The BBCetc Story
In 1990, one woman planted an important seed.
BBC Entrepreneurial Training and Consulting was born September 5, 1990 when Mickey Katz-Pek filed for a Woman in Business Enterprise Certification just days after having registered Biotechnology Business Consulting (the BBC in our name) with the state of Michigan.
The business World back then was significantly different — and harder than it is today for a female entrepreneur. “I understood how politics affected my personal life as a female growing up in the 50’s and 60’s. I wasn’t a feminist. I was a young mother who needed to work. I was more concerned with equal rights and equal pay, equal opportunity.”
Mickey had enjoyed a productive, successful sixteen-year career at the University of Michigan Medical School, working as an academic administrator. When the Small Business Innovation Development Act established the SBIR program in 1982, she saw an opportunity. She left to co-launch a new company, BioQuant with two scientists. Over the next few years, a series of circumstances forced her to re-evaluate her position and she left to found the company that became BBCetc.
“I envisioned BBC as an organization that could help academics who were serious about starting a biotech company to create a marketable product,” said Mickey. “The Small Business Innovation Research program required federal agencies with annual R&D budgets exceeding $100 million to allocate fixed percentages of their extramural R&D budgets for small business innovation research. That sparked my interest.”
Mickey’s expertise was grant writing — she knew how to help researchers with a great idea secure the funding they needed to move forward to commercialize their product. But these same individuals needed help to build a sustainable, viable company that could produce and market the product.
Through a former associate, Mike Kurek, she was introduced to his wife, Lisa Kurek. Lisa had a masters in bio-engineering and had been employed by a large Bio-Tech company on the East Coast. During that time she discovered an innate understanding of how to translate technology into compelling marketing. She also discovered that she truly enjoyed that end of the business.
“When I met Lisa, I wasn’t looking for a partner,” said Mickey. “I thought I was recruiting an employee.” It quickly became clear that their collective skills would allow BBC to expand its services. She offered Lisa a full partnership in the company.
Some thought she was crazy to give away half the business, but “it was the best business decision I ever made.” A few years later, Mike Kurek joined BBC to focus on commercialization planning.
Over time, the focus on biotechnology broadened to include a wider range of technological innovations and the company became BBC Entrepreneurial Training and Consulting, or BBCetc.
Although both Mickey and Lisa have sold their equity in BBCetc, their legacy powerfully informs how the company works with clients and approaches its business. As the company passes its 30th year in business, it’s important to note that Mickey Katz-Pek can boast an extensive, impressive resume but her most lasting legacy — along with her partner, Lisa Kurek and Lisa’s husband, Mike — is the continued success and growth of BBCetc and its clients.