Ann Arbor is known for its uniqueness, its food and its football. However, this year-round entertainment often masks another aspect that Ann Arbor that has become a driving force: its entrepreneurial spirit. Most people think entrepreneurism is limited to the confines of the industrial California valley, but it should be noted that Ann Arbor town boasts facts comparable to some of the most innovative places in the country. As mentioned by Crain’s Detroit: “Ann Arbor has more venture capitalists per capita than the Silicon Valley” making Ann Arbor the perfect place to grow a business – from ideation to inception. Startups have found success in the Ann Arbor region and this unique environment has coined the term “the silicon mitten”, CIO even refers to Michigan’s east side as the next silicon valley. In looking at what makes Ann Arbor’s startups successful, we found several hubs of ingenuity with a booming entrepreneurial spirit.
Ann Arbor Spark provides the community with a startup incubator space to grow one’s idea. It allows for businesses in the early stages to advance their growth by providing them with the tools and physical space to grow. Spark offers a leg up in developing an idea, all the way to successfully commercializing an innovation.
The Tech Arb is an extension of the University of Michigan Entrepreneurship Program and it designated to help students see their ideas come to reality. It shares a space Menlo Innovations and is commonly filled with students working diligently on their startup projects. Typically, 10 to 15 projects come through the Tech Arb every semester. The TechArb program empowers students to bring their startups to life and build viable ventures in a hands-on entrepreneurial environment.
The Tech Brewery is a space built for building up startups in a coworking space. The Tech Brewery was founded in 2009 and it initially was an experiment to see if a shared-desk tech space would gain support in Ann Arbor. Since then, the Tech Brewery quickly grew from a handful of users to a busy community of technology entrepreneurs.
Ann Arbor’s booming startup environment continues to attract the boldest minds and ideas. Ingenex has enjoyed seeing all of the startups that have come out of Ann Arbor – and watching them disrupt their respective market.
So, do you have what it takes to thrive in the Midwest Valley?