MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) – The Innovate Marquette Smartzone aims to help entrepreneurs and inventors get their ideas off the ground, and one way they’ve been doing that over the past two years is through a special 8 week program.

“Coaching, assistance, expertise and knowledge, this is what the LaunchPad Program provides,” said Ray Johnson, CEO of Innovate Marquette Smartzone. Just a year ago, two entrepreneurs from Marquette had nothing more than an idea in their mind for a clothing brand. Now, they’re showing off actual products. “Lumi is a local sustainable clothing brand that focuses on comfortable, classic designs,” said Michelle Walters, a Co-Founder of Lumi Designs.

In order to get to where they are today, Michelle and her sister Amanda attended the 8 week Launch Pad program. The Launch Pad program utilizes a methodology developed by Wendy Kennedy to help community members get their ideas off the ground.

“Our Launch Pad program takes that inventor, innovator, or business idea through the process, with certified coaching, a workbook, strategies, and working sessions on all the different components of launching a company or launching an idea from the initial concept to a product launch or a business launch,” said Johnson.

While talking to entrepreneurs taking Launch Pad classes this time around, Michelle and Amanda expressed how the Launch Pad helped their idea blossom. “It really challenged our idea and chiseled it down to what Lumi is today,” said Walters.

“We just started out with an idea, and neither of us have any business experience so we didn’t know where to take the next step or what the next step should even be,” said Amanda Swanson, Co-Founder of Lumi Designs. “So taking that class forced us to answer those difficult questions about who our customer was and how our product would fit into the market that already exists.”

For more information about Lumi, visit their Facebook Page or website.

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By Mallory Anderson (TV 6 News)