Won in business plan competitions
Percentage of Americans who have listened to podcasts
While participating in an oral history research project as a post‐grad English and Liberal Arts student at University of Michigan Flint, Stacie Scherman was intrigued with the idea of creating a podcast series to capture stories about the Flint water crisis. The idea was for each episode in the series to focus on a different perspective, including Flint business owners, Flint school teachers, children, parents, water distribution volunteers, as well as non‐Flint residents.
How the SBDC helped
To obtain funding for Flint Podcasting Company, Stacie decided to participate in business pitch competitions. The I-69 Trade Corridor Region SBDC assisted Stacie with her pitch, messaging, and presentation for her business plan competitions. After successfully receiving funding for her startup, Stacie continues to work with the SBDC as she launches Flint Podcasting Company.
Stacie has been awarded $10,000 in prize money - $5,000 from the GreenLight Flint Business Competition and $5,000 from the U of M Flint School of Management’s Business Plan Competition. She is currently renovating a 5,000 square foot building with offices, reception, and an actual recording studio, performance room, and observation/production room. The studio will be ready to open in August, but in the meantime Stacie has been operating out of coworking spaces and recording for her podcast series “Behind the Headlines.”
What do warehousing, podcasting, and liberal arts have in common? Not much unless you’re Stacie Scherman.
Stacie’s father owns a warehousing business and has been a Michigan Small Business Development Center (Michigan SBDC) client since 2008. About four years ago, Stacie returned home to Flint with a newly minted Bachelor’s Degree and went to work for her father. Business came naturally to her and she helped to drive dramatic improvements and growth with her ability to organize details, understand financials, and manage strategically. Stacie was always thinking about the business she wanted to start and operate, making progress intermittently on writing a business plan with guidance from the Michigan SBDC consultant she and her father shared.
While participating in an oral history research project as a post‐grad English and Liberal Arts student at U of M Flint, she was immersed in the idea of creating a podcast series to capture stories about the Flint water crisis. The idea was for each episode in the series to focus on a different perspective, including Flint business owners, Flint school teachers, children, parents, water distribution volunteers, as well as non‐Flint residents.
Stacie heard about the 2016 Greenlight Flint Business Model Competition offering the opportunity for entrepreneurs from the region to pitch ideas to a panel of judges with chances of winning up to $5,000 in prizes. The challenge intrigued her, so she developed a business idea to capture a prize that had to be utilized to start or propel a business venture in the Flint area.
Business experience, liberal arts education, and oral history podcasting project converged and Stacie wasted no time to write a business plan and pitch presentation for Flint Podcasting Company. Among ten finalists, her idea captured the top $5,000 GreenLight Flint prize. Within a couple weeks her business idea captured second place and another $5,000 at the U of M Flint School of Management Business Plan Competition.
Why podcasting? It’s a $100 million industry and growing; over a third of all Americans listen to podcasts; the top podcasts earn over $14,000 per episode; and total annual downloads are over 2.6 billion. Flint Podcasting Company will become the heart, soul, and voice of Flint to help promote Flint’s revitalization efforts; create jobs; and support innovation and creativity.
Stacie is moving forward rapidly and putting her start‐up prize capital along with private investment to good use renovating and installing equipment in her new facility. Through warehousing connections, she just took possession of a 5,000 square foot building with offices, reception, and an actual recording studio, performance room, and observation/production room. The studio will be outfitted and ready to record in August. Meanwhile, she’s working on mobile recording at local sites and is delving into a journalistic series on the human issues calling it “Behind the Headlines.” The future includes using the Flint Podcasting studio to offer workshops, an open workspace, and live performances of recorded stories.