Entrepreneur Spotlight

Our Entrepreneurship Center clients are doing great things – read about their entrepreneurial journeys and get inspired!


Kristin Anne Danko, Neighborhood Theater Group

Kristin Anne Danko, Neighborhood Theater Group


Neighborhood Theatre Group (NTG) is a theatre company in Ypsilanti that creates “theatre from scratch”. We write and develop all our own shows, everything from original plays, musicals, sketch comedy shows, and cabarets. We had our first show in 2015 and are half way through our 4th Season!

What drives you to be a business owner?

My love for theatre. I love creating theatre that is built from the ground up. The work NTG does is unique in every aspect. It’s work you can only see here in Ypsilanti. I love the process of bringing an idea to life on stage and the collaboration that goes into each production.

How has the Entrepreneurship Center at WCC helped with your business goals?

The Entrepreneurship Center was a huge resource for me when I was figuring out how to turn my dream of starting a theatre company into a reality. Their free workshops (Starting your own LLC/DBA) was a huge help. The connections I made through these types of workshops helped us become the growing non-profit organization we are today.

If you could offer one piece of advice for fellow entrepreneurs or prospective entrepreneurs, what would it be?

Keep at it. You will make a lot of mistakes, everyone does. Starting a business is just one long learning process. I had a mantra I said to myself when we were starting out: “Leap and the net will appear”. I knew I just had to take the risk and now it’s paying off!

Previously Featured

Karen L. Driggs, Sleepy Cricket Healthy VendingKaren Driggs

“The opportunity to support a healthy lifestyle for busy people (motivates me to be a business owner). I appreciate the income stream and the ability to be part of the community with this service.”

Haiying Gan, Light Orange Bean

Haiying Gan
“Light Orange Bean is a food blog that I post recipes I developed along with eye-catching food photography I captured. My audiences are from every part of the world and they are lovers of healthy recipes (especially gluten-free and vegan). Besides running the food blog, I’m also a photographer providing photography services to local businesses, especially restaurants.”

Olivia Habart

Liv Buttons
“I’m driven to be a business owner because I fervently believe in the positive power of business. I see a lot of negative stigma surrounding capitalism and big business– especially in my generation– and it’s warranted. I started Liv Buttons as a social enterprise; I wanted to use it as an example of how to break norms and conduct business differently.”

George Pariseau photoGeorge Pariseau
“Stepping into entrepreneurship has been a tremendous growth experience: I’m a better human being because of it and I’m looking forward to the life long journey this path is taking me on.”

Betty ChaffeeBetty Chaffee
“Until people know your product or service exists and has value for them, there may be little or no demand. Be ready to put yourself out there in front of people!”

Kate Jackman and Jennifer Wooley, Fresh Coast PhotographyKate Jackman and Jennifer Wooley, Fresh Coast Photography
“It’s great to have a passion you want to share, but businesses are 80-90% all the ‘other stuff’ and only 10-20% the fun stuff…Be aware of that and make sure you are willing to do all the hard work that gets your passion in the hands of those that will appreciate it.”

Nathan Ayers photoNathan Ayers
“Don’t ever settle. It is possible to create a career and business that fulfills all of your goals, be they professional, artistic, economic or community impact related.”

Mary Lou Stropoli/That Art Girl LLCMary Lou Stropoli
“Creativity is not only a great way to spend our time, it’s also a fantastic way to keep minds active and elastic.”

jenningsRed Jennings
“Your character will develop right along with your business. You will start to learn new fascinating things about yourself as you dedicate your time to your dreams.”

Alicia Myers photoAlicia Myers
“When you have a business, the most important thing is filling a need that you’re passionate about. Because passion drives determination and having determination to do something right will lead you towards success.”

Vardan Sargsyan photoVardan Sargsyan
“What drives me to become a business owner is the ability it gives me to serve my local community.”