1. Kladder: Michigan Business Challenge – Impact Track Finalist Team

    February 3, 2017

    Who are the team members?

    Jaymon Ballew
    Thomas Alston
    Lee Cumberland
    Codi Staples

    How did you decide your team name?

    Our team name comes from the term cladding, which is the process of bonding one metal to another.

    Tell us briefly about your business idea.

    Our venture stems from identifying the issue of the disparity in career advancement, and subsequently in representation in representation in the senior management ranks of diverse professionals.

    We hope to serve as a driving force behind increased career advancement opportunities for diverse professionals, which will ultimately result in the senior management at U.S. nonprofits and corporations being more representative of the makeup of the U.S. labor force.

    Our idea is unique because we seek to combat this problem by fostering more connectivity amongst diverse professionals, both intra- and inter-industry. We also seek to increase the amount of information that these individuals have to make informed career decisions, whether that includes what industry to choose, which company is a better fit for them specifically, etc.

    How has the MBC experience helped transform your approach to business strategy?

    MBC has helped to transform our approach to business strategy by providing us with a lens to look at the many issues and questions that will be key to the success of our venture. From the opening round until the finals, we have been pushed to consider different issues and continue to flesh out what will be key to the success of Kladder.

    What do you think will be the long-term impact of the implementation of this idea?

    The long-term impact of the implementation of this idea has tremendous potential. First, we can combat issues of knowledge disparity that have often plagued diverse professionals. Diverse professionals seeking to pursue a specific career path in a specific industry or interested in career opportunities at a certain company will be armed with the information necessary to make an informed decision. Connectivity amongst diverse professionals will increase, which will allow for more networking and mentoring opportunities, both of which are key for the advancement of the careers of diverse professionals. Exposure for diverse professionals across various industries will also increase, which will result in more career opportunities for these individuals.

    What been your biggest takeaway from this experience?

    Our biggest takeaway from this experience has been that there are people who see the problem that we’re trying to solve and believe that we have the potential to be a driving force behind achieving a solution.

    If you win, what will you do immediately following the competition?

    If we win, immediately following the competition we’ll probably go for a celebratory dinner. We’ll probably have earned a break at that point.


    Join us on Feb. 17 to watch this team compete for the $15K grand prize in the Impact Track Finals!

    Read more about the other finalist teams: AIM Tech | Find Your Ditto | Sage & Grace