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Posted on Thu, Jan 21, 2010 : 5:55 a.m.

Michigan and entrepreneurial success: Choose to be a part of the solution

By Freelance Journalist

Vita Merlotti Image 178.JPG

Vita Merlotti

I returned to Michigan in 2008 after roughly a decade in New York and the good fortune to work in a number of cities around the world. Having completed the first half of my career in Detroit, it was time to return home.

Certainly, there was common surprise from colleagues and friends alike - Why return to Michigan? “…It’s a dying state, talent is leaving, there’s no innovative spirit or talent to lead the way through a competitive turnaround …” For a brief moment I began to believe they were right.

The Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurs (ACE) 2009 was my first glimpse into the amazing entrepreneurial community that exists in Michigan, and the reality that innovation, entrepreneurial success, and business growth are a part of the fabric of this state, with business creation and job growth a daily occurrence.

Although it may not rival the dominance of the auto industry just yet, success in Michigan is far more consistent than the news headlines suggest. The entrepreneurial and investments communities are alive and well in Michigan. And they are leading the way in a number of growth industries in the world.

I offer a challenge to those reading this piece: For those of you that don’t believe in the success of Michigan and its entrepreneurs, join us at ACE ’10 today, Jan. 21, from 4 to 9 p.m. and experience the energy and success firsthand.

For those of you that do believe, please ensure you join us so that we continue to raise the collective knowledge of success both within and outside of the state.

A bit about ACE ’10…
From its origins as a joint meeting between New Enterprise Forum and the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Great Lakes in 2001, ACE has grown into a dynamic, value-packed event that promotes this region's development and commercialization of high-growth potential, innovative, and technology business ventures with national and international potential.

Today, ACE provides networking, deal-making, learning and business pitch opportunities to serial entrepreneurs, new business owners and growing enterprises across the state of Michigan. ACE ‘10 is expected to draw roughly 700 colleagues for an extraordinary night of business development, company showcases and networking.

Visit the ACE ’10 site to register and for more information:

I’ve made Michigan a choice. Being part of the solution is also a choice. The challenge and invitation are open. I hope you’ll join me.

To register,

Cost for the event is $10. To register, go to Vita Merlotti is Communications Chair of ACE ‘10 and is president of Avalon LLC.