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The Seventh Annual Making It In Michigan Conference Provides Food and Agricultural Entrepreneurs Fresh Thinking to Grow Their Business

One-Day Event Hosts Educational Sessions and Trade Show Featuring Over 160 Michigan-made Food and Agricultural Products


Contact:  Matthew Birbeck

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EAST LANSING, Mich. – The MSU Product Center is pleased to announce the seventh annual Making It In Michigan Conference and Premier Specialty Food Show to be held Wednesday, November 12th from 7:30AM – 4:00PM at the Lansing Center.

“This is poised to be our biggest event yet in terms of the number of Michigan vendors participating in the Marketplace Trade Show and the caliber of industry experts that will be leading the educational sessions,” states Matthew Birbeck, MSU Product Center’s High Impact Venture Action Team Project Manager. “We will be showcasing some innovative processes and strategies specifically targeted for food and agricultural entrepreneurs supporting this year’s theme of ‘Fresh Thinking For Success’,” says Birbeck.


Garden Fresh Gourmet Founder Jack Aronson and Co-CEO John J. Latella will share the company story of developing an iconic brand and building brand engagement with customers and will field questions from the audience. Attendees will be able to provide questions to be addressed by the panel through the MSU Product Center social media channels prior to the conference.


The one-day event features morning educational sessions that will bring together leading Michigan experts to help guide attendees in refining and growing their businesses in the following areas:

• Making Your Product Shelf-stable

- The Essential Process Authority Review for Shelf-stable Food Products

- Product Formulation Challenges for Commercial Refrigerated and Shelf-stable Foods

• Growing Your Specialty Food Business

- Working with Retailers – Getting Product On The Shelf and How Retailer Size Affects Your Opportunity

- Growing Sales and Meeting Customer Expectations

- Making The Most Out of Limited Marketing Resources with Effective Social      Media and Public Relations Strategies

• Finding the Right Poly Packaging Product For Your Own Product

• Protecting Your Business

- The Latest Status in Food Safety Modernization Act Compliance

- Determining the Right Business Structure – is an LLC Right For You?

The $79 per person conference registration fee includes breakfast, lunch, and educational sessions, digital copies of all presentations and reference materials and admission to the Marketplace trade show.

The Marketplace trade show in the afternoon will feature over 160 new and existing businesses that will be showcasing their Michigan-made food and agricultural products to the general public and Michigan-based food buyers. The trade show is free to the general public.

Conference participants will also have time to network with the winners of this year’s MSU Product Center awards and learn from their success stories. Awards will be presented for the Best Barrier Buster, Start-up to Watch and Entrepreneur of the Year. MSU Product Center innovation counselors and staff members, Product Center clients, business consultants, regulatory officials and food and farming groups will also be available to provide in-depth information and counseling.
More information and conference registration is available at Those interested in attending can also call Greta McKinney at 517-353-7185 or send an email to [log in to unmask].

About the MSU Product Center

Founded in 2003, the MSU Product Center helps Michigan entrepreneurs develop and commercialize high-value, consumer-responsive products and businesses in the agriculture, natural resources and bioeconomy sectors. The Center’s statewide network of innovation counselors provides business counseling support to Michigan residents interested in starting or expanding a business or product line.     
The Product Center’s assistance in launching 396 known new businesses and business expansions has had the following estimated economic impacts:

• Increased annual sales: $321.9 million (cumulative first year sales only)

• Value of increased investment: $322.1 million

• Jobs created: 1,147                                           

• Jobs retained: 644