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Entrepalooza Symposia
Emerging Industry Symposia

Guest Speakers
Michigan Entrepreneurship Education Network  

Entrepalooza Symposia

Entrepalooza 2005: Define Your Path
Friday, September 23 - Ann Arbor, MI

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The entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive in today's economy and offers many career choices. These range from new venture creation and venture capital financing to intrapreneurship - the application of entrepreneurial leadership within an innovative corporate environment. However, choosing among these entrepreneurship paths can oftentimes be challenging. Entrepalooza 2005 provided audience members with the opportunity to explore entrepreneurship paths in real estate and social enterprise, as well as new venture creation and venture capital financing. The symposium included four panel discussions; three breakout, networking sessions; and two very special keynote speakers.

Keynote Speakers:
Bharat Desai (MBA '81), Co-Founder, President and CEO, Syntel, Inc. who grew Syntel from a Troy, Michigan-based IT staffing company in 1980 to a successful global IT solutions firm with over 4,700 employees. Mr. Desai founded Syntel with his wife Neerja Sethi. At the symposium, Mr. Desai was presented with the 2005 Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Dan Gilbert, Chairman and Founder, Quicken Loans Inc. and majority owner of the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers. Mr. Gilbert grew Quicken Loans to become the nation's largest online retail home lender. Gilbert closed his presentation by inviting audience members to the podium to give a three-minute elevator pitch on their new business venture. Participants included Raj Attal (MBA '06) who recently launched TV Desi, Bob Mazur (MBA '03) the inventor of the Purrfect Opener, and Todd Sullivan (MBA '05) who recently launched Spirit Shop. The prize for the best pitch went to Todd Sullivan who was presented with a LeBron James autographed Jersey .

Panel Discussions: 
The Real Estate Entrepreneur, Social Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital/Private Equity Finance, and Building Successful Ventures.

Symposium Brochure

Entrepalooza 2004: Expanding the Horizons of Entrepreneurship
Friday, September 24 - Ann Arbor, MI

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Entrepalooza 2004 recognized the vast and dynamic evolution of the entrepreneurial industry. There are many business creation opportunities that can be identified from within the corporation, through turnaround management, or in emerging economic conditions that are taking entrepreneurship across borders. In addition, entrepreneurship is playing a critical role in the social sector where it is fast becoming an effective vehicle for tackling daunting social problems. Entrepalooza 2004 provided a tremendous networking opportunity in addition to exposure to the various facets of entrepreneurship. The symposium included four panel discussions; three breakout, networking sessions; and two very special keynote speakers.

Keynote Speakers:
David A. Brandon, Chairman and CEO, Domino's Pizza, Inc. who took Domino's Pizza, Inc. public in July 2004, in what was the largest initial public offering in Quick Service Restaurant history. Also,  Keith Alessi, Chairman and CEO, Lifestyle Improvement Centers LLC., and former Chairman, President and CEO, Jackson Hewitt. Mr. Alessi (MBA 1979) has over 20 years of senior executive experience specializing in "turnaround" situations. At the symposium, Mr. Alessi was presented with the 2004 Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Panel Discussions: 
Entrepreneurial Success in Asia, Social Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital/Private Equity Finance, and Building Successful Ventures.

Agenda and Presenters
Presenter Bios

Entrepalooza 2003: Entrepreneurship in All Its Forms 
September 26, 2003 - Ann Arbor, MI

This special public symposium aimed at bringing entrepreneurship out not only from an economic and tech scene but also from a societal platform. Entrepalooza 2003 provided students, venture capitalists, and business executives with a tremendous networking opportunity in addition to exposure to the various facets of entrepreneurship. 

The symposium featured two outstanding keynote speakers, Samuel Zell, chairman of Equity Group Investments and Richard Snyder, former COO and president of Gateway, Inc. and founder and CEO of Ardesta. Panel discussion topics included corporate entrepreneurship, social enterprise, venture capital, and leading Southeast Michigan technologies. Business School Dean Robert J. Dolan presented Snyder with the Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Read more about Entrepalooza 2003 in the Monroe Street Journal.

Entrepalooza 2002: The Foundation of Future Business
September 13, 2002 - Ann Arbor, Michigan

Michael Jandernoa, chairman of the board of Perrigo Company, kicked off Entrepalooza 2002 by sharing his own success story of the west Michigan pharmaceutical firm and offering lessons applicable to the current entrepreneurial environment. Business School Dean Robert J. Dolan presented Jandernoa with the Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Ravi Mohan, general partner of Battery Ventures, advised venture investors to monitor ever-changing business conditions constantly and to determine whether their current business practices are working or whether they need to modify, adapt, or gain new skills in order to maximize their investment potential. Perseverance, hard work, and treating people right will be key strategies, he added, both for entrepreneurs seeking funding and equity investors looking for good deals, as the industry undergoes a "massive shakeup" over the next few years.

Concurrent panel discussions by entrepreneurs, venture investors, and business executives centered on ways to obtain equity financing for angel, seed-stage, and late-stage companies, strategies for growing a small business, and opportunities offered by franchising or start-up ventures in emerging economies. Despite the sharp decline in fundraising in 2002, the slower pace of investing, and the lengthening time to liquidity, which have lowered once lofty expectations for returns, industry leaders remained upbeat about the long-term prospects for venture capitalism and the opportunities for young people. 

Entrepalooza 2001: The Changing Face of Entrepreneurship
September 15, 2001 - Ann Arbor, Michigan

Entrepalooza 2001 proceeded as scheduled in the wake of September 11th's tragedies and proved a tremendous success. Various panels and keynote speeches delivered the message: entrepreneurship is alive and well!
Michael Callas, MBA2 Symposium Co-Chair, opened the symposium and welcomed more than 450 participants who heard from two industry-leading keynote speakers. University of Michigan Business School Dean Dolan followed Mr. Callas' remarks and awarded Hal Davis the Alumni Entrepreneur Award. Mr. Davis graduated from the UMBS in 1985 and co-founded BlueGill Technologies in 1996. As CEO, he led the project that enabled online bill presentment, which marked BlueGill as one of the most successful Ann Arbor-based start-ups of all time. He sold BlueGill Technologies for $250 million in April 2000. Mr. Davis spoke about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur and when to quit your job and launch a company.

Also joining Mr. Davis was Donna Dubinsky, CEO and co-founder, Handspring, Inc., and former CEO, Palm Computing. Joe Sipher, Vice President of Product Marketing, Handspring, Inc., introduced her to the audience. Mr. Sipher and Ms. Dubinsky were unable to be present in Ann Arbor; however, they joined us via videoconferencing from California. Donna called herself a serial entrepreneur, having more than 20 years of field experience. Donna delivered a very focused address in which she shared lessons learned in three categories: entrepreneurship, business, and personal life.

Panel discussions covered a range of topics, including: Transforming Your Idea Into a Business: Managing the Growth of New Ventures; After the Party: A VC Perspective; Entrepreneurship Via Acquisition; and Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies. The Emerging Economies panel provided PowerPoint slides to share: Croatia; Palestine; and Entrepalooza final.

Emerging Industry Symposia

Each winter, the Institute collaborates with the Office of Technology Transfer to present an Emerging Industry symposium. Past events have featured Microsystems, the Life Sciences, Energy, and MedTech. This annual event attracts 250 - 350 guests comprised of students, business leaders, researchers, academicians, and investors.

The Business Reality of Micro and Nano Technologies
March 31-April 1, 2005 - Ann Arbor, Michigan

Donn Tice, Nano-Tex
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Nano and Micro technologies have the potential to be revolutionary in electronics, healthcare and numerous other fields, but will the business realities live up to the hype that has been gathering steam? This symposium attempted to get behind the hype of Small Tech and into real issues as they relate to Michigan-based companies commercializing product in the field. The symposium explored the economic forces that come into play as these new technologies strive to reach the marketplace.

Nationally regarded analysts and investors led discussion on the forces influencing the marketplace, business models developed by large and small companies as a result of these forces, and the funding alternatives considered by young companies. Keynote speakers shared their visions as to the future of the industry, both in terms of technology and investment opportunity. In addition, guests were able to speak directly with Michigan-based researchers and Small Tech companies during the poster session.

Participant Bios
Poster Session Participants

MedTech: The Business of Medical Devices
March 12, 2004 - Ann Arbor, Michigan

From replacement hips to dialysis machines, tens of millions of Americans are touched by medical devices each and every day. MedTech explored the economic forces that come into play as these new, non-pharmaceutical medical technologies strive to reach the marketplace. Internationally-regarded analyst Thomas J. Gunderson at Piper Jaffray noted that medical devices are increasingly moving into traditional drug markets. Stephen N. Oesterle, MD, senior vice president for medicine and technology at Medtronic, talked about the medical device industry's critical role in providing site-specific controlled delivery systems to patients. 

Panel discussions focused on the forces influencing the marketplace, business models developed by large and small companies as a result of these forces, and the funding alternatives considered by young companies. In addition, guests were able to speak directly with Michigan-based researchers and Medical Device companies during the poster session immediately following the panel discussions. More than 275 entrepreneurs and investors attended the symposium sponsored by the Institute and the Office of Technology Transfer. 

Poster Session Companies / Research Projects

Alternative Energy: Economic Impact and Opportunity
February 14, 2003 - Ann Arbor, Michigan

Speaking to an audience of 325 people at a recent University of Michigan emerging-industry symposium, held February 14 in Ann Arbor, public and private sectors leaders examined the promising business opportunities created by America's pursuit of sustainable alternative energy. "We stand on the cusp of revolutionary change in this country and the world," said opening keynoter Douglas Faulkner, a deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy at the U.S. Department of Energy.

All signs, Faulkner said, point to an energy future based on hydrogen. The government will play a role in funding research and development, but the formidable task of assessing new technology commercial viability and proceeding to the marketplace will rest with the private sector. "In Michigan, these [government research] programs provide golden opportunities for individuals and businesses with vision, determination, and expertise," Faulkner told the assembled Business School students and faculty, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and automotive and electric power company representatives.

Remarks of Douglas Faulkner

The second keynoter, Plug Power Inc. president and CEO Roger B. Saillant, took attendees through a history of the fuel cell industry, from the 1839 discovery of the concept to NASA's 1960s fuel cell breakthroughs and the 1990s hype. Saillant also used the "rule of thirds" to demonstrate why clean energy technologies like fuel cells are so crucial. He said one-third of the world's population lives pretty much like we do in America, one-third exists in abject poverty using virtually no energy, and one-third manages somewhere in between. There simply isn't enough energy for the other two-thirds to live as well as we do, and, besides, the pollution level would be untenable, Saillant said. That's where fuel cells come in. Developing fuel cells as a power source is an interdisciplinary effort, he added. "The three circles -- academics, the government, and industry -- are going to have to come together and overlap in a way they haven't done in the past. 

An investing panel on alternative energy sounded optimistic. Michigan still has a chance to be a center of the growing alternative energy industry, even though most development so far occurs on the West Coast and venture financing is concentrated on both coasts. Two more panels wrapped up the conference. An automotive-dominated panel covered current market adoption of alternative energy technologies, mostly in experimental cars. The last panel looked at how Michigan can take advantage of alternative fuels. 

The Institute, the Energy Club, the Office of Technology Transfer, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation co-hosted the symposium.

Panelist and Agenda
Panelist Bios

Life Sciences: An Industry in Transition
February 8, 2002 - Ann Arbor, Michigan

The wealth of statewide start-ups are quickly producing a concentration of talent, technologies, and capital that has the potential of making Michigan a major center for biomedical discovery and the subsequent conversion of these advances into products that will benefit society. Current market dynamics in the Life Sciences sector, such as culture clash issues between major pharmaceutical companies and tiny biotechnology outfits, provided the subject for the half-day public Life Sciences symposium. The event attracted more than 325 attendees and provided an opportunity for Midwest businesses to learn about biopartnering from industry experts.

"The pharma industry is in crisis," said Dr. Erling Refsum, Equity Analyst for Nomura International. Dr. Refsum developed his opening statement by discussing the current role of pharma as financial, with engineering vehicles failing to deliver new drugs to the marketplace in the biotech industry. Dr. Refsum explained that as pharma patents expire on existing drugs, startups and small biotech firms are increasingly being expected to provide the research and development for new drugs. In addition, small biotech companies often need big pharmaceutical company backing and steady cash flows from established products in order to bring new products to the marketplace. "Biotech alliances are the real solution to the problem," Dr. Refsum said. "Biotech is THE industry for the new millennium which needs knowledgeable people in both science and business to grow the industry."

Lee Shainis, Founder, Intercambio de Comunidades (BBA '99)
On March 16, 2004, Shainis was awarded the Alumni Social Entrepreneur Award in recognition of his entrepreneurial achievements as the founder of Intercambio, which is helping thousands of Latino immigrants to become more self-sufficient and to better the lives of themselves and their families.

Michigan Entrepreneurship Education Network (MEEN)

MEEN began as a partnership between the Zell Lurie Institute and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in 2002. In 2005, the MEEN program transitioned to a permanent home as a program under CyberMichigan. Since its inception, MEEN has conducted a number of outreach initiatives. As part of this effort, MEEN launched a national benchmarking study of "best practices" for Entrepreneurship programs which can be viewed at CyberMichigan.

For further information about Institute events, contact Mary Nickson at 734-615-4424 or

Michigan Business School