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Accelerate Michigan emphasizes diversity in new economy

Expect to hear the word diversity at this year’s Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition.

Lauren Bigelow, executive director of the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, says this year's keynote speaker (former Microsoft CIO Tony Scott) came to event organizers saying he wanted to speak about getting more diversity in the tech community and making it more inclusive.

"That really resonates in Detroit," Bigelow says.

Making the local new economy more inclusive isn’t just limited to Metro Detroit's traditional racial lines. Bigelow adds that it also means making it more welcoming to women, immigrants and businesses that aren't normally considered tech-oriented.

"That's the only way we can move Metro Detroit forward," Bigelow says. "We need the region as a whole. That means everybody. Not just educated white males."

The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, a business plan competition, is an annual event that offers $1 million in prizes, including a top price of $500,000. The winners are tech startups that are either based in Michigan or looking to move to the Great Lakes State. Organizers boast that the competing teams also get access to executives, investors and local resources that the competition attracts.

The competition, now in its fourth year, moved to downtown Detroit last year. It will be held Nov. 12-14, primarily at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel. For information, click here.

Source: Lauren Bigelow, executive director of the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
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