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The sixth annual Innovate Michigan! Summit was held on Friday, September 15, 2017 at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing.

Each year, the MSU-EDA University Center for Regional Economic Innovation (REI) organizes the Innovate Michigan! Summit, a conference that brings together economic experts and enthusiasts alike to share, learn, and create unique and innovative approaches to economic development and revitalization in the State of Michigan.

This year's Innovate Michigan! Summit was a half-day event featuring presentations on new economic development tools, models, policies, programs, and practices, along with community-university projects from around the state, and an opportunity for participants to prioritize topics and ideas for future REI activities.

An evening networking reception concluded the day.

  • What: Share, learn, and create innovative ideas for economic development and revitalization in Michigan
  • When: 1:00-7:30pm on Friday, September 15, 2017
  • Where: Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, 219 South Harrison Rd., East Lansing, MI

Summit Recap Video


Rishi Moudgil, Founding Executive Director, GreenLight Fund Detroit

Rishi is the founding executive director of GreenLight Fund Detroit, which launched in 2017. The GreenLight Fund is a venture philanthropy that invests in proven social impact programs for children and families in poverty through a rigorous annual process led by a local cross-sector coalition.

Previously, Rishi was the founder and managing director of the University of Michigan (U-M) Center for Social Impact at the Ross School of Business. There he built multidisciplinary initiatives to effectively deliver social impact through nonprofits, business, public-private partnerships, and social enterprise. He further authored the definition of social impact: a significant, positive change that addresses a pressing social challenge.

Rishi earlier led U-M’s Nonprofit and Public Management Center and ran program at the U-M Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. He has coached, advised, and funded multiple social enterprises and nonprofits, and separately served as a management consultant for multi-billion dollar educational institutions. Rishi also ran the Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest, the first statewide initiative to launch and support start-up businesses. As a social entrepreneur, he founded K-grams Inc., a mentoring program for college and elementary students in southeast Michigan that grew to serve 2,000 children annually.

Rishi has been named an American Express Next Gen fellow with Independent Sector, Chicago Public Education Fund venture philanthropy fellow, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Grand Angel. As a filmmaker, he has led storytelling projects across multiple media that leverage social action and inclusive voices. He earned his BBA, MBA, and MA in education all from U-M.


Time Session Description Room
12:30–1:00pm   Registration Riverside
1:00–1:20pm   Welcome: Prabu David, Ph.D. (Dean, MSU Communication Arts and Sciences) Riverside
1:20–2:00pm   Keynote: Rishi Moudgil (Executive Director, GreenLight Fund Detroit) Riverside
2:00–2:30pm   Ideas to Innovations Riverside
2:45–3:25pm I Women Who Weld in Detroit (CI) 104A
2:45–3:25pm I Social Entrepreneurship in Legacy Cities (CLP) 104B
2:45–3:25pm I The Impacts of Dark Stores (SLFG) 103B
3:35–4:15pm II Triple-Bottom-Line Companies (CI) 104A
3:35–4:15pm II The Fledge: Sustainable Practices for a Successful Incubator (CLP) 104B
3:35–4:15pm II Redevelopment of the Fairlane Town Center (SLFG) 103B
4:25–5:00pm III Public Infrastructure and Economic Development (CLP) 104A
4:25–5:00pm III Ecotourism in the Upper Peninsula (SLFG) 104B
4:25–5:00pm III Innovative Ideas in Traditional Small Towns (CLP) 103B
5:00–6:00pm Inventor Expo Round Table Discussions (Meet the Experts on business, finance, marketing, funding, HR, legal services etc.) Big Ten A
6:00–7:30pm   Networking Reception Centennial