Chris Miller, Adrian’s Economic Developer, again accepted our invitation to speak to the club and enlightened members about what he called a “new business plan competition” in the City of Adrian more specifically known as Upstart Adrian.
The idea for it, he said, began at a DDA board meeting actually a couple of years ago while discussing business growth in the downtown and the greater Adrian area. It was entrepreneurs, Chris said, during Adrian’s beginning that these people imagined how great it would be to have a railroad in the city. From that single vision, a railroad manufacturer located in Adrian and other business sprang up from that (i.e. fence manufacturer, cabinet company, etc.).
Businesses literally drove the life of the community back then”, he said, ”and that helped fund the city and move it forward”. “But”, he continued, “that is not the case today”. It was at that time that the “buy local” marketing movement took hold Chris said, to “once again shore up our own economy locally”.  The shift now is to have as positive an impact on our own community as we can to help counter the current outside influences we have to contend with.
That focus, Chris said, resulted in forming a separate board and developing a new website (www.upstart for this group and to create a prize package worth $25,000 for aspiring entrepreneurs (18 years of age or older) no matter what business they might propose. Applications are now being accepted from anyone wishing to enter the competition up to March 10th.  On April 11th all those who have submitted an application will make presentations on the business they wish to start and why they deserve to be selected to win the prize. Those presentations will be made at Dominican Hall’s Reuckert Auditorium on the SHU Campus. The prize winner selected will be announced several days later. The cash prize will be given to help start their business or expand an existing business in a significant way.
The business winner will also receive professional support (i.e. legal, accounting, marketing assistance) for up to one year at no charge. The Upstart Adrian group, Chris said, was out raising money and said that the Morning Club had given them $1,000. Thus far, they have raised $21,450 from 44 donors including two of the colleges in town and all four of banks in the area, service clubs and various businesses.
Chris closed by saying that there is also a local investment group who is working to attract businesses to the city. That body, thanks to Mike Olsaver Chris said, is called the Adrian Area Investment Accelerator Group and is open to anyone wishing to join. That group’s purpose is to specifically identify for people wishing to invest here of such opportunities. Their next meeting is March 1st at 6pm in the basement of the Adrian District Library.