Driving Entrepreneurship in Northern Michigan

Driving Entrepreneurship in Northern Michigan

MARQUETTE — Governor Rick Snyder spoke via internet stream to a group of individuals who are driving entrepreneurship in Northern Michigan.

On Friday, Innovate Marquette SmartZone and Northern Michigan University co–sponsored an event titled, “A Catalyst for Conversation: Driving Entrepreneurship in Northern Michigan.”

Innovate Marquette SmartZone CEO Ray Johnson said, “We want to start conversations around entrepreneurship, around supporting entrepreneurs, around supporting start–ups, and around creating places and opportunities for inventors and innovators to bring their ideas forward.”

Friday’s gathering included opening remarks from NMU President Fritz Erickson. Educators, politicians, business promoters and leaders from across the U.P. attended. Later on welcoming remarks were made from Governor Rick Snyder via internet stream.

“I hope I can make some comments that just encourage you to keep going,” said Governor Rick Snyder, “what you’re doing is awesome. The opportunity that you have in front of you is incredible, so please be fired up and stay fired up, and keep moving forward.”

The Governor’s five elements for success included: access to technology, talent, capital, infrastructure, and culture of success. A keynote address was given by MEDC CEO Steve Arwood afterward. Members from the MTEC SmartZone in Houghton, who were partially responsible for the Marquette SmartZone starting attended as well. CEO Marilyn Clark says the synergy between the areas promotes the best opportunities for regional growth.

“Houghton has all of these technical people who are very smart computer programmers, mechanical engineers, physics PhD’s,” said MTEC SmartZone CEO Marilyn Clark, “but what Marquette has is more access to funding, more access to sophisticated business people, and between the two communities I think we can really leverage the economy.”

Innovate Marquette SmartZone CEO Ray Johnson added that the conversation will continue on Tuesday with Entrepreneurs on Tap.