Entrepreneurs Resource Center

Our online catalog of business articles is a popular feature. Also, below is a look at some of the foundation’s ongoing entrepreneurship initiatives, such as leader retreats, PeerSpectives CEO roundtables and the Companies to Watch awards program. You’ll also find videos about our land stewardship activities and heritage, including our founder’s entrepreneurial journey.

In second stage, company founders are trying to shift from being entrepreneurs to leaders. This is no easy task, because leadership is about influencing the behavior of others.

Dino Signore, our manager of entrepreneurial education, discusses a variety of leadership topics, including:

  • Managing change
  • Understanding temperament
  • Building a management team
  • Thinking like a futurist
  • Keeping employees engaged

A unique CEO roundtable system designed especially for leaders of second-stage companies, PeerSpectives® enhances leadership abilities and improves decision-making. These roundtables, which typically involve eight to 12 business executives, provide a confidential forum where participants can share challenges and experiences.

Videos in this section discuss why the PeerSpectives methodology is so successful and how to implement and run a successful roundtable. There are also password-protected videos for current licensees that provide best-practices content about administering and facilitating a roundtable.

Retreats at the Edward Lowe Foundation enable second-stage entrepreneurs to step away from daily distractions and focus instead on future growth. These programs address everything from building a management team and developing strategy to creating a strong company culture. Curriculum is geared to push participants out of their comfort zone.

In addition to cutting-edge curriculum, another hallmark of our retreats program is Big Rock Valley (BRV), our 2,000-acre campus in southwest Michigan. Surrounded by woodlands, wetlands, farm fields and prairies, BRV provides a peaceful setting that enables participants to unplug from hectic schedules and concentrate on  scaling their business.

In addition to entrepreneurship, the foundation also has a mission of land stewardship, which plays out at Big Rock Valley (BRV), our headquarters in southwest Michigan. Comprised of 2,000 acres of woodland, wetland and prairie, BRV’s diverse habitats support a wide variety of flora and fauna, including many species that are endangered or threatened.

To preserve BRV’s environmental integrity, we employ a number of innovative land-management practices. We also allow academic researchers to use the property for studies that help expand the knowledge base of conservation science. The videos here take a closer look at BRV’s unusual biodiversity.

The foundation began in 1985, but our roots trace back to founder Ed Lowe, who in 1947 introduced Kitty Litter, the country’s first cat-box-filler. Ed went on to develop a global brand and establish an entirely new industry. He distinguished himself in a number of ways, from his marketing prowess and R&D initiatives at Edward Lowe Industries to his efforts to increase recognition for U.S. entrepreneurs.

In this section, you’ll find a short video that highlight Ed’s entrepreneurial journey, from the introduction of Kitty Litter to the launch of the foundation, along with a quick look at some of our programs. You’ll also find a number of Kitty Litter and Tidy Cat commercials, which were the first cat-box-filler brands to debut on national television in the late 1970s.

Dan Wyant
President and Chief Operating Officer

Plain Talk from Ed Lowe

edlowe-imageThis series of articles explores the thoughts, ideas and unvarnished advice of our founder, Ed Lowe. When Ed “brought the cat indoors” with Kitty Litter, his  revolutionary cat-box filler, he created an entirely new industry that changed the lives of millions of cat lovers, not to mention cats. During his life, Ed used “plain talk” to speak about the bottom line from the bottom of his heart. We believe these articles, which have been updated after his death, offer value for both your business and personal life.

Second stage is an important inflection point for entrepreneurs, says Dino Signore, the foundation’s manager of entrepreneurial education. On the plus side, second-stagers have a proven product or service under their belts and have attracted initial customers, so survival is no longer a daily concern. Yet as they strive to gain a stronger foothold in the market and win more customers, second-stagers now face more strategic issues, such as building infrastructure to scale, honing their competitive edge and expanding into new markets.

“Entrepreneurs need a bridge between their dreams and reality,” says Colleen Killen-Roberts, director of entrepreneurship at the Edward Lowe Foundation. “And that’s where operational expertise comes in. Operations is about creating the necessary infrastructure to take the entrepreneur’s ideas and make them happen.” In this series of articles, Killen-Roberts shares insights gleaned from more than 25 years of operational and fiscal management experience at second-stage companies.

Entrepreneur’s Resource Center

Hundreds of articles and briefs — solutions gleaned from CEOs, presidents and business owners like you.