100K Ideas showcases three Flint entrepreneurs in sixth episode of storytelling series

FLINT, Michigan — Having an idea for a business is just the first step. Motivation, access to resources, and funding can act as hurdles, preventing that idea from coming to fruition. 100K Ideas was founded in 2017 with the goal to relieve the innovator of the entrepreneurial burden. Through their work, they have provided clients with community resources, funding, expert advice, and networking opportunities to create a strong business foundation.

As a way to highlight these successful businesses, 100K created a storytelling series that allows their clients to talk about their entrepreneurial journeys. The latest episode features three Flint entrepreneurs — Dan Neaton of MyNumber DNA, Dr. Aisha Harris of Harris Family Health, and Dwayne Williams of Vspec360

Dan Neaton - MyNumberDNA

Teachers Ed Kulka and Dan Neaton have decades of experience educating students on a tricky subject: math. Neaton has noticed in his career that many people struggle with math, and once falling behind in the subject, they typically tend to stay behind. 

The former educator began his entrepreneurial journey at 65 years old and became a designer and programmer. In looking for software to help students better learn foundational numeracy skills like adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing, Neaton developed a business idea for MyNumberDNA

“Math will bore the daylights out of people unless you keep it short and sweet,” Neaton says. “Our workouts take no more than three minutes. As soon as you’re done, you get instant feedback, and the next step is to complete a series of workouts that will lead you to 90% mastery. “If you think of it as 12 steps to success in numeracy, we built all those into the programming.”

The software also helps teachers who don’t typically have time to go back and revisit the curriculum when two-thirds of the class is left behind. As schools look to remediate outside of the classroom, Neaton says this software can work in tandem with those extra resources. “You can teach your curriculum, but work through something that’s already there and ready to backfill concepts that are missing,” he says.

Local afterschool programs including YouthQuest, the Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village, and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Flint have been supporters of the software. During the height of the pandemic, Beecher Schools were donated a one-year subscription to help supplement virtual learning options. 

Looking ahead, Neaton hopes MyNumberDNA can attract an angel investor to fund further software development. “Our goal is to succeed here in Genesee County, and hopefully, make those steps out to the rest of Michigan, the country, and the world,” he says. 

Neaton advises anyone thinking of taking a leap into business to be persistent and to ask questions. “A lot of us have an idea that is close to our heart, and we’re protecting it. Once you begin to open up, and other people give you feedback, that’s really enriching. 100K does that and I really felt that they were behind me all the way.”
Dr. Aisha Harris - Harris Family Health

Dr. Aisha Harris' Harris Family Health provides direct primary care on a monthly, membership-based service rather than accepting and billing insurance companies.Flint native Aisha Harris has a passion for patient care, but the traditional primary care setting, and dealing with insurance companies doesn’t sit well with her. After returning to Flint in 2020, Harris looked at how she could really take care of her community. 

“I realized that the system I was in wasn’t quite working for me or my patients. I wanted to do something different. That’s where direct primary care and Harris Family Health kind of came about.”

The doctor started her own clinic, focused on offering direct primary care on a monthly, membership-based service rather than accepting and billing insurance. The goal is to make health a priority for people, in a more inviting, accessible, patient-centered approach. 

Instead of avoiding yearly physicals or check-ups due to costs, or hassles with insurance companies, direct primary care clinics can provide a more personalized patient experience, says Harris. 

“The average amount of time in a traditional system is 13 to 16 minutes,” Harris says. “What I’m doing is offering people up to 60-minute appointments, and that is very flexible.”

There are no games of phone tag, or call centers in the way of making appointments, getting questions answered, or having concerns addressed. “I’m here for my patients, I’m trying to be a resource,” Harris says. 

Although Harris Family Health is the first direct primary care clinic in the area, Harris hopes this sparks a larger movement. 

In looking ahead, Harris envisions a slow-growing medical clinic in downtown Flint, ideally on the second floor of a building with an art gallery or community space on the ground floor. Broadly, she would like to see the concept take off in other areas outside the area. “I really want the medical students, the residents, even people outside of this county to slowly start bringing direct primary care more into this space because I think it’s a great alternative for people to have,” Harris says. 

Harris encourages anyone with an idea to just start by verbalizing it, which can quickly lead to other connections and nudges of encouragement that can take you far. 

Dwayne Williams Jr. - Vspec360

Dwayne Williams Jr. is the founder and CEO of the virtual touring company Vspec360.Dwayne Williams Jr. believes that anyone can be an entrepreneur given the right resources and taking the right steps. Williams Jr. says his business, Vspec360 would not exist without the help of 100K, which assisted in the process of mapping out the next steps, execution, and follow-up of his ideas. 

Vspec360 is a virtual reality or virtual touring company, which started out as a way to provide 3D tours of homes within the residential real estate market. It has expanded to schools, and other venues, a mark of success, made possible by 100K’s resources. 

“Somehow, someway, through the grace of God, we’ve managed to build this thing, and now we’re working with security companies, potentially the FBI, and airports, and so it’s more so becoming a security company,” Williams Jr. says. 

The software allows for videos, labels, tags, intake forms, and more. Locally, the Hamilton Health Community Clinic has utilized the program, providing patients with paperless forms. 

Vspec360 is also working with the Flint Police Department and the Flint Fire Department. The Flint Police Department will utilize the high-quality imaging software for active crime scenes rather than notes from detectives. The Fire Department will use the technology for inspections, building codes, and floor plans. 

Williams Jr. encourages fellow entrepreneurs to show up, read, and remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect. “The reason why I’m saying that is because if you show up every single day, you’re going to build something regardless, even if you’re only there for five minutes a day. You find yourself doing things you wouldn’t normally do because you showed up,” he says.
Check out the full storytelling segment below.

This story is part of a storytelling series supported by 100K Ideas. To learn more, visit: 100kideas.org
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Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.