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Ann Arbor SPARK Returns to Midwest House at SXSW, Leads Panel on Sustainable Innovation

Ann Arbor SPARK is excited to announce its participation as a co-sponsor of Michigan Day at Midwest House during the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, on March 11. Collaborating with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Grand Rapids SmartZone, and other regional partners, Ann Arbor SPARK aims to highlight the innovative spirit and green technology initiatives thriving within the Ann Arbor region’s ecosystem.

Midwest House is a pivotal platform for Ann Arbor to showcase its technological and creative advancements to a global audience. Situated in the heart of SXSW’s bustling activity, it offers a unique opportunity for thought leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs from the Midwest to connect, share ideas, and forge partnerships. Midwest House is held at Half Step Bar at 75-1/2 Rainey Street in Austin, Texas.

Ann Arbor SPARK will present a panel discussion, “Green Horizons: Nurturing Sustainable Innovation,” at Midwest House on Monday, March 11, from 3 to 4 pm CST. This session aims to tackle the pressing need for innovation that not only propels businesses into the future but does so with a keen eye on environmental sustainability. The panel will feature a diverse group of thought leaders and innovators from the fields of renewable energy, green technology, and sustainable business practices, including Missy Stults, sustainability​​ and​​ innovations director​​ for the City of Ann Arbor, Heidi Poscher, senior economist and senior vice president of strategy at Dynamic Energy Group and owner of Venue by 4M, Yahang Zhang, consultant at RRS / NextCycle, and Praveena Ramaswami, communications, marketing and public relations for EAVX.

The discussion will be moderated by Margarita Hernandez, vice president of entrepreneurial services at Ann Arbor SPARK, who will guide the conversation through a range of topics, including the latest trends in green technology, the role of startups and established companies in environmental stewardship, and the impact of sustainable innovations on global markets. 

Jenn Hayman, senior vice president of marketing, communications, and events at Ann Arbor SPARK, expressed enthusiasm about the opportunity Midwest House presents: “Midwest House at SXSW provides an exceptional venue for us to share the groundbreaking work happening in the Ann Arbor region with a global audience. Our focus on green tech efforts underlines our commitment to driving innovation that not only answers today’s challenges but does so responsibly and sustainably.”

In addition to the “Green Horizons” panel, Michigan Day will feature a rich lineup of programming designed to celebrate and spotlight the diverse talent and innovation stemming from the state. The day will kick off with the Black and Brown Founder Lunch, sponsored by Plain Sight and The Academy, dedicated to supporting and connecting minority entrepreneurs. Attendees will also have the exclusive opportunity to attend the premiere of “Sure As Wind,” presented by Song United, a compelling film that highlights the journey of JustAir, a Michigan-based startup making significant strides in environmental technology. Sponsored by MEDC, Michigan Day will also include a fireside chat with Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist, techno pioneer Juan Atkins, and entrepreneur Dre Wallace, discussing the intersection of innovation, culture, and community. 

For more information about Ann Arbor SPARK’s activities at SXSW, please visit, and follow SPARK at Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn

About Midwest House

Midwest House is a gathering place at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival where people from the Midwest region of the United States come together to showcase and discuss their creative and technological projects. It serves as a hub for these individuals to share ideas, connect with others, and highlight the innovation and culture of the Midwest. Learn more at