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Can Michigan get its entrepreneurial mojo back?

Oct 29, 2014

Credit Duo Security / Flickr

What will it take for Michigan to be an entrepreneurial powerhouse again?

That question will be explored Friday morning at a special town hall meeting hosted by the University of Michigan School of Engineering and Michigan Radio. It’s called "Finding Michigan’s Mojo."

Panelist Jeff DeGraff is a clinical professor of business administration at the U of M Ross School of Business. He’s also creator of the Innovatrium. 

Panelist Dug Song is founder of the Ann Arbor-based Duo Security.

DeGraff compares Michigan of the 1920s through the late 1950s to today's Silicon Valley because of radical changes in manufacturing processes. But DeGraff  says after the late 1950s, Michigan became wedded to the auto industry and everything essentially become the same.

DeGraff says that three things are necessary for innovation to occur, including an availability of capital, competency, and an innovative culture.

Dug Song says he realized Ann Arbor was a great place to start a business because Michigan had a lot of the things he liked about other places, including the San Francisco Bay area and Austin, Texas. He says Michiganders have an “unparalleled work ethic." Song also cites the loyalty of Michigan workers: Of 70 engineers he hired when he started his business, only three have left in its seven years of operation.

*Listen the full  interview above.