FLINT, Michigan — The distance between idea and realization can, at times, prove detrimental to small businesses. There is not a particular playbook that will outline every necessary step for those who seek to start their own enterprise. In Flint, 100K Ideas
seeks to improve the entrepreneurial journey by providing mentorship and development support to anyone interested in starting a business.
Founded by Phil Hagerman and David Ollila, 100K Ideas is located in downtown Flint inside The Ferris Wheel. The building has a rich entrepreneurial past as it once housed Ferris Furs and Ferris Furniture — the businesses closed more than four decades ago. Phil and Jocelyn Hagerman purchased the building in 2013. Four short years later, The Ferris Wheel began service to the Flint community.
100K Ideas recently released the second episode of their client storytelling series
that highlights past 100K clients and provides first-hand insight into how three new businesses owners made their entrepreneurial dreams a reality. The new episode features Flint natives Jonathan Blanchard of Stemletics, Carter Holmes of Flipsity, and Jaszmane Sisco of Lil Suga’s.
Jonathan Blanchard - STEMLETICS
Jonathan Blanchard, the founder of STEMLETICS, had an epiphany while playing the popular game 2K as an undergraduate student at Kettering University. Blanchard’s love for examining game statistics led him to the idea of teaching math through sports statistics. The program ties into various sports including basketball, golf, and baseball. In the program, learners use app-based equipment to capture dribbling, driving, and swinging statistics.
The STEMLETICS program will open two sites in Flint and has plans to expand the program to help adults gain new skills to prepare them for new opportunities. Blanchard credits 100K Ideas as being vital to the development and growth of his company and says the organization has been a resource for mentorship, funding, and encouragement.
Carter Holmes - Flipsity
Jaszmane Sisco - Little Suga's
“The city of Flint is super supportive.” Jaszmane Sisco provides pop-up instructional sessions and cooking classes in Flint with her baking and pastry art company, Lil Suga's.
“Without Flint, I wouldn’t even have started.” Carter Holmes is the founder of the app 'Flipsity' which helps educate others on how to create an app.
Carter Holmes’ entrepreneurial journey began like most: with an idea. During quarantine, he spent time thinking about how to connect with people which led to the decision to learn how to code. In June 2020, Holmes developed an app called Flipsity.
The app seeks to fill a void in the app-development arena and currently offers wireframing, app development, and other services to its customer base. While Holmes admits to struggling to find a home for his app in the marketplace, he is determined to help educate others on how to create an app. Holmes advises other entrepreneurs to ask for help and says he would not have learned to code had he not sought help from others. He says 100K Ideas provided the essentials for starting Flipsity. “Without Flint, I wouldn’t even have started.”
The founder of Little Suga’s
, Jaszmane Sisco, followed her dreams from the corporate world to the land of sweets and pastries. After completing her undergraduate studies in Health Care Administration at the University of Michigan-Flint, she realized food was her passion. Sisco enrolled in culinary school where she focused on learning to bake. When she decided to turn her love for baking into a business, she was encouraged by several people to engage with 100K Ideas.
Using her passion for cooking, Sisco’s business provides pop-up instructional sessions and cooking classes at Flint’s Farmer’s Market and throughout the city of Flint. Her business also fulfills customer orders of sweets for any occasion including birthdays and graduation celebrations.
Sisco says her experience with 100K Ideas helped to develop Little Suga’s business model and provided a platform to share her business with the Flint community. She believes that entrepreneurs are moving Flint forward, and small businesses in Flint are primed to achieve success thanks to the support of the community. “The city of Flint is super supportive.”
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
Enjoy this story? Sign up
for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.