Entrepreneurship programs from across the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor will come together to host the annual Entrepalooza symposium on Friday, Sept. 21 at the Michigan League. This year’s event will highlight food entrepreneurship, giving attendees the opportunity to learn directly from successful founders through hands-on workshops and a showcase fair.
The event will kick off with a keynote address from Ari Weinzweig, co-founder of Zingerman’s, a group of gourmet food businesses headquartered in Ann Arbor. In 1982, Weinzweig, along with his partner, Paul Saginaw, founded Zingerman’s Delicatessen with a $20,000 bank loan.
Today, the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses is a collection of 10 companies with more than 750 employees and $55 million-plus in annual revenue. Weinzweig regularly speaks to organizations and businesses about Zingerman’s approach to business.
Following Weinzweig’s keynote, numerous food entrepreneurs will lead a series of workshops on launching and growing food product and service businesses with positive culture, food impact and sustainability, investing in food and agriculture, and innovating beyond startup.
The entrepreneurs will include:
- Eric Ersher, founder and CEO of Zoup!, who will lead a workshop on positive corporate culture
- Bob McClure, co-founder of McClure’s Pickles, who will lead a workshop on innovating beyond the startup phase
- Aaron Desatnik, senior associate at Ceres Partners, who will represent food/agriculture investment along with fellow alumni panelists
- Ryan Gourley, director of Tech Arb, who will moderate a panel on sustainability
The event will conclude with a food fair, exhibiting diverse food-related startups, many founded by University of Michigan alumni and students. The first 100 attendees will have the opportunity to meet these founders, learn about their experiences, take in food tech demos, and try product samples.
Hosted by the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, along with campus partners including the Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Engineering, the School of Public Health’s Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship program, TechArb, the student venture accelerator at the University and Innovate Blue, the University’s campus-wide entrepreneurship initiative, Entrepalooza is an annual event that brings entrepreneurial leaders together to share their insights and experiences with students, alumni, faculty, and members of the broader business community.