7Cstm program in action

Scott Lowes’ company, Lighthouse Molding, Inc., is only three steps into Automation Alley’s new 7Cstm program designed for entrepreneurs, but already he says the program has accelerated his company’s growth by at least five years.

Lighthouse Molding, Inc. (LMI) specializes in low pressure overmolding (LPO), a single-step technology to seal and protect electronic assemblies such as battery packs, circuit boards, micro-switches, solenoids, sensors, connectors and wire harnesses. The Sterling Heights, MI-based advanced manufacturing company is one of five in the world that offers LPO technology.

“We’ve become better organized and more efficient in managing our day-to-day business,” says Lowes. “We’ve also worked to refine our technology and are now in the process of bringing it to the real world with the help of Automation Alley’s 7Cstm program.” Lowes says the company’s ultimate goal is to supply its LPO technology globally.

“The 7Cstm program is exposing us to customers we would not normally have been exposed to,” Lowes says. “We’re at the point where we’re realizing we can do a lot more, a lot faster, through the program.”

Rolled out this year, the goal of the 7Cstm program is to help Southeast Michigan entrepreneurs become successful by accelerating the growth of their small businesses or startups.

Automation Alley’s entrepreneurship experts guide clients through a customized seven-step process that includes:

1. Community: At every stage, take advantage of the immense resources and talent available to you through the Automation Alley network.
2. Concept: Meet with the entrepreneurship team to determine if your startup is a good fit for the Automation Alley 7Cstm program.
3. Context: Develop a business model resulting in a working value proposition, and create a First Look sales pitch video.
4. Clarity: Refine your value proposition through market research.
5. Customers: Develop a prototype to take to market for analysis and feedback, explore crowdfunding where appropriate and secure first beta customer(s).
6. Capital: Meet with investment entities to secure capital. With your first beta customer(s) secured, position your startup for investment.
7. Commercialization: Enter the full Automation Alley networking stream to rapidly scale production, secure resources, create jobs and become a mentor to new Automation Alley 7Cs participants.