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Michigan Moves Ideas Through Inclusive Entrepreneurship

In the first keynote of the day at the 2020 Detroit Policy Conference, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II discussed how Michigan can create an environment prime for innovation and ideas. With an emphasis on inclusive entrepreneurship and innovation reaching beyond technology, Gilchrist presented a vision for a Michigan that starts with investing in ideas.

“Michigan has moved people. Michigan has moved goods, services, in a literal sense, through mobility. We can move much more,” Gilchrist said. “What if we make Michigan the place that moves ideas?”

Gilchrist outlined three factors to make that happen: innovation, grit, and entrepreneurship. He emphasized how innovation is not exclusive to technology but can occur in partnerships and in creating space and opportunities to elevate promising ideas. Innovation coupled with Michiganders’ grit and perseverance feeds the evolving culture of entrepreneurship.

This new decade is a critical moment for expanding the understanding of what an entrepreneur is and welcoming more diverse people and ideas.

“Entrepreneurs are people who turn barriers into springboards,” said Gilchrist.

Gilchrist also shared the compelling stories of three individuals who fit that bill – a young mother who turned her passion and ideas into a prominent legal career; a 13-year-old boy taking incentive to improve his community by repairing potholes; and a tradesman who is using his career to empower others to pursue the training for fulfilling careers with FCA US LLC.

Finally, the lieutenant governor shared the state’s plan to foster the development and strength of Michigan through:

  • Investing in educations for Michiganders of all ages.
  • Closing the skills gap through programs like Michigan Reconnect.
  • Investing in the environment by protecting the state’s natural resources.
  • Improving infrastructure to better connect communities.

Thank you to DTE Foundation for sponsoring this keynote session.