SmartZone Client Selected as Finalist in Michigan Virtual Pitch Competition for Women Entrepreneurs


Northern Michigan University alumni and Innovate Marquette SmartZone client, Britta Carlson, pitched her visionary concept of Med Pros Share, an online marketplace for Occupational, Physical, and Speech Therapists as well as other licensed medical professionals, against seven other finalists from around the state in the Michigan Women Forward (MWF) Virtual WomenUP Pitch Competition, a statewide organization focused on creating an inclusive economy for the state of Michigan so that all women and girls can reach their full potential. Carlson was one of two Upper Peninsula residents represented in the competition.

The Med Pros Share concept not only came from her career experience but her drive to assist practitioners with student debt while capturing retiring professionals’ knowledge, as well as help new mothers stay engaged and able to earn passive income from their knowledge and expertise. Members of the platform can search and download as well as buy and sell their resources, such as treatment plan frameworks, education, precaution checklists, workbooks, patient handouts, and products.

As one of our client’s Britta has been working closely with our innovation process and CEO, Joe Thiel, to identify areas of improvement within her vision as well as prepare for the pitch competition.

“Our goal is to guide, support, and connect our local entrepreneurs with the hopes of proving the resilence of U.P. residents plays a key role in Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Britta has spent her nights and weekends bringing this concept to fruition, on top of a full-time career and being a mom. She is the epitome of the endurance of an entrepreneur.” says Joe.

On her work with Innovate Marquette SmartZone, Britta states, “Innovate Marquette SmartZone has been a key proponent to the success of my business concept in multiple ways. First and foremost, Joe and his team introduced me to the notion of partnership and protection within the innovation ecosystem. This allowed me to identify the vulnerabilities and unique aspects within my business idea by comparing it to competitors, then problem-solving to improve the overall concept before presenting it to industry leaders for licensing. One of the most important things to note about my partnership with SmartZone in this phase is the assistance in applying for and receiving BAF (Business Accelerator Fund) funding. This funding has provided me with marketing dollars which enabled me to push my concept out into the world. This win will help secure expenses for patenting which will allow Med Pros Share to move further from a concept to reality”

She is a 2012 graduate of NMU in health and fitness management while competing at a national and world level as an Olympic athlete in weightlifting. After gaining her Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy she went on to become an Intermediate School District (ISD) occupational practitioner before opening her own practice.

The WomanUp & Pitch event is made possible by generous sponsorship from the Consumers Energy Foundation. The Foundation has contributed $850,000 toward MWF entrepreneur programs since 2015, including $115,000 for this year’s competitions.