Sheehan & Associates, P.L.C.

PBS series features Detroit entrepreneurs

A series on PBS called "Start Up," whose first season concludes on Dec. 30, features stories about start-up businesses across the country. Because the series is the brainchild of Gary Bredow, whose production company, Big Bang Detroit, is based here, seven of the entrepreneurs and businesses featured have been in the Detroit area. These have included Pink Pump boutiques, Simply Suzanne Natural Foods and McClure's Pickles. Its season finale will showcase a coffeehouse called Astro Coffee in the Corktown district of Detroit.

Although the show was originally planned as a "Michigan-only project," the executives at the Detroit PBS station were so impressed that it has gone nationwide. It is seen on stations in 36 states. Bredow, who also hosts the series, showcases "people who are beating the odds -- the ones that indicate most new businesses fail."

Bredow says that he and his co-producer, Jenny Feterovich (who also works as a local DJ) have found in working on the series that successful entrepreneurs share some common traits, such as doing something they love. However, they also have done their research as part of their business planning. A successful business owner realizes that "more than just you and your mom have to like this product or service you're doing."

Bredow notes that the increase in start-up business around the country has been brought about in no small part by the difficult economic conditions of the past decade. Detroit has certainly felt those conditions more than most cities as people lost jobs, pensions and other benefits they had counted on for financial support both now and in their retirement. As he says, "There's so much uncertainty, the only thing you can be certain about is yourself."

The producers are looking at businesses on the West Coast and in the South for the show's second season. However, according to Feterovich, the show will continue to include businesses in their home city. She notes that they want to provide a balance to "all this negative media that's out there on what Detroit is all about."

In addition to the keys to a successful business start-up noted by Bredow, entrepreneurs benefit from having a strong team to provide financial, legal, marketing and product guidance. An attorney who is familiar with the legal intricacies of starting and running a business can be a big asset to any new business - no matter its size.

Source:  Detroit Free Press, "Detroit-based PBS series 'Start Up' showcases entrepreneurial spirit" Julie Hinds, Dec. 23, 2013

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