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Ann Arbor SPARK’s annual a2Tech360 goes virtual for 2020

Ann Arbor SPARK's Annual Meeting at EMU's Student Center.
Ann Arbor SPARK's Annual Meeting at EMU's Student Center. (Ann Arbor SPARK)

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ANN ARBOR, Mich.Ann Arbor SPARK recently announced its popular annual a2Tech360 programming will be delivered virtually this year, September 18-26, 2020.

An Ann Arbor SPARK initiative, a2Tech360 promotes the Ann Arbor region as an area of innovation. Offering more than a week of tech-related events, a2Tech360 creates connections between entrepreneurs, researchers, investors, businesses, educational institutions, nonprofits, job seekers, and the general public to generate discussion, ideas, and new opportunities.

“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,” said Ann Arbor SPARK president and CEO, Paul Krutko. “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.”

a2Tech360 originated in 2018 as an extension of its Ann Arbor SPARK’s Tech Trek event, as a way to deliver broader programming to spotlight the region’s innovative people and businesses.

Here is the a2Tech360 schedule:

Friday, September 18

FastTrack Awards

FastTrack is an exciting annual program sponsored by Ann Arbor SPARK, presented by Northstar Bank, recognizing public or private companies with headquarters based in Washtenaw or Livingston Counties, for consistently high business growth. The FastTrack Awards applications will be reviewed by accounting partner, Rehmann.

Monday September 21

Michigan Angel Summit

This annual statewide summit will allow you the opportunity to learn more about angel investing and to connect with other angels helping to grow and diversify Michigan’s economy while growing their own investment portfolios. The Michigan Angel Summit is presented by Ann Arbor SPARK.

Invest 360

Invest360 brings additional depth to a2Tech360 by showcasing a curated group of leading southeast Michigan, early stage companies to top investors. Presented by Ann Arbor SPARK, Invest360 is embedded in the programming of the Michigan Angel Summit, Mobility Summit, and Tech on the Edge. Invest360 leverages our regional strengths in IT, mobility, and healthcare and provides exposure to those companies to the greater investor community.

During each of the three Invest360 healthcare, mobility, and IT sessions, one company will be chosen, by a panel of judges, to receive a $50,000 check. These three chosen companies will then pitch virtually, the morning of Friday, September 25. A People’s Choice vote will select the foremost Invest360 company who will receive an additional $50,000. Invest360 is sponsored by Level One Bank.

Tuesday, September 22

Ann Arbor SPARK Annual Meeting

The Ann Arbor SPARK Annual Meeting offers business, government, and academic leaders a unique opportunity to hear about successes in the region over the past year. The Ann Arbor SPARK Annual Meeting also includes the annual board chair awards and as well as a preview new projects and initiatives for the coming year.

Ann Arbor SPARK’s annual meeting is sponsored by DTE Foundation, Comcast Business, First Martin Corporation, Bank of Ann Arbor, PNC Bank, Toyota, Yeo & Yeo, Comerica, Consumers Energy, Destination Ann Arbor, ITC Michigan, J.S. Vig Construction, Maurer Management & Properties, Michigan Works! Southeast, NETSCOUT, Rudolph Libbe Group, University of Michigan Credit Union, Russell Video and Wagner Design Associates.

2030: What The Future Holds

At 2030: What the Future Holds, global thought leaders will discuss trends and revolutionary products in healthcare, IoT, AR/VR, mobility, and other driving industries with a foothold in the region. This event is co-presented by Ann Arbor SPARK and the University of Michigan Office of Tech Transfer.

University of Michigan’s Celebrate Invention

This virtual Celebrate Invention event will honor University of Michigan inventors and recognize the accomplishments of our ever-expanding innovation ecosystem. This event is presented by University of Michigan’s Office of Tech Transfer.

Wednesday, September 23

Mobility Summit

The Mobility Summit, presented by Ann Arbor SPARK, brings together industry, government, academics, and others to discuss the future of mobility, with a focus on emerging autonomous mobility and smart city technologies. The summit aims to grow the mobility ecosystem in the Ann Arbor region by fostering participation and encouraging collaboration among attendees. The agenda will include local and national presenters, spotlighting mobility trends.

A2:AI, Ann Arbor’s Applied Artificial Intelligence Conference

A2.AI is the first conference of its kind in the Ann Arbor area, focusing on how machine learning and applied artificial intelligence enable businesses to make more informed and actionable decisions with their data. This year will be the second annual event.

Women In Tech

Back for its second year, Women in Tech speakers will discuss their experiences navigating the tech industry and propelling their careers into thought leaders in the field. The speakers will discuss how to build up career experience, maneuver a room of doubters, and discover your personal success story.

This program, presented by Ann Arbor SPARK and Daysmart Software, positions established or climbing women in the tech field to create effective and warranted disruption to their industry by addressing gender bias, pay inequality, and overcoming adversity.

Thursday, September 24

Tech On The Edge

Tech on the Edge, presented by MI-HQ, this virtual life sciences expo showcases the growing biotech businesses in the region. MI-HQ is a 160,000 sq ft wet lab incubator and cooperative entrepreneurial community.

Ann Arbor Entrepreneurs Fund Social Impact Pitch Competition

Startups will pitch their social impact business ideas for a chance to win seed funding, co-working space, and mentoring. The event, scheduled to be held in-person at Censys in downtown Ann Arbor, is presented by the Ann Arbor Entrepreneurs Fund, which enables local entrepreneurs to turn business success into positive community impact.

Friday, September 25

Tech Talk

Hear from the brilliant minds behind the region’s innovative companies, from origin stories to behind-the-scenes accounts of the fascinating technologies being developed here. Tech Talk features TED-style talks by leading innovators. This event is presented by Ann Arbor SPARK.

New this year, Tech Talk will conclude with the Invest360 finale, where a panel of esteemed experts will hear virtual pitches from the three finalist companies chosen during the Michigan Angel Summit, Mobility Summit, and Tech on the Edge. During the event, a People’s Choice vote will select the foremost Invest360 company who will receive an additional $50,000 prize.

Tech Trek

This year’s Tech Trek will virtually connect the community to innovation-based businesses in the region. From college students to seasoned professionals, Tech Trek offers something for everyone looking to learn from and engage with the region’s world-class tech ecosystem. Crowd-favorite Mobility Row will return to Tech Trek this year with a virtual look at the trends and companies driving in mobility innovation.

Saturday, September 26

Hero Nation Comic Con

Ypsilanti’s own free Hero Nation Comic Con is back this year, virtually! The Hero Nation Comic Con provides attendees the ultimate community-centered, nerd, and pop culture experience.

a2Tech360 is sponsored by the Michigan SmartZone/ Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA), the Michigan Economic Development Corp., and media sponsor Russell Video. For more information about a2Tech360, please visit www.a2Tech360.com.