MVCA Award Recognizes the MGCS’s Pioneering Role in Building Michigan’s Entrepreneurial and Investment Community

By Claudia Capos, Guest Editor

The Michigan Growth Capital Symposium was presented with the inaugural Community Impact Award by the Michigan Venture Capital Association at the 2017 MVCA annual awards dinner on November 15 in Detroit.

The new award, unveiled in 2017, recognizes organizations, events and individuals who create meaningful, effective connections needed to build Michigan’s entrepreneurial economy.

“The MGCS has been at the core of connecting Michigan’s entrepreneurial and investment community since 1980, and has been instrumental as part of a research institution in connecting early-stage companies with investors and startup talent,” says MVCA Associate Director Emily Heintz. “It was a very easy choice to select the MGCS as the recipient of the first Community Impact Award.”

“Mary Nickson and I are honored by the selection of the MGCS for this award,” says University of Michigan Finance Professor David Brophy, the Symposium’s founder and director. “It means so much more coming as a vote from people in the business who recognize the formative role the Symposium has played, and still plays, to provide service for our market to help build it.”

Today the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium attracts investors from all parts of the U.S. and engages them with innovators and entrepreneurs in Michigan and the Midwest, serving as a funding bridge for regional growth companies to financial centers on both coasts. Started in 1979, the Symposium was the first venture capital market intervention of its kind, and its core model has been emulated throughout the U.S. and the world.

“The MGCS continues to be the entrepreneurial beacon of Michigan and the indispensable base upon which our entrepreneurial market rests,” Brophy remarks. “We were the first university to do this, and it is now a global phenomenon.”

The 2017 awards dinner also celebrated another important milestone: the MVCA’s 15th anniversary.

“In the last 15 years, we’ve seen a tremendous uptick in the entrepreneurial and investment community in Michigan,” says Heintz. “The MVCA is focused on ensuring that growth continues in the future.”

During that 15-year time period, she reports, there has been:

    • A 200 percent increase in the number of startup companies receiving venture capital investment
    • A 150 percent increase in the amount of capital invested in local startups
    • A 300 percent increase in the number of venture capital firms
    • A 700 percent increase in capital under management

“We have a strong combination of research, talent, ideas and community partners in our state, so it’s no surprise that the entrepreneurial and investment community has experienced a tremendous upward trajectory,” Heintz. “We expect that overall trend to continue. Michigan is well-positioned to take on future challenges, to continue its economic growth and to become a spotlight for the entrepreneurial and investment community on the national landscape.”

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