Report Index


Mary Sue Hoffman
Attorney and Technology Business Consultant, Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center

As a competition judge at the Michigan Business Challenge and Dare to Dream grant program, Mary Sue Hoffman endeavors to strike the right balance between fostering creativity and emphasizing hard work. “There's no substitute for the latter,”she says, “so students who understand both sides of this equation will succeed.”Hoffman should know. Over the course of her successful legal and business career, she has worked her way up through the ranks at leading U.S. companies, including PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Allegheny Technologies. Today, as an attorney and technology business consultant with the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center, Hoffman conducts due diligence for investor groups considering investments in start-up companies. She also manages, on behalf of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Emerging Technologies Fund, which seeks to expand funding opportunities for Michigan technology-based companies in the federal innovation research and development arena. “What I bring to student-led start-ups at the Zell Lurie Institute is not only my own expertise but the expertise of my entire team,”says Hoffman, who was born and raised in Michigan. “I can provide emerging companies with access to a full complement of team services, including SBIR/STTR grant proposals, investor pitches, business-plan reviews, sources of capital and introductions to the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Michigan.” While the nuts and bolts of new-venture creation are important, Hoffman never loses sight of the overarching principles she believes should guide that process. “Through my coaching and feedback, I try to tie together three concepts: new ideas, new solutions and social values,”she explains. “This is important because Zell Lurie Institute students will carry innovation forward to a world we cannot envision today and use their ingenuity to solve problems. I see my work with the Institute as an opportunity to influence our future leaders.”