Publicly Endorsed Ideas
The public endorsement process is designed to let in investments that grow the value of Start Garden's portfolio, but may have been overlooked by the Start Garden team. Start Garden reserves the right to disqualify any submission that does not fit the following criteria.
An idea is "investable" when...
The business will be bigger than a sole-proprietorship
It has a goal to scale up from a small business into a big one
It needs a long-term investment of financial, intellectual and social capital, not a short burst of funds
It seeks to make a profit. (Meaning, it's not a non-profit organization)
There's an identifiable way investors will make their money back
Must I have a Facebook account to submit or endorse an idea?
You must sign into startgarden.com with a Facebook account. You may choose not to have any of your activity on startgarden.com post to your Facebook page. Using Facebook is a great service to Start Garden to prevent fraudulent endorsements of ideas.
What ideas are you looking for?
There is no one category we are looking for, other than ideas that could potentially become businesses.
If your idea is clearly a non-profit organization, we cannot invest in it. (Non-profits require donations, not investments.)
Also, if your idea is for a business that's only new because you're in charge, we probably won't invest in it. For example, a hair salon that's like other salons, but run by you is not the kind of business we're looking for. However, a completely new hair salon experience that you think is going to change the way people think about getting a hair cut? Submit that!
Do I have to live in Michigan to submit an idea?
You do not have to live in Michigan to submit an idea, but you must appear in person within 60-90 days to update us publicly on what you did with $5,000, if your idea is chosen for the investment.
Note: At much higher investment levels, we will require you to spend a reasonable amount of time in Grand Rapids, Michigan to work closely with our team and take advantage of the city's resources. We'll work out the schedule based on your business needs.
How do you protect intellectual property?
The submission form on the website is not very detailed. The huge distance between writing a brief summary and executing an idea is what makes or breaks its success. No one will execute it like you and often fear of sharing an idea is the first roadblock to executing.
If you are still uncomfortable, consider filing a provisional patent, which is more simple and affordable than a normal patent. Then, submit your idea to Start Garden.