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Expanded annual event for local entrepreneurs to be held in Old Town Lansing, features Sleepwalker Spirits founders and final $10,000 Hatching competition

The sixth-annual LAUNCHED event, the Greater Lansing region's premier celebration of local business innovation, will be held in Old Town Lansing in recognition of the area's contribution to and support of local business development.

LAUNCHED 2014 will take place December 11 at the Old Town Marquee, and for the second year will highlight the startup pitch competition The Hatching, which is co-produced by Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) and Spartan Innovations at the MSU Innovation Center, along with support from a broad range of local organizations. The Hatching will award a $10,000 seed grand prize to a local entrepreneur.

"There is so much business innovation happening in the Lansing area right now -- from the re-development of the Knapp's building to The Runway fashion incubator to small business success in Old Town and REO Town -- that we thought it was fitting to move the LAUNCHED event to a new location this year," said Jason Meyers, co-founder and co-producer of LAUNCHED. "Our keynoters, the local entrepreneur finalists of The Hatching and collaborators like MLive and LCC will make this year's LAUNCHED the must-attend event for mid-Michigan business networking."

The keynote speakers for LAUNCHED 2014 are Matt Jason and Jeremy Sprague, the co-founders of Sleepwalker Spirits, an upstart distillery and brewery located in Lansing's Allen Market Place. And the 2014 Innovator of the Year award, which recognizes early stage excellence and the potential for lasting business success, will be presented by Lansing Community College.

The Hatching welcomes the 11 semi-finalists from its 2014 monthly events to present their business plans and compete for a grand prize of $10,000 in seed funding. Each startup will have three minutes to pitch business concepts to a panel of judges for a chance at the grand prize.

"Entrepreneurship is exciting. Taking a risk on a new venture that solves problems and could create jobs, cures, or just builds a better mousetrap speaks to the optimist in all of us. Startups and new ventures, like the ones we see at the Hatching, become the nimble, ambitious small businesses that build and grow our economy," said Tony Willis, manager of business acceleration at LEAP. "We're proud to be part of a partnership that supports this kind of growth in the community, the region, and the state." 

Chad Munce, digital media specialist for MLive, will be the master of ceremonies for LAUNCHED 2014. MLive is the event's title sponsor. And for the first time, Uber will provide LAUNCHED attendees who are new Uber users with vouchers for complimentary rides up to $25.

In addition to MLive, this year's LAUNCHED sponsors include LCC, LEAP, MSU Federal Credit Union, Small Business Association of Michigan, Old Town Marquee, Pure Promotions, Tomie Raines, Nicholas Creative, Live Concepts Media, Netvantage Marketing, Anytime Fitness, Dublin Square Irish Pub, Michigan Creative, Grand River Connection, Retro Duck and Saddleback BBQ. The Hatching sponsors include LEAP, Spartan Innovations at the MSU Innovation Center, MSU Foundation, NEO Center, Dart Development, LAFCU, Common Wealth Enterprises and MSU Alumni Association.  

More than 250 local business and community leaders attended last year's LAUNCHED event. The event will be held December 11 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Old Town Marquee. Tickets and more information are available at the LAUNCHED website, www.LAUNCHEDevent.com.

LAUNCHED is co-produced by Nicholas Creative and Live Concepts Media. For information on sponsorship visit www.LAUNCHEDevent.com, or contact Nick Chilenko at nick@nicholascreative.com.

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