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Entrepreneurs bring energy, imagination to ‘era of possibilities’ for Detroit

Michigan Business Network
October 6, 2018 11:00 AM

MEDC-1MEDC hosts ‘Start MI Up’ to attract capital investment, build enthusiasm for ongoing transformation of Michigan economy

For three days (Oct. 1-3), entrepreneurs and innovators are assembling at “Start MI Up: Michigan Ventures Forward,” a gathering that focuses on emerging opportunities of start-up business in Detroit. While the emphasis is on attracting startups, there’s no looking past the long-term challenge of creating sustainable business enterprises. 

Day two of networking for a few hundred entrepreneurs and venture capitalists from around the country took place in a second-floor conference room in Detroit’s Port Authority building with an expansive view of the Detroit River. Amid a historic setting with recent developments nearby as a backdrop, the focus is clearly on the future. 

“This is an exciting time in the development of Detroit when people are thinking about the possibilities (of a range of industries),” said Dan Gilbert, founder of Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures. His companies have invested $5.6 billion in downtown Detroit and nearby neighborhoods. 

Start MI UP

Gilbert’s keynote morning address focused on Detroit as a strategic Midwest location within a six-hour drive of 50 million consumers. He presented a portrait of Detroit as an emerging international city with an indelible brand, a city entering a new development phase of expanding investment beyond downtown, and a city that is being redefined as a place of ingenuity and possibility. 

Millennials are looking for great places to live and work. A major challenge, he said, is to transform Detroit as an international destination that captures the imagination and addresses the needs of today’s coveted highly educated and mobile workforce. 

Gilbert escorted the audience through recent key developments redefining the city’s skyline, including Bedrock’s investment of more than $2 billion on the site of the former Hudson’s building in the city’s central business district.  

“Start MI Up,” sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, serves as a symposium for sharing best practices, strategies for attracting capital while ultimately encouraging networking of like-minded with an eye on transforming Detroit and Michigan as a mecca for venture capitalism and mid-21st century home of mobility and autonomous-vehicle technologies.

To learn more about how MEDC provides entrepreneurial support to emerging high-tech companies, visit here.


Michigan Business Network is an online broadcasting company that provides knowledge, news, and insights into Michigan’s businesses, industries, and economy.