The next stage of startups

On Friday, we got the opportunity to visit the Edward Lowe Foundation in Cassopolis, Michigan. Our hosts for the day were Dino Signore and George Nelson. The Lowe Foundation was created by Edward Lowe who was also the creator of Kitty Litter. Edward Lowe was an successful entrepreneur and he wanted to help other entrepreneurs succeed so he created the Lowe Foundation so entrepreneurs could come and learn in a laid back setting.

The focus for the Lowe Foundation is on second stage companies. These are companies that are past the initial startup stage, but they are not yet big enough to be called anything else. Most companies are graduated into second stage when they have reached $1 million in total receipts, but this is not true of all companies. Second stage companies also have a range of about 10 to 100 employees.

When explaining these second stage companies, Dino brought up the concept of “economic gardening,” this is the process of “supporting growing companies in a way that fits their unique needs.” This encourages companies to “grow from within” to push them into their next stage of growth. The Lowe Foundation offers many retreats to meet the needs of the companies attending them, and not surprisingly, each retreat is unique to particular companies and people.

We arrived at the Lowe foundation at around 8:30 am and started our meeting off with an ice breaker, this was a chaotic and fun experience. Throughout the day we were able to experience a few of the activities that companies get to participate during their stay at the foundation. These activities promoted team work and showed the importance of every member of a company. The first activity was to show the benefits and the circumstances that come from each trait an employee would contribute to the company. The second activity encouraged communication with a customer and the whole team working together to get a finished product.

I really enjoyed my experience at the Lowe Foundation.  When I was preparing to go to the foundation I thought that it was going to be a normal meeting like every other one we have been to.  However, it turned out to be a very unique experience. I was pleasantly surprised with the activities that we participated in [ and the understanding that we need constant bathroom breaks ]. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the foundation and getting to know Dino and George. If I was part of a company, I would highly encourage my team members to be a part of one of the retreats.

Posted in Lowe Foundation.