who’s going to give us a review from yesterday’s conference.

If Detroit Startup Week is demonstrating anything, it’s that the startup world is adapting to the new normal created by the coronavirus lockdown. Thursday morning saw a thoughtful discussion of social entrepreneurship, featuring Dr. Marcus Harris, the lecturer in entrepreneurship at the university of Michigan Dearborn dispelling the myth that social entrepreneurs are somehow different from all other entrepreneurs.

Harris said that social entrepreneurship follows the same process that traditional entrepreneurship does. Quote, “You still have to raise capital,” he said. “You still have to have a product or service that fills a customer or market need.” What’s different, he said, is the motivation. The goal is to pursue a social mission, perhaps creating more jobs for low income people or generating profits to share with the community.

But you’re pursuing that social mission through commercial means. Generating social value begins with having a successful business. Quote, “social entrepreneurs make money,” Harris said. They still generate profits. The only difference is that the main goal is designed to create social impact. He cited the example of Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, New York, whose motto is, quote, “We don’t hire people to bake brownies. We bake brownies to hire people.”

Jeff Sloan, CEO of StartupNation, said the coronavirus crisis has revealed how unnecessary were some of the old ways of doing this, like flying to the west coast for a one-hour business meeting. A lot of these things are being shaken out of business today, he said, but it took a crisis to break down such hardened business habits.

“It was a hard thing to disrupt how we were doing business before,” he said.

These sessions and more at Detroit Startup Week illustrate that the coronavirus crisis presents opportunities for entrepreneurs as well as challenges. As Jeff Sloan said, quote, “Now more than ever, the intuition of an entrepreneur comes into play today like never before.”

For StartupNation, this is John Gallagher.

Thanks John. We’ve got one more great day of Detroit Startup Week ahead.

Don’t miss it today. A couple of highlights to point out. We’ve got women owned businesses in Michigan, that’s StartupNation Radio live featuring RJ King and Monica Wheat. That’ll be at 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM today.

And then, how about The Power of a Photograph led by the one and only Linda Solomon, check that out at 11:00 AM today as well.

There’s lots of other great programming and I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO of StartupNation.com, and that’s today’s Business Beat on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.

This segment brought to you by Dell Technologies.

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WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: Eskalera Technology Helps Create a More Diverse Workforce (Episode 80)

The issue of racial diversity is a hot one in today’s society, and there are now technology solutions emerging to help us address the problem. On this morning’s WJR Business Beat, Jeff shares details of one such company, Eskalera. The technology startup, led by Goldman Sachs’ former human resources head, Dane Holmes, has launched an index to measure corporate diversity and inclusiveness.

The goal is to help give companies actionable software to help corporations hire and retain a more diverse staff. Clients include the likes of Charles Schwab and Cornell University.

Tune in to this morning’s WJR Business Beat for more on Eskalera:


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“This demonstrates again, the power of innovation and creative thinking to address and solve problems in society as diverse and as difficult as even this one is.”

– Jeff Sloan

Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at 7:11 a.m. for the WJR Business Beat. Listeners outside of the Detroit area can listen live HERE.

Are you an entrepreneur with a great story to share? If so, contact us at editor@startupnation.com and we’ll feature you on an upcoming segment of the WJR Business Beat!

This segment is brought to you by Dell Technologies

WJR Business Beat Transcript

Good morning, Paul, as we know all too well, many U.S. companies have pledged funds and issued statements in support of racial diversity among protests that erupted since George Floyd, a black man, died on May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes.

As we also know, there have been a series of initiatives underway and underfoot to address the problem of more racial diversity needed within the corporate ranks of business.

To put this in some kind of simple perspective, further than 1 percent of fortune 500 CEOs are black, according to a 2019 study by the Center for Talent Innovation.

While around 13 percent of Americans identify as black or African American, according to federal data. That really does put the problem into proper perspective.

Now, as reported by Thomson Reuters, Eskalera, a technology startup led by Goldman Sachs’ former human resources head, Dane Holmes, has launched an index to measure corporate diversity and inclusiveness.

Eskalera software collects information on employee sentiment and company culture and combines it with HR data to generate a score for an inclusivity that can be measured against others.

The goal is to help give companies actionable software to help corporations hire and retain a more diverse staff. Clients already include the likes of Charles Schwab and Cornell University, just to name a couple.

So, now while the issue of racial diversity is such a hot button item in today’s society for all of us, there are now technology solutions emerging to help us address the problem.

This demonstrates again, the power of innovation and creative thinking to address and solve problems in society as diverse and as difficult as even this one is.

I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO of StartupNation.com and that’s today’s Business Beat on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.

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WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: Detroit Startup Week feat. Monica Wheat (Episode 77)

On this morning’s WJR Business Beat, Jeff highlights Detroit Startup Week, a week-long virtual conference that kicks off today! He’s joined by Monica Wheat, founder and partner at Venture Catalysts and Detroit Startup Week event lead.

Listen to this morning’s segment below:


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“(Detroit Startup Week) is meant to bring the Detroit community together of founders, investors, program suppliers, and corporate partners, and allow them to mix and mingle, but also allow them to learn and figure out ways to grow their businesses and their partnerships.”

– Monica Wheat

Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at 7:11 a.m. for the WJR Business Beat. Listeners outside of the Detroit area can listen live HERE.

Are you an entrepreneur with a great story to share? If so, contact us at editor@startupnation.com and we’ll feature you on an upcoming segment of the WJR Business Beat!

This segment is brought to you by Dell Technologies

WJR Business Beat Transcript

Good morning, Paul.

Each year at this time of year in Detroit an important week-long gathering of founders, investors and others from the region’s entrepreneurial community takes place and it’s known as the Techstars Detroit Startup Week event. And we’re so thrilled that the show is still going on, albeit online this year.

It starts today and runs all this week. Monica Wheat leads the Detroit chapter and has this to say about this year’s event and how to attend.

Hi, Jeff. This week’s Detroit Startup Week starts on Monday, June 22nd through June 26th, and it is virtual instead of live. And we are the first virtual startup week in the world.

It’s a celebration of entrepreneurship. It’s free. It’s five days. It is over 100 sessions of business learning, education and access. It is meant to bring the Detroit community together of founders, investors, program suppliers, and corporate partners, and allow them to mix and mingle, but also allow them to learn and figure out ways to grow their businesses and their partnerships. We have on the top 50 programs that are live, they each have an average of 500 attendees registered. This is the first virtual startup week in the country, actually in the world. We are the first one to do this virtual.

So, we’re super excited that Detroit was able to do that. It’s free to register and they just go to www.detroitstartupweek.heysummit.com.

If you’re an entrepreneur looking to get started, already own a company that you want to grow, or perhaps you’re an investor looking to invest in startup companies, this event is for you. It’s free and you can register now and attend any one of the days this week or attend all week long. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO of StartupNation.com, and that’s today’s business beat on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.

This segment is brought to you by Dell Technologies.

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WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: Venture Capital Investment Goes Virtual (Episode 76)

On this morning’s WJR Business Beat, Jeff shares the new normal in venture capital: investing in a startup without ever meeting its founders in person.

Version One Ventures, led by Boris Wertz and Angela Tran, just invested a $ 2 million seed round, and the entire transaction was executed online from start to finish without a single in-person meeting.

Listen to this morning’s segment, as Jeff discusses this sign of the changing times:


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Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at 7:11 a.m. for the WJR Business Beat. Listeners outside of the Detroit area can listen live HERE.

Are you an entrepreneur with a great story to share? If so, contact us at editor@startupnation.com and we’ll feature you on an upcoming segment of the WJR Business Beat!

This segment is brought to you by Dell Technologies

WJR Business Beat Transcript

Good morning, Paul. They are indeed changing, and as another sign of those changing times, the first ever major venture capital investment has been reported, a total investment of $ 2 million, no less, without a single in-person meeting between the investors and the founders.

Now, why is this important? That by the way, being reported by Geek Wire, perfect magazine for you and me.

Uh, yes, indeed.

Indeed, Paul, good weekend reading.

Now, why is this significant? You would never hear of a venture capital firm leading a round without meeting with many times, by the way, meeting many times with the founders of this team, because in the end, it’s more about the team as Bo Schembechler said in his legendary statement to his team, it’s more about the team than anything else.

Well, now the firm is Version One Ventures led by Boris Wertz and Angela Tran.

They’re saying it’s the new normal, again their investment was $ 2 million into this particular company. And in fact, the entire transaction was executed online from start to finish without a single in-person meeting.

They used Zoom video for online meetings, they used Dropbox for hosting key documents, such as the business plan, the financial projections and other supporting materials, and they used DocuSign to conduct the transaction from a legal execution standpoint.

Now, Wertz did comment that it’s harder to get a sense of confidence when only meeting the founders online, but after going through the process, he’s saying now it’s their firm’s new normal, and will likely become part of the new normal for all of the entire venture capital industry.

Now, I’m a big believer that the challenges and negatives associated with the COVID-crisis, you know, all those are obvious, the challenges and the negatives, the impact on business long term is going to include many positives, and positives that could only have happened with a major crisis like this. There’s so much legacy activity and routine and systems involved in business that we’ve been doing just because it’s the way it’s supposed to be done, but because of this crisis, so much change has been forced. And many of it, as I said, will be positive, like increased efficiency and productivity in the way we do business.

So, here’s another sign of the changing times and other signs of the new normal. This one I know is here to stay, as well.

I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO of StartupNation.com, and that’s today’s Business Beat, brought to you today by Dell Technologies on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.

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WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: Viamedia Small Business Optimism Survey (Episode 75)

On this morning’s WJR Business Beat, Jeff shares uplifting news that, despite all the challenges of the COVID crisis, there still seems to be a sense of optimism among small business owners.

A new study conducted by Viamedia shows that 83 percent of businesses indicate that their marketing strategies have been forced to change in the short term due to the crisis. The study also indicates that 40 percent of those surveyed believe their businesses will emerge even stronger on the other side of this.

Listen to the segment below for more:


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Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at 7:11 a.m. for the WJR Business Beat. Listeners outside of the Detroit area can listen live HERE.

Are you an entrepreneur with a great story to share? If so, contact us at editor@startupnation.com and we’ll feature you on an upcoming segment of the WJR Business Beat!

This segment is brought to you by Dell Technologies

WJR Business Beat Transcript

Good morning, Paul.

Yes, indeed, we know that entrepreneurs are very tenacious and very resourceful. Now, as we begin to distance ourselves from the most acute period of this COVID-crisis, at least economically speaking, when businesses have been forced to close their doors and consumers forced to stay at home, we continue to see new studies and research about its impact on small businesses and the entrepreneurs that lead them and depend on them and encouragingly, despite all the challenge, there still seems to be a sense of optimism, a sense of a desire to fight through this and that they’re going to make it on the other side and make it successfully.

That’s how business owners are feeling, and that’s good news. A new study conducted by Viamedia, they are a cross media management companies serving primarily the TV industry, and the study focuses largely on the impact on small business advertising, which to me is a real bellwether for the broader sense of how small business operators are feeling today.

And there’s definitely a change in the short term, but a real sense of optimism for the future.

Now, we all know this crisis is creating sweeping change and new normals, and here comes another one: 83 percent of businesses now indicate that their marketing strategies have been forced to change in the short term. The study indicates specifically 46 percent of small businesses are now forced to offer some sort of promotion just to drive sales and bring dollars in the door.

Now, despite this short-term pain, as we have been reporting, there does continue to be a real fighting spirit out there amongst these small business owners and a strong belief that they will return to business as usual post the pandemic, with 40 percent indicating that their businesses will emerge even stronger on the other side of this.

And even 10 percent indicating that they have plans for growth already in place following the pandemic. This is such great news.

You know, Paul, so much of what happens in business and what happens economically more broadly is driven, as we know, by perception and perspective. We know the impact of that on the stock market, certainly, but it plays a big role in business, too.

And it’s so good to see enthusiasm and confidence that we’re going to get through this on the other side and have successful businesses emerging, even with growth plans. Love this good news coming out of the Viamedia study.

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WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: 5G Technology (Episode 70)

On this morning’s WJR Business Beat, Jeff talks about 5G, or 5G wireless networking, and how it will provide for better consumer experiences, while also swinging open doors for more enterprise activity.

The network will roll out over the next several years and will generate a variety of new applications, uses and certainly business models and opportunity.

According to data from Infosys published in October 2019, roughly six months ago, executives worldwide were looking to use 5G for things like connected cars, security services, emergency services, healthcare and various other such applications.

Listen in to the full segment below: 


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Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at 7:11 a.m. for the WJR Business Beat. Listeners outside of the Detroit area can listen live HERE.

Are you an entrepreneur with a great story to share? If so, contact us at editor@startupnation.com and we’ll feature you on an upcoming segment of the WJR Business Beat!

This segment is brought to you by Dell Technologies

WJR Business Beat Transcript

Good morning, Paul. We know that technology sea change creates new entrepreneurial opportunities, and one such coming wave is 5G, that’s 5G wireless networking. Not only will it provide for better consumer experiences, it swings open doors for more enterprise activity as well.

Now, 5G, or as it’s otherwise known, fifth generation wireless, is the latest iteration of cellular technology engineered to greatly increase the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks.

Think of it as a bigger pipe, with more stuff, moving through it and at a faster speed and this stuff in particular, moving through the pipe in 5G would be lots more data going back and forth.

The network will roll out over the next several years and will generate a variety of new applications, uses and certainly business models and opportunity.

Though U.S. adoption of 5G is still in its early days, and consumer knowledge of the technology is lagging compared to other countries, industry professionals are already anticipating what opportunities the wireless tech will bring.

According to data from Infosys published in October 2019, roughly six months ago, executives worldwide were looking to use 5G for things like connected cars, security services, emergency services, healthcare and various other such applications.

Let me give you some examples: most anticipated use cases for 5G according to executives worldwide are the following:

Connected cars using ultra low latency technology. That’s a 5G based solution. Sixty one percent of respondents said they’re excited about using the technology in that regard.

Next, connected, secure home or business opportunities for the technology at 46 percent, smart buildings 41 percent, mobile office buildings 39 percent, broadband and home entertainment, 25 percent, so that puts some perspective on the ways both big companies and small companies can and should be thinking about the utilization of 5G technology as it begins to roll up.

Now, listen, if you’re an entrepreneur looking for the next big wave to ride, you’ve got one coming: think 5G.

I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO of StartupNation.com, and that’s today’s Business Beat on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.

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WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: Media Frenzy Study on Communication During COIVD (Episode 71)

On today’s WJR Business Beat segment, Jeff offers insights into a new study released by Media Frenzy Global, in partnership with Arlington Research, which underscores just how critical it is in the time of this pandemic to be communicating more than ever.

In the study of over 13,000 consumers, 45 percent of those surveyed agree they want to be inspired by brands so they can be hopeful about the future, which ultimately inspires them to spend more money with these brands when the crisis is over.

Tune in to the full segment below, in which Jeff shares his key takeaways from the study: 


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“It’s undeniable, without a clear communication strategy, you risk consumers forming their own conclusions. And those conclusions might not be accurate, leading consumers to believe you might not be weathering the storm.”
– Jeff Sloan

Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at 7:11 a.m. for the WJR Business Beat. Listeners outside of the Detroit area can listen live HERE.

Are you an entrepreneur with a great story to share? If so, contact us at editor@startupnation.com and we’ll feature you on an upcoming segment of the WJR Business Beat!

This segment is brought to you by Dell Technologies

WJR Business Beat Transcript

Good morning, Paul.

Well, we’ve always known how important communication is to attract, retain and engage customers. Well, now a new study released by Media Frenzy Global, in partnership with Arlington Research, underscores just how critical it is in the time of this pandemic to be communicating more than ever.

In the study of over 13,000 consumers, some highlights are as follows:

  • 50 percent of U.S. respondents surveyed agree they spend more time consuming content than ever before
  • 45 percent of those surveyed agree they want to be inspired by brands so they can be hopeful about the future, which ultimately inspires them to spend more money with these brands when this is all over.

A most significantly, roughly 31 percent of U.S. consumers polled in this study indicated that they worry that businesses who aren’t currently communicating or who have failed to share any company news or content during the pandemic are in financial trouble, and because of this, they wouldn’t spend with them.

Let me break this down:

Number one, it’s undeniable, without a clear communication strategy, you risk consumers forming their own conclusions. And those conclusions might not be accurate, leading consumers to believe you might not be weathering the storm. And as a result, they may be reluctant to place that next order in fear that you might not be able to fulfill it.

Number two, consumers want to consume more content, feed the machine with a focused regular content, production and distribution campaign.

Number three, consumers understandably are seeking uplifting, inspirational messaging during these trying times. So, keep it positive if you can.

And lastly, things are tough enough. Don’t let a lack of communication make things more difficult for you.

I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO of StartupNation.com, and that’s today’s Business Beat, brought to you today by Dell Technologies on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.

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WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: Jason Bierkle of DivDat (Episode 73)

On today’s WJR Business Beat segment, Jeff shares a recent StartupNation Radio interview he conducted with Jason Bierkle, president and CEO of DivDat, a billing and payment solutions provider.

Jason has proven his business model in the southeast Michigan area and is now poised for a national roll out.

Tune in to this morning’s show to learn how DivDat helps both consumers and companies like DTE Energy:


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“In partnership with DTE Energy, we launched this program. We were able to get 70 kiosks into the communities, and we’re starting to go national based on the success we’ve had here in Detroit.”

– Jason Bierkle of DivDat

Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at 7:11 a.m. for the WJR Business Beat. Listeners outside of the Detroit area can listen live HERE.

Are you an entrepreneur with a great story to share? If so, contact us at editor@startupnation.com and we’ll feature you on an upcoming segment of the WJR Business Beat!

This segment is brought to you by Dell Technologies

WJR Business Beat Transcript

Good morning, Paul.

On StartupNation Radio airing on Saturdays on WJR, I get a chance to interview entrepreneurs on the rise, feature their great ideas and draw out the key moves they’re making to achieve extraordinary success.

Well, one such interview I had recently was with Jason Bierkle who shared the story of his company, known as DivDat. Now, DivDat has rolled out a series of conveniently located kiosks, which facilitates bill paying to companies by consumers who use cash to pay their bills, like their DTE Energy Bill, for example.

So instead of having to go to a company’s bill payment center, you can use these conveniently located kiosks, say in your local convenience store instead, which gives you the opportunity to more conveniently pay your bills, but which also is a win for the companies because they want to make sure their bills get paid, and DivDat helps them make that happen as a result of the convenience to the consumer.

So now Jason has proven his model in the Southeast Michigan area and is poised for a national roll up.

Here’s Jason:

“We partnered with DTE Energy about seven years ago because they have an even larger percentage than the 25 percent nationally of their consumers that go in and make payments. So they were looking at ways to offer a service into the communities that they felt are truly underserved and offer some technology to help these folks. So, in partnership with DTE Energy, we launched this program. We were able to get 70 kiosks into the communities, and we’re starting to go national based on the success we’ve had here in Detroit.”

We’re proud to celebrate the very exciting and promising startup story of Jason Bierkle and DivDat. An entrepreneur and a great entrepreneurial story right here in our Southeast Michigan community.

I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO of StartupNation.com, and that’s today’s Business Beat on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.

This segment brought to you by Dell Technologies.

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