An Entrepreneurial Tsunami in A2 is Coming

Its not often scientists get to witness seismic events in our Earth’s crust that produce tidal waves.  Although our science is getting better they are still hard to measure and even harder to see up close and personal.

I, however, had the distinct pleasure of personally witnessing a seismic event in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Ann Arbor today at MPowered’s inaugural 1000 Pitches 21e Summit event held at the University of Michigan’s TechArb facility in downtown Ann Arbor.

About 200 students and more than a dozen entrepreneurs and mentors from the A2 entrepreneurial ecosystem descended upon TechArb for the first 1000 Pitches 21e Summit event — an opportunity for finalists and participants in the 1000 Pitches Video Idea Pitch competition to network and participate in workshops to help take their ideas forward.

At first I didn’t notice the seismic shift, it was subtle.

The event itself was amazing.  Here, in the center of Ann Arbor, on a cold early December Saturday almost 200 students were attending workshops and skill building events to perfect their ideas.  Very cool!

Here’s the amazing part and why I’m sounding the Entrepreneurial Tsunami warning bell for A2…

The growth in entrepreneurial activity at UM has been significant during the last several years and over that time a pipeline of entrepreneurial activity and talent has emerged that we have embraced.   1000 Pitches and Entrepreneurship Hour, for example, are two important feeder programs for the start of this talent supply chain and contribute roughly 4,000-5000 students / year.  This fall, for example 1000 Pitches collected 3,303 video pitches… a new world record!

The seismic event I noticed was not that we had collected a new world record worth of video pitch ideas… the event was that 200 entrepreneurial students (the semi finalists and other contributors) were actively investing significant time on moving their pitched ideas forward!

Sure, many of these ideas are very raw and may not hold up through the journey but that is not the point.  The point is that the number of active entrepreneurial student engagements due to one of the largest entrepreneurial feeder programs the University of Michigan holds just shifted its conversion metrics upwards — significantly!

Its unclear how this energy and activity will materialize itself in the coming months and years but you can count on this having a tidal wave effect in follow on participation in other entrepreneurial events, classes and programs on campus.

Congratulations to the MPowered students!  Everyone else — either prepare to head for higher ground or start getting ready to scale your entrepreneurial programs… a big wave is coming!


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