April 9th, 2019

This event has passed.

Today, staying agile and keeping an entrepreneurial mindset—regardless of business size, age or industry—is proving to be essential. As competition tightens, and industries continue to evolve and change, its questions like these that are keeping us up at night:

How do you market a new business with little or no budget? What strategies, tools and tactics do you use and why?

When should you hire out marketing versus what can (and should) you and your team do in-house?

How much should you invest in marketing and how do you know when and where to invest your budget?

During our April panel, hear from four local entrepreneurs as they answer these questions and share how they launched their businesses, while providing lessons learned, insights and tools that all marketers can use on-the-job today. Join us as we ask questions, get answers and hear ideas that help spark innovation.

Meet the Panel

Jonathan Dodge

Freshwater Digital, Executive Vice President

Jonathan Dodge has well over 15 years of digital marketing and entrepreneurial experiences in paving new industry opportunities. He has co-founded successful start-up companies (including one of the first online food ordering platforms), served on a board of directors at his alma mater Michigan State University, consulted for several large web publishers, led the creation of the digital advertising department at Meijer, and managed digital strategy for Jack Morton Worldwide. He is currently EVP of Business Development for Freshwater Digital, a 9-year-old company in which he is a partner and joined as employee number two.

Chris Ake

Grand Apps, Co-Founder and Operating Partner

Chris Ake and another founded Grand Apps in 2011, a mobile app development company. The company’s reach began locally in Grand Rapids, MI but soon expanded its mobile marketing services and began serving clients globally. As Chris grew this company over the past several years, he began investing in and launching more businesses. Currently he owns 6 companies, 4 are service-based companies and 2 are investments. Entrepreneurship and building companies are his passion and he is constantly sharing his journey. 

Erik Lauchié

Carbon Stories, Founder

Erik Lauchie is a young entrepreneur. He Founded Carbon Stories, a Michigan based creative agency in 2015 at the age of 19. Carbon tells its clients’ stories and shares experiences through numerous media forms, including; photography, videography, graphic design and print media. Since the start, Carbon has traveled around the world telling stories and sharing experiences. Erik’s motto is Create Daily.

Karen Scarpino

Green Giftz, President and Owner

Karen Scarpino is the President and Owner of Green Giftz and Promotional Impact, a certified woman-owned business. Green Giftz is a high-design and eco-friendly branded merchandise company servicing clients like Steelcase, Herman Miller, Haworth, Stiles, Herman Miller, Chrysler and more. She is a member of the Chamber of Commerce CEO Round Table, a recipient of the Grand Rapids Business Journal Top Woman-Owned Business and West Michigan Women Brilliance Award Entrepreneur Award Winner. Karen has mentored students at Grand Valley State University and presented to the Michigan Diversity Council on onboarding and employee retention through successful branded merchandise programs.

Submit Questions Ahead of Time

Have any specific questions you’d like the panel to answer? There is a section to input your question during the registration process. Or, email us anytime before the event at info@amawestmichigan.org with your question.