Ann Arbor SPARK has announced its annual a2Tech360, which promotes the Ann Arbor region as one of innovation, will be delivered virtually this year.
Offering more than a week of tech-related events, a2Tech360 is designed to connect entrepreneurs, researchers, investors, businesses, educational institutes, nonprofits, job seekers, and the general public. It will take place from Sept. 18-26.
“In light of public health guidelines around COVID-19, Ann Arbor SPARK and its partners determined the safest way to achieve the mission of a2Tech360 was to deliver the events virtually this year,” says Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK. “We know that now more than ever, it’s important to bring the community together to talk about, evaluate, and brainstorm around our future economic success.”
The event will kick off with the FastTrack Awards on Friday, Sept. 18, which recognize local companies for consistently high business growth.
The Michigan Angel Summit will take place on Monday, Sept. 21 and offer an opportunity to learn about angel investing and connect with angels.
The day also will begin Invest360, which showcases leading companies in southeast Michigan from early stage companies to top investors. The event is embedded in the programming of the Michigan Angel Summit, Mobility Summit, and Tech on the Edge.
During each of the three Invest360-embedded programs in health care, mobility, and information technology, one company will be chosen by a panel of judges to receive $50,000. The three companies will then pitch virtually the morning of Friday, Sept. 25. A people’s choice vote will select one of the three companies that will receive an additional $50,000.
On Tuesday, Sept. 22, the Ann Arbor SPARK Annual Meeting will offer business, government, and academic leaders an opportunity to hear about the successes of the region over the past year. It will also include the annual board chair awards as well as a preview of new projects and initiatives for the coming year.
On the same day, 2030: What the Future Holds will host global thought leaders who will discuss trends and products in health care, Internet of Things, augmented and virtual reality, mobility, and other industries with a foothold in the region. The Celebrate Invention event will also take place on Sept. 22 and honor University of Michigan inventors and their accomplishments.
On Wednesday, Sept. 23, the Mobility Summit will bring together industry, government, academics, and others to discuss future mobility including autonomous mobility and smart city technologies. It will work to encourage participation and collaboration in the mobility ecosystem in Ann Arbor.
A2:AI, the first conference of its kind in the Ann Arbor area, will take place the same day and focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence in business. This year’s event will be the second.
Also back for its second year is Women in Tech, in which speakers will discuss their experiences navigating the tech industry and propelling their careers. It will address gender bias, pay inequality, and overcoming adversity.
On Thursday, Sept. 24, Tech on Edge will showcase growing biotech businesses in the region. The Ann Arbor Entrepreneurs Fund Social Impact Pitch Competition will allow startups to pitch their social impact business ideas for a chance to win seed funding, co-working space, and mentoring. This event is scheduled to be held in-person at Censys in downtown Ann Arbor.
New this year is a performance by the University Musical Society, which is celebrating its 141st season.
On Friday, Sept. 25, Tech Talk will feature TED-style talks by leading innovators. Tech Trek will also take place on Sept. 25 and will connect the community to innovation-based businesses in the region.
The event will wrap up on Saturday, Sept. 26 with a virtual Hero Nation Comic Con.
a2Tech360 started in 2018 as an extension of Ann Arbor SPARK’s Tech Trek event as a way to deliver broader programming to spotlight the region’s innovative people and businesses. It is sponsored by the Michigan SmartZone/Local Development Finance Authority, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and media sponsor Russell Video.
More information on the event is available here.