One of the things Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition
excels at is bringing together a broad variety of entrepreneurial players with ties to the Great Lakes State. This makes for some invaluable business connections.
The third annual business plan competition kicked off in the Guardian Building
lobby Tuesday evening. The lobby, provided by Bank of America, which has a branch in the ornate hall, provided the right space for investors, entrepreneurs and local shot callers to mix freely. Small enough to be intimate for a crowd of about a 100 people but it's soaring ceiling giving an air of roominess.
This reporter never felt crowded but couldn't stop long enough to send a text message to his wife or an email to his editor without someone tugging at his elbow to say, 'Hello.' In that time, I ran into some of the most successful angel investors in the state
as well as aspiring entrepreneurs, like one who is currently trying to launch a start-up while attending medical school at Wayne State University. All of these people mingled both casually and comfortably.
There weren't hard pitches or tables with literature. Those come later during the official part of the competition on Wednesday and today at the Westin-Book Cadillac Hotel. But for the first night, many of the people who are actively building Michigan's new economy came out of the silos of their sectors and made connections with others interested in helping them build a company.
Accelerate Michigan got its start in Ann Arbor as a way to showcase the cream of the crop of Michigan's entrepreneurial ecosystem and connect them with both local and out-of-state resources and investors. This year it moved to downtown Detroit to show off the Motor City's emerging tech hub and vibrant downtown. That shined through Tuesday evening where attendees walked past office buildings lit up with young people working for the likes of Quicken Loans
and Strategic Staffing Solutions
Accelerate Michigan offers $1 million in prizes to start-ups based in or looking to move to Michigan. This year the top three finishers will take home $500,000, $100,000 and $50,000. For information, click here
Source: Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.