U-M Entrepreneurship Symposium Not Just for MBAs Anymore


When Entrepalooza — a symposium highlighting entrepreneurship and venture capital leaders — first launched at the University of Michigan in 2001, the event largely drew an audience of community members and business students. This year, event organizers predict they’ll see nearly 500 attendees with entrepreneurial interests from across campus and with varying backgrounds.

“There has been an explosion of interest in entrepreneurship among Michigan’s students as well as among the number of entrepreneurial-themed clubs that have been launched,” says Marybeth Davis, the event’s manager. She attributes the growth to organizations, such as Ann Arbor SPARK and MiQuest, offering more entrepreneurial-themed events.

This year’s event on Sept. 12 is open to students, alumni, faculty, and members of the broader business community. It has shifted from its business-school centric focus to one that is more multidisciplinary. In addition to the Zell Lurie Institute and Ross’ Entrepreneur and Venture Club, sponsors now include the Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovate Blue, the School of Information, and Ann Arbor SPARK.

“By bringing together students from business, engineering, law, information sciences, medicine, and other areas of study — all of these aspects, the technology, legally establishing a business, identifying target markets, understanding the funding and management of a business — are all elements that together make for a strong business venture,” Davis says.

The keynote address will be delivered by Rob Pelinka, a U-M graduate and founder and CEO of Landmark Sports Agency, which has represented pro basketball players Kobe Bryant and James Harden. Pelinka will speak about his business endeavors and share anecdotal advice with the motivated entrepreneurs in the audience.

Other leaders in the local entrepreneurial and venture capital community will lead panels and presentations, discussing topics including innovation in corporations and pathways to entrepreneurship.

Confirmed speakers include Tyler Paxton, founder of Are You A Human; Andrew Bank, co-founder of Larky and Techstreet; Doug Cass, co-founder of Kahootz Toys and Giddy Up; Paul Schrems, co-founder and director of product development at TurtleCell; Danny Ellis, co-founder and CEO of SkySpecs; and Cavan Canavan, co-founder of Focus.

The event is sponsored by the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

To learn more about the event of to register, visit epalooza.bus.umich.edu.