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Ann Arbor Spark

December 9, 2019

Michigan Angel Summit Highlights Entrepreneurship and Importance of Angel Community

Skip Simms, Michigan Angel Community director and senior vice president of Ann Arbor SPARK, offers his opening remarks to begin the summit.

The Michigan Angel Summit, held at The Henry Ford in Dearborn earlier last month, gathered experienced angels, potential investors, and industry experts for a lively day of networking and learning. Over 100 attendees had the opportunity to connect within the Michigan Angel Community and engage in a series of sessions on key topics in angel investing. With three company pitch presentations and two keynote addresses, the second annual statewide summit provided insight into the importance of entrepreneurship and the presence of angels in accelerating the growth of innovation.

Keynote speaker John Dearie, founder and president of the Center for American Entrepreneurship, illustrated the current state of the American economy with a particular focus on the consequences of the country’s slowing annual growth. Speaking on the issues of under-employment and the need to accelerate socio-economic mobility, narrow the income gap, and reduce poverty across the nation, Dearie pointed to sustained economic growth as the solution.

Watch John Dearie’s Keynote Presentation 

The source of this much-needed economic growth, Dearie stated, is “innovation—particularly major, transformative, or ‘disruptive’ innovation—that comes disproportionately from new businesses, or ‘startups.’ Thriving entrepreneurship is the beating heart, the very soul, of a healthy, productive, and growing economy. As angel investors,” he continued, “you are the single most important source of outside financing for startups—by far. A revitalization of American entrepreneurship cannot happen without you and what you do.”

Dearie closed his remarks with a staunch call to action to the angel investors, both seasoned and young, in the audience. “The task before us now is to build on the progress to date by working together to create a new, more robust, accessible, and inclusive economy that works for all Americans—one that will incentivize and inspire a renewed commitment to American democratic capitalism. Our success in achieving that goal depends entirely on the work that you do as angel investors: identifying and investing in the new businesses and innovations that will produce the economic growth, jobs, and opportunity that your fellow citizens need and deserve.”

This year’s Michigan Angel Summit was sponsored by the New Economy Initiative and supported by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and Ann Arbor SPARK.