September 12, 2016


An upcoming Entrepreneurial Fair aims to target laid-off Dow workers and others who are seeking new opportunities in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

The Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance is hosting the event to take place from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, at Saginaw Valley State University's Curtiss Hall.

Mike Finney, president and CEO of Community Ventures Resources Inc. and an SVSU alumnus, is to deliver the keynote address, according to a Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance news release. There will be two panels featuring regional entrepreneurs as well as entrepreneurial programs located within the Great Lakes Bay Region.

Understanding the Dow Chemical layoffs and what led to them:
The Dow Chemical Co. Tuesday, June 28, announced plans to eliminate about 2,500 jobs, including about 700 in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Here's a timeline of what led to the layoffs and what's to come.

The event is free and open to the public, but is taking place, in part, because of the recently-announced layoffs at The Dow Chemical Co. and Dow Corning Corp.

"We view this as a potential opportunity for new businesses and startups by those who have their jobs impacted by the Dow – Dow Corning – DuPont transactions," said Matthew Felan, president and CEO of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance.

"Dow included this Entrepreneurial Fair in their announcements regarding layoffs in the Great Lakes Bay Region."

Layoffs at Dow:
After assuming full control of Dow Corning on June 1 and ahead of its planned merger with DuPont, Dow announced plans to cut approximately 2,500 positions globally, including about 700 jobs in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

The total number of affected positions represents about 4 percent of the company's workforce.

Dow officials in June said affected jobs would be eliminated on various timetables throughout a two-year period.

Dow Corning notifies state of 348 layoffs at two sites.

Dow Corning Corp. officials have formally notified the state of plans to layoff 348 employees from two mid-Michigan sites.

Kristen Wenzel, director of business services and community relations for Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works!, encouraged those individuals to act fast.

"Even if they've received their notification and may have some time, it's a good idea to be proactive and not reactive," she said. "You limit your choices when you are reactive in your job search rather than proactive."

Regional participation

A number of regional institutions plan to participate in the Entrepreneurial Fair. Those planning to participate include the SVSU Dow Entrepreneurship Institute, Central Michigan University Research Corp., Northwood University, MidMichigan Innovation Center, Small Business Development Centers at Delta College and Mid Michigan Community College, Bay Future Inc., the Midland Business Alliance, Middle Michigan Development Corp. and Saginaw Future Inc.

"SVSU is committed to community engagement and working with regional employers in many different ways. Having our Dow Entrepreneurship Institute host this Entrepreneurial Fair with the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance and other stakeholders is an ideal way to support more economic development in our community," Anthony Bowrin, interim dean of SVSU's College of Business & Management, said in a statement.

"The fair will provide many opportunities for participants to network, share ideas and resources, and collaborate on initiatives that will facilitate business and economic activity and increase high paying jobs."

The Entrepreneurial Fair also will include a 90-minute segment for aspiring entrepreneurs to meet one-on-one with representatives from various regional institutions, the release states.

"Every company started with an entrepreneur that had a dream and they were able to turn their dream into a reality; we now have resources to assist those looking to branch off in that direction," Erin Strang, president and CEO of Central Michigan University Research Corp., said in a statement.