Sandra Cochrane coaching entrepreneurs in L'Viv, Ukraine
A Few Words About Me

I originally developed the WMed Innovation Center in 2001 when I was working for the local economic development organization in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Then named the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, the business incubator was highly successful. For seven years I helped build the Innovation Center, responsible for every aspect of the program, from initial feasibility study to design and construction to programming to serving over twenty companies.  From the time the doors opened in July 2003, the Innovation Center has successfully graduated several companies into stand alone buildings in the community.  One company, PharmOptima, received the Technology Graduate of the Year award from the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA) in 2008.  The Southwest Michigan Innovation Center received InBIA’s Innovation Award in 2006 for its unique stockroom and procurement program.  

In 2008 I left the Innovation Center to serve as a Technology Business Consultant for the Michigan Small Business Development Center.  As a consultant specializing in life science, I not only coached technology companies but I also consulted with incubators in the state of Michigan, both existing programs and those in development.  During my lengthy career in incubation I have assisted many different kinds of incubators, including technology, kitchen, arts, mixed-use, and virtual incubators.  I am well versed in the facilities and services required by start-up companies as well in best practices for incubator management.

I am very involved in the incubator industry.  I am an active member of InBIA and have contributed to many InBIA publications, presented training sessions at several InBIA events, and served as a judge for numerous InBIA award events.  I have been a member of the InBIA Development Taskforce, the InBIA Membership Committee, and served on the InBIA board of directors for six years.  I completed InBIA’s rigorous training program, the Incubator Manager Certificate Program, in 2008 and became a certified FastTrac TechVenture facilitator in 2008.  In Michigan I serves as the President  of the board of directors for the Michigan Business Incubator Association.

I also serves as a reviewer for the National Science Foundation's Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Program. This federal program is designed to support innovation among our nation's small business (less than 500 employees) community in four broad topic areas:  Biotech & Chemical Technologies, Education Applications, Information & Communication Technologies, and Nanotechnology, Advanced Materials & Manufacturing.  The success of NSF programs depends on the quality of the review process, which includes selecting expert volunteers to serve on review panels.  All SBIR/STTR proposals received by NSF are reviewed in a panel forum.  The purpose of the panel is to provide a balanced critique of the technical and commercial merits of the proposed work in order to make anonymous funding recommendations to the Foundation.  I love serving as a reviewer for the Biotech & Chemical Technologies, Directorate for Engineering, Industrial Innovation and Partnership. Evaluating cutting edge research and discussing commercialization proposals with subject matter experts from across the United States keeps me sharp and better able to assist technology companies and technology business incubators.

I am a Wix Certified Webmaster and a Wix Certified Trainer. As a webmaster, I can set up websites for clients, including sites for e-commerce and bookings (restaurants, lodgings, and entertainment venues). As a trainer, I can facilitate workshops that teach people how to construct websites of their own using Wix.com.

 

As if not busy enough, I also teach Management 2140 (Exploring Entrepreneurship) and Business 4750 (Strategic Business Solutions) as an adjunct professor at Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business.

Sandra Cochrane presenting a business incubator seminar
Sandra Cochrane President of Michigan Business Incubator Association