Highlights from Michigan Tech Week 2023: Networking, Insights, and Inspiration

Zell Lurie Institute
October 11, 2023

By, Hannah Berasley
Program Specialist, Outreach & Community Engagement


October 9th – 12th, supporters of the Michigan tech ecosystem gathered from across the state to celebrate, share, and network with one another at Michigan Tech Week. Michigan Tech Week being the biggest annual tech conference in the state, our ZLI Team was excited to jump in as sponsors and attendees. 

Kicking off the days activities were emcees and hosts Achsha Jones and Ashley Williams, two of our ZLI alumni and active Founders of TripSlip and RIZZARR respectively. Both Jones and Williams participated in the Michigan Founders Fund Pitch Competition, where they joined with other startups to create and pitch a joint collaboration between all of the ventures on their team. Williams and her team pitched the launch of Tour Michigan, a collaborative effort between the founders of Tour.Video, Drone Capital, RIZZARR, Stocked, and Protein Pints. Jones and her team pitched the Connected Michigan Coalition, a collaborative effort between the founders of VetterHealth, TripSlip, and Embark.Live. 

Jones and Williams weren’t the only proud U-M alumni in the room. Throughout the day on Tuesday we heard from Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II, Mayor Mike Duggan, Mayor Chris Taylor, and Devon Townsend. There were also many U-M alumni founders in attendance swelling with pride as we looked out over Michigan Stadium from the Jack Roth Stadium Club.  

Other star-studded speakers from Tuesday included Stacy Brown-Philpot, Camila Noordeloos, Luke Cooper, and Hill Harper!

Throughout the day, our team members got to learn from and network with many key stakeholders in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. The conference is a fantastic opportunity and experience, and we look forward to attending more sessions on Thursday.

We finished out the day touring the U-M locker room and hitting the field at Michigan Stadium to throw a football around and take some pictures. Unfortunately, we did not get video, but we are happy to report that Katia throws a great spiral and Jasmine kicked a field goal from the 5 yard line! Go team!

Some of the hardest-hitting knowledge nuggets from the day:

  • The importance of place-making in our communities to combat economic segregation and increase economic mobility
  • In 2015 Washtenaw County was ranked 8th in the country for most economically segregated metro in the United States
  • “You accomplish what you measure” – Stacy Brown-Philpot
  • “You can’t hire fast enough. Hire ahead of what you need.” -Stacy Brown-Philpot

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