Discovering and applying new and innovative economic development tools, models, policies, and programs
Creating Jobs and Wealth in Distressed Michigan Communities

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The fourth annual Innovate Michigan! Summit was held on Thursday, September 10, 2015 at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing.


Nailah Ellis-Brown, Founder, Ellis Island Tea

  • Entrepreneur of the Year, Making It In Michigan Conference, MSU Product Center (11/2014)
  • Spirit of Detroit Award, Detroit City Council (4/2014)
  • Achiever's Award, Detroit Black Women's Expo (10/2014)
  • 40 Under 40 Award, SooDetroit Magazine, (9/2014)
  • FrontPage Detroit FP40 Award, Michigan FrontPage Newspaper (10/2012)

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Promotional Video


Time Session Description Room
8:30–9:00am   Registration Big Ten C Lobby
9:00–9:20am   Welcome: Rex LaMore, Ph.D. (REI), Ray Hammerschmidt, Ph.D. (MSU Extension Interim Director) Big Ten C
9:30–10:10am I Blight Elimination in Muskegon Heights 103B
9:30–10:10am I An Impact Assessment Study of the Health and Economic Costs of Pollution in Southwest Detroit 104A
9:30–10:10am I Policies and Practices to Support Triple Bottom Line Business Development 104B
10:10–10:20am   Networking Break  
10:20–11:00am II Afterhouse, Part III 103A
10:20–11:00am II Mutual Funds for Community Improvement: Southtown Neighborhood, Grand Rapids 103B
10:20–11:00am II P3 - Pathways from Prison to Prosperity: A Framework for Training Ex-Offenders to be Entrepreneurs in Legacy Cities 104A
10:20–11:00am II Publicly-Operated Telework Facilities: An Economic Development Opportunity for Michigan's Rural and Tourism-Oriented Communities 104B
11:00–11:10am   Networking Break  
11:10am–11:50am III A Profile of Family Businesses in The Great Lakes Bay Region 103A
11:10am–11:50am III The Impact of Employer Commitment vs. Workforce Development Training Programs in Michigan 103B
11:10am–11:50am III An Assessment of the Effects of Mountain Biking in Marquette and on Michigan's Ecotourism Economy 104A
11:10am–11:50am III Veterans Coming Home and Making Good 104B
11:10am–11:50am III Generative Net Zero Energy (NZE) Infrastructure in Detroit Heritage
12:00–12:30pm Lunch Lunch Big Ten C
12:30–1:30pm Lunch Best of Show Panel: Hear from Past Co-Learning Project Leaders (Where are they in their progress?) Big Ten C
1:40–2:40pm Lunch Rate the Innovative Ideas: Rex LaMore and Jennifer Bruen (REI) Big Ten C
2:40–2:50pm   Networking Break  
3:00–3:45pm Keynote Nailah Ellis-Brown (Founder of Ellis Island Tropical Tea) Auditorium
3:45–4:30pm Expo Michigan Inventors Coalition Expo Lincoln
4:30–6:00pm   Networking Reception Red Cedar

REI Network Co-Implementation Space: Open All Day in the Heritage Room! Engage in dialogues with presenters and work towards implementing Co-Learning Projects

Supporters and participating organizations

City of Grand Rapids East Michigan Council of Governments Michigan Municipal League Michigan State University Michigan Suburbs Alliance Public Policy Associates Incorporated SWMPC (Southwest Michigan Planning Commission) Tri-County Regional Planning Commission Vet-Portunity. Veteran Enterprise & Job Forum WMRPC
Corporation for a Skilled Workforce Crystal Mountain Detroit Training Center The Engineering Society of Detroit. Founded in 1895. Henry Ford Health System Lawrence Tech. Possible is everything. Michigan Economic Developers Association Michigan State Housing Development Authority NEMCOG Northern Michigan University Prima Civitas Foundation Red Ink Flint, Local 432 St. Clair County, Michigan EDA Starting Now LLC. Sustainability Consulting, Research & Education.
Sustainable Research Group Michigan's University Research Corridor. Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Wayne State University.
Berghorn Group Michigan State University Broad College of Business, Institute for Entrepreneurship Connect Michigan U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration Madonna University Michigan Tech Mt. Elliott Makerspace MSU Business Connect Northern Initiatives. Prosperity. That's Our Business. Saginaw Valley State University Southeast Michigan Council of Governments Studio[Ci] Michigan State University, University Outreach and Engagement Washtenaw Community College West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission