Our Sponsors


New Economy Initiative

The New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan (NEI) is an innovative philanthropic effort to accelerate the transition of metro Detroit to an innovation-based economy that expands opportunity for all. Ten national, regional and local foundations have committed $100 million to this unprecedented eight-year initiative, including the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (Detroit), the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation (Southfield, Michigan), the Ford Foundation (New York), the Hudson-Webber Foundation (Detroit), the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (Battle Creek, Michigan), the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (Miami), The Kresge Foundation (Troy, Michigan), the McGregor Fund (Detroit), the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Flint, Michigan), and the Skillman Foundation (Detroit). The participating foundations are leading the implementation and governance of the Initiative. The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, which initiated the collaborative, is serving as its administrative home. For more information, please visit www.neweconomyinitiative.org.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s sales and marketing arm and lead agency for business, talent and jobs, tourism and economic growth. We offer a number of business assistance services and capital programs for business attraction and acceleration, economic gardening, entrepreneurship, strategic partnerships, talent enhancement and urban development. Discover Pure Michigan at www.MichiganAdvantage.org and www.Michigan.org.


Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization, is the driving force in establishing the Ann Arbor region as a destination for business expansion, retention, and location by identifying and meeting the needs of business at every stage, from startups to large organizations. Ann Arbor SPARK represents all communities in the Washtenaw County. Ann Arbor SPARK collaborates with business, academic, government, and community investor partners including the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Washtenaw Community College, Michigan Works!/ETCS, Washtenaw County, the City of Ann Arbor, the Bank of Ann Arbor and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. For more information, please visit www.annarborusa.org.

Automation Alley

Automation Alley Automation Alley is a technology business association and business accelerator dedicated to growing the economy of Southeast Michigan and enhancing the region’s reputation around the world. Automation Alley offers talent and business development programs and services to tech-focused businesses of all sizes — from startups to large corporations — to help them grow and prosper. Since its founding in 1999, Automation Alley’s membership has grown to include nearly 1,000 businesses, educational institutions, government entities and nonprofit organizations from the city of Detroit and the surrounding eight-county region. Automation Alley provides a variety of exclusive benefits to its members to help them succeed, including networking opportunities, meeting space and public relations tools. Automation Alley also serves the general business community in four key areas: entrepreneurial services, talent development, international business services, product lifecycle management, and defense and manufacturing.

Invest Michigan

Invest Michigan is a nonprofit corporation which manages the Michigan Pre-Seed Fund 2.0 under a contract with the Michigan Strategic Fund. A portion of the fund is dedicated to a “University Commercialization” to help universities transfer technology to the marketplace. Investments are made to turn innovative early stage Michigan tech companies into viable businesses, which expand and strengthen our state’s economy. We partner with other investors to co-invest jointly in early stage companies and often will participate with a company through several rounds of financing. Investments will be made only within the State of Michigan. http://investmichiganfund.com


Varnum LLP

For more than 125 years, clients have trusted Varnum for excellence, innovation and superior results in the delivery of legal services. Over the years, as the needs of our clients have become more complex, we have kept pace by constantly expanding our areas of practice, our understanding of evolving trends and issues, and our ability to harness technology effectively. Varnum clients represent a diverse range of business and legal interests: manufacturers, financial institutions, health care providers, professional groups, municipalities, colleges and universities, school districts, developers, publishers, retailers, governmental units, transportation, trade associations and charitable organizations.

Menlo Innovations

Menlo Innovations is an innovative consulting company serving the tech industry through:

  • Education and training
  • Cultural transformation
  • Software design work to achieve user adoption
  • Software development work that maximizes quality and project management agility

Detroit Creative Corridor Center

The Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3) is metropolitan Detroit’s creative industries advocacy organization.  It provides the leadership, resources, exposure, data and analytics necessary to elevate the economic output and social impact of Detroit’s creative economy. Its vision is to grow creative sector jobs in the Detroit region and to establish Detroit as a recognized global center for design, creativity and innovation. The Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3) is a joint initiative between Business Leaders for Michigan and the College for Creative Studies.  It receives funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, The Kresge Foundation, Surdna Foundation, New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, fee-based consulting work and a variety of corporate partners.

Michigan Venture Capital Association

The Michigan Venture Capital Association is a catalyst for building a strong, diverse, and entrepreneurial Michigan business ecosystem. MVCA represents venture capitalists, angel investors, industry service providers, economic development organization, and high-education institutions – all working together to create new business opportunities and foster Michigan’s growing role as a center of innovation, entrepreneurship, and company creation. To that end, MVCA facilitates communication, builds relationships, promotes advocacy, and sponsors program and other events that support the interests of its members – and everyone else who lives, works, or invests in Michigan. michiganvca.org


Meijer is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer that operates 222 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. As a pioneer of the “one-stop shopping” concept, Meijer stores have evolved through the years to include expanded fresh produce and meat departments, as well as pharmacies, comprehensive apparel departments, garden centers and electronic offerings. For additional information on Meijer, please visit www.meijer.com.

Spartan Innovations

Spartan Innovations provides the educational and financial support necessary to turn MSU research technologies into successful Michigan businesses – and spur entrepreneurship in the Michigan economy. Spartan Innovations is co-located with and complements the work being done now by MSU Technologies, the university’s technology transfer office organized in 2007, and Business-CONNECT, created in 2009 as MSU’s portal for engagement with the business community. All three units are part of the MSU Innovation Center. The MSU Foundation, which serves as fiduciary and trustee for MSU’s charitable annuities, trusts, and gifts of property, provides major funding for the initiative. http://www.spartaninnovations.org/


Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP

At Taft, we work as one team, driven and committed to helping you succeed. Our attorneys understand that innovative, value-creating solutions help our clients reach their goals. Our collaborative approach, advanced technological resources and depth of services can transform what you expect from your legal team. With more than 400 attorneys, Taft has offices in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; Covington, Kentucky; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Phoenix, Arizona, and maintains a presence in Florida. The firm practices across a wide range of industries, in virtually every area of law, including: Business & Finance Business Restructuring, Bankruptcy and Creditor Rights Environmental Health & Life Sciences Intellectual Property Labor & Employment Litigation Private Client Real Estate Tax With a proven track record of experience since 1885, Taft offers breadth and depth of legal services coupled with a trusted business perspective to help our clients reach their goals.

JR Turnbull

JR Turnbull Communications is a full-service cause marketing and event production company combining experience and vision to design custom programs that build strong relationships between businesses and community organizations through brand awareness. http://www.jrturnbull.com

Michigan Small Business Development Center

The Michigan SBDC provides counseling, training and research to assist small business to launch, grow, transition and innovate. The Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC) enhances Michigan’s economic wellbeing by providing counseling, training and research for new ventures, existing small businesses and advanced technology companies. http://sbdcmichigan.org/

Endeavor Detroit

Endeavor is the only non-profit that supports high-impact entrepreneurs around the world. Our “mentor capitalist” model breaks down economic and cultural barriers to entrepreneurship through advising from our network of world-class business leaders. With their guidance, our 1,300+ Endeavor Entrepreneurs throughout Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the U.S. have created 587,000 high-value jobs and in 2015, generated $8.16 billion.

Grand Valley State University

The Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (CEI) in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University serves to champion and catalyze the vocation of entrepreneurship. To accomplish this mission, the CEI practices two objectives: talent development and the support for businesses.

Michigan Technological University

The Office of Innovation and Industrial Engagement (IIE) at Michigan Tech coordinates and delivers the InnovationShore services and programs which connect a vast array of expertise, services, and initiatives in basic and applied research, training and education, technology commercialization, intellectual property licensing, and start-up business development. We support leading-edge researchers, educators, inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs via a robust network of on-campus industry-relations professionals and affiliated region partners and service providers.

Marketing Supply Company

With 15+ years of Silicon Valley digital marketing experience, we bring deep industry knowledge to each and every client we work with. We use proven marketing, advertising, and optimization techniques to scale up your online presence efficiently and effectively.
No matter the size of your business, our data-driven techniques will scale your company growth. Our dedicated account managers are with you every step of the way to make sure you’re getting the most out of our work.

WDET 101.9FM

WDET 1o1.9FM  is the authentic voice of Detroit. We serve an engaged, diverse and curious audience through trusted news, inclusive conversations and cultural experiences that empower the Detroit region to move forward.

Lambert Edwards

LE&A (www.lambert-edwards.com) is a top-10 Midwest-based PR firm and a top-15 investor relations firm nationally with clients based in 20 states and six countries. As Michigan’s largest PR firm – with offices in Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit – LE&A serves middle-market companies and national brands across a wide array of industries and is the state’s largest bipartisan public affairs firm. 

LE&A has posted 18 years of growth, been named PR Week and PRNews Small Firm of the Year, honored as an Edward Lowe “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch,” and earned Crain’s “Michigan’s Healthiest Employers” and “Coolest Places to Work” awards. LE&A is also a global partner in PROI Worldwide, the largest partnership of independent PR firms in the world spanning 120 cities on five continents. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter @LambertEdwards.

DTX Launch Detroit

The Detroit Technology Exchange (DTX) represents a paradigm shift in the Detroit Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, pivoting efforts toward new collaboration between the City’s incubators, accelerators, idea generators and funders. The vision of DTX is to exponentially augment the Detroit entrepreneurial ecosystem by bundling the collective power of its partners’ core competencies to address gaps. By creating programs that leverage existing assets, DTX will:
  1. Expand the entrepreneurial talent pool across the continuum at every stage
  2. Cultivate new opportunities from a number of technology provider partners within the ecosystem
  3. Intentionally integrate the critical services necessary to move start-ups to the point of funding and launch
  4. Purposefully publicize the successes of the network to further awareness of the entrepreneurial opportunities in the City of Detroit


Xconomy is dedicated to providing business and technology leaders with timely, insightful, close-to-the-scene information about the local personalities, companies, and technological trends that best exemplify today’s high-tech economy. We are the authoritative voice on the exponential economy, the realm of business and innovation characterized by exponential technological growth and responsible for an increasing share of productivity and overall economic growth. We deliver this valuable content through a unique global network of localized news sites, events, conferences, and other initiatives designed to better connect people and ideas. http://www.xconomy.com/

WDET 101.9FM

WDET 1o1.9FM  is the authentic voice of Detroit. We serve an engaged, diverse and curious audience through trusted news, inclusive conversations and cultural experiences that empower the Detroit region to move forward.


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