It is no exaggeration to say that the past year has been fraught with turbulence. Factors such as political tension, social unrest, and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic have all generated a great deal of uncertainty in all communities, including their economies. Even the Ann Arbor region, which is consistently ranked among the best places in which to live and work in the country, has not been immune to these tribulations, nor has its entrepreneurial ecosystem. As a nonprofit research institution, EntryPoint is dedicated to promoting healthy entrepreneurship in communities like Ann Arbor. Specifically, we are committed to partnering with businesses, investors, and other organizations to deliver research insights that help us all to understand the themes that define our entrepreneurial economy and implement effective programs based upon our findings. Thus, we at EntryPoint offer you this report, which identifies many of the key trends, successes, and challenges that characterize Ann Arbor.
And, our data indicates that, despite the challenges it has faced, Ann Arbor’s high-tech ecosystem is strong and steadfast.
For years, Washtenaw County has been building a strong foundation of resources that enable it to attract and retain the talent necessary to sustain growth, including successful companies like Duo Security and Esperion, investors like Arboretum Ventures, RPM Ventures, and Renaissance Venture Capital, and education and research institutions like the University of Michigan. As a result, Washtenaw County is home to 38% of Michigan’s venture-backed companies, and these high-growth businesses have raised nearly a billion dollars in venture capital funding. And, even though COVID-19 has certainly taken its toll on Ann Arbor’s economy, its high-tech startup companies were much more able to weather the storm than other types of businesses, having suffered less loss and even generating greater gains.
As tough as these times may be, the Ann Arbor area has proven itself to be strong in the face of adversity, due in no small part to its strong sense of community and its high concentration of talented entrepreneurs, investors, and employees. There are still some uncertainties on our horizon, but as long as we keep moving forward together, Ann Arbor will be able to sustain its upward trajectory. Those of us at EntryPoint are excited to continue partnering with you along the way.
Watch this Panel Discussion:
Fostering Innovation and the Growth of Entrepreneurship
The discussion, hosted by EntryPoint, will explore ways the community can better nurture startups (through policy, programs and culture shift), the impact of COVID-19 on the tech community, how we can build a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem, significant events that have shaped the startup community in the Ann Arbor region and advice for people thinking about starting their own companies.
This conversation stems from EntryPoint’s 2020 Ann Arbor Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Report.
Support for EntryPoint’s 2020 Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Report was generously provided by Ann Arbor Entrepreneurs Fund, Bamboo, Build Institute, Cahoots, Endeavor, ID Ventures, Inforum, Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss, P.C., Marketing Supply Company, Michigan’s University Research Corridor, Michigan Venture Capital Association, purpose.jobs, Renaissance Venture Capital, Shine & Rise, Techstars and Wagner Design.
- Check out the EntryPoint Data and Program Development Guide to learn more about utilizing research insights to implement effective data-driven programs that support entrepreneurs and small businesses
- Spreadsheet of Ann Arbor-area Black-owned businesses!
- Read the 2020 Detroit Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Report
- Read other recent research on the Midwest entrepreneurial ecosystem
- If you are a tech company in Ann Arbor – add your company to this page!
EntryPoint is a research institution that aims to promote entrepreneurship across the Midwest. The organization believes that the best research takes a holistic approach to data acquisition and analysis, and as such, seeks to build meaningful partnerships with corporations, community foundations, entrepreneurial support organizations, and other groups. Working in tandem with these partners, EntryPoint develops comprehensive research reports that deliver insights on strengths and challenges facing companies, communities, and the broader region. Research findings are used to design and implement effective programs to promote entrepreneurship by fostering an inclusive culture, expanding networks, and facilitating education and advocacy. EntryPoint is a registered 501(c)(3) organization.