Advocates for entrepreneurship
Annual event promotes innovative spirit, builds statewide momentum
Entrepreneurs and innovators from across Michigan gathered on Jan. 26 at the Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurship (ACE) event in Southfield to celebrate, promote and advocate for entrepreneurship across the Great Lakes region.
Nearly 1,000 entrepreneurs, service
providers, investors, students, government agents and members of the business
community attended to gain access to the best and brightest start-up experts, and
connect with successful area businesses and investors, including leaders from
the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s entrepreneurship and innovation
team and its affiliated programs.
entrepreneurial movement in Michigan is the envy of states across the country,
so it was great to see so many entrepreneurs – both new and veteran – in
attendance at ACE asking questions, sharing ideas and providing counsel to help
continue the tremendous momentum that has been developed in recent years.
Whether featuring business owners, successful CEOs or directors at SmartZones
and Incubators throughout the state, conversations were insightful and
beneficial to all in attendance.
Throughout the day, attendees
participated in panel discussions, Pitch Pit events and networking sessions. Panel discussions covered a variety of
topics essential for entrepreneurs seeking to start or grow a business.
As an attendee at ACE, I had the
opportunity to serve on a panel focused on the availability and importance of Michigan
support services provided by MEDC. In this workshop, featuring Charlie Moret,
president at Invest Michigan, Steve Wilson, director of technology innovation
and commercialization services at the University of Michigan, and Sandra
Cochrane, technology business consultant at the Small Business Development
Center (SBDC), we sought to hold an open discussion for entrepreneurs seeking
low-cost resources and programs to help launch their business. Additionally, information
on dozens of programs was shared to help entrepreneurs find low- or no-cost resources
relevant to their specific business interest.
One of the key take-aways shared
with entrepreneurs was to start with their local SmartZone and SDBC. Michigan has 15 SmartZones across the state that can provide services
and resources for any interested entrepreneur. SBDCs are another invaluable
resource for start-ups, as they provide counseling, training, and secondary
market research for new ventures, existing small businesses and advanced
ACE offers something for everyone
– whether you’re fresh out of school looking for guidance and mentorship on
starting your own business, or a seasoned veteran starting another venture
seeking information on various services and resources at your disposal. I
strongly encourage entrepreneurs and innovators to take advantage of this key
networking event in the future.