Vimala Anishetty of Plymouth Township said she's "happy, excited and a
little bit scared" as she and business partner, Dennis Karl, begin
their own startup company.
However, the venture will be made much easier for Anishetty and Karl
after Michigan Now! named their company, Environmental Compliance
Office, Inc., the first recipient of a program designed to attract and
retain startup and out-of-state established businesses in growth
Soon, Anishetty will be traveling to her own 2,000-square-foot,
fourth-floor office in the Fisher Building in Detroit's New Center
area, rent-free for three years.
"This is huge for us," said Anishetty, who for 15 years was a
principle environmental engineer specializing in regulatory policy at
Ford Motor Co. "Dennis and I bring intellectual property, brain power,
to the company. Our biggest investment would have been office space,
and to get it at a reduced rate through the Michigan Now! program has
dramatically increased our chances to succeed.
"We will get three years free base rent, and pick up the utilities,"
she said. "And it gives us the opportunity to have access to other
Michigan Now! members and network with bankers, lawyers and other
resources that are very valuable to a startup."
The office space is being donated by the Farbman Group, operator of the
Fisher Building, which designed the Michigan Now! program.
"Our goal is to create an overall environment and a strong enough bench
for companies that have solid leads and can add jobs in this economy,
focusing in areas such as technology, environmental technology and
others that play in and around our natural resources and alternative
energy," said David Farbman, co-president of the Farbman Group. "We
want to encourage other landlords and partners to come together because
within the business community we should take it upon ourselves to boost
Wayne County businesses, help create new businesses in Wayne County and
in Michigan, as a whole.
"The old way of doing business is no longer working for Michigan and
business owners have the power to make a positive impact," he added.
ECO will provide environmental engineering services to companies,
mainly manufacturing, that are required to achieve and maintain
compliance with environmental safety laws and regulations.
"Michigan is one of the most stringent states when it comes to
environmental regulations," said Anishetty, president of ECO, who holds
a Ph.D. in environmental and industrial health sciences from the
University of Michigan. "Big companies, like Ford, have dedicated staff
for environmental enforcement. Small- and medium-sized companies don't
have that kind of staff to monitor compliance. Regulations are
constantly changing, and failing to meet compliance could result in
expensive fines, or force a company into bankruptcy."
Anishetty said the office space will not only give ECO financial relief for three years, but also instant credibility.
"Companies that entertain the thought of hiring us will see we have the
office space, which dramatically increases our credibility," Anishetty
said. "And being in the historic Fisher Building ... I feel that's
where the industrial revolution for Michigan and Detroit began."
ECO revenues for 2007-08 fiscal year are projected in excess of $1.2
million. Anishetty said she hopes to add five people a year to the
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