MTEC SmartZone Presents to Michigan Tech Summer Youth Program Attendees

On Tuesday, June 21, 2022, 20 students attending two Michigan Technological University Summer Youth Program (SYP) classes, Be Your Own Boss and Stock Market with Blizzard, visited MTEC SmartZone to learn about the high-tech business incubator and the basics of entrepreneurship. Students participating in the classes traveled from Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oregon, and Utah to Houghton, MI to attend their one week summer program and visit the campus.

Jason Mack, VP of Business Development at MTEC SmartZone, shared the history of MTEC SmartZone and what it means to be a business incubator. He also offered insight into the paths and lessons learned by several MTEC SmartZone clients, from an idea sketched on a napkin to a successful business that is propelling satellites in space!

The students also heard from Rob Sweet, co-owner of Superior Technologies, a software company that provides applications and software solutions for clients in the auto and security industries. Mr. Sweet discussed his path to owning his own business and the pros and cons of being the boss.

“Not everyone gets to choose where they live. Being your own boss allows you that freedom,” Sweet shared. “Not all jobs have a view like this either,” he continues as he points through the window to the beautiful Portage Canal and Mt. Ripley beyond.

“It’s always enjoyable to host the Michigan Tech Summer Youth Program students,” said Jason Mack. “The variety and depth of startup-related questions received from these young, aspiring entrepreneurs is both inspiring and entertaining. MTEC is grateful and honored to support these programs and hopefully spark a few new business ideas.”

MTEC SmartZone offers their own business program at no cost for aspiring entrepreneurs called SmartStart. The SmartStart program is a six week course designed to educate and guide entrepreneurs through the process of validating and growing their business idea. Participants are able to develop essential entrepreneurial skills while building a roadmap that details their business opportunity. Open enrollment for the next SmartStart program is going on now, with a few spots remaining. For more information or to apply for the SmartStart program click here.

This summer marks 50 years of successful programming for the Summer Youth Programs. Since 1972, Michigan Tech SYP has offered students in grades 6–11 a variety of hands-on explorations in engineering, science, technology, computer science, business, design, and the humanities. During their time on campus, students live in full-service residence hall, eat in the dining hall, and participate in their chosen exploration. In the evening, students have time to relax and participate in many different supervised recreational activities, taking advantage of Lake Superior, waterfalls, hiking trails and exploring nature in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan. To learn more about their programs visit