Organizers behind the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition
planned to use downtown Detroit as backdrop for the Great Lakes State's emerging new economy. It worked.
Downtown Detroit's architectural gems (the Guardian Building lobby, the Westin Book-Cadillac Hotel and Orchestra Hall) provided a great contrast of the region's traditional economic might and character with the cream of the crop of Michigan's 21st Century startups.
"There is no time like now and no place like Michigan for innovation," says Dave Egner, executive director of the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan
, which has sponsored the competition in its first three years.
This year's top winners include Plymouth-based Algal Scientific
(1st place, $500,000), Ann Arbor-based nanoMAG
(2nd place, $150,000) and InPore Technologies
(3rd place, $100,000).
Quicken Loans Chairman Dan Gilbert was also honored with the Spirit of Michigan Award. Josh Linkner, CEO of Detroit Venture Partners
, accepted the award on Gilbert's behalf and spoke highly of downtown Detroit's new tech hub that is bubbling out of the M@dison Building.
"We will be studying this stretch of five years for years to come," Linkner says "It's because of the work and dedication of Dan Gilbert."
Source: Dave Egner, executive director of the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan and Josh Linkner, CEO of Detroit Venture Partners
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.