Top Michigan Conferences & Competitions

By Amanda Lewan on November 10th, 2014 / Comments

Working on a startup? Interested in getting involved in Michigan’s growing business community?

Below are a list of ongoing events that many entrepreneurs look forward to each year in Michigan. We aren’t including meetups on this list, only competitions and conferences geared towards innovation and entrepreneurship. Please let us know if you’re event fits this description. We’re happy to add it grow a complete resource for entrepreneurs.


  • Accelerate Michigan. A great event you won’t want to miss. Accelerate Michigan is our largest prize competition in the state. Student entrepreneurs and companies can pitch to receive up to $1 Million in prizes in several different categories. This event happens every year usually in November.
  • ACE Event. This is one of our state’s top entrepreneurial events to attend. It brings together entrepreneurs and investors for a day of learning, networking, and pitching. It’s coming up soon this January. You won’t want to miss it.
  • Entrepreneur-You Business Plan Competition. This competition rewards women business owners in the State of Michigan annually, hosted by Walsh College.
  • Hatch Detroit. Through a combination of panels and community voting, one business can receive a $50,000 prize to open a retail store in the city of Detroit. Don’t miss the annual Hatch Detroit competition in partnership with Comerica Bank.
  • Michigan Growth Symposium. Hosted by the University of Michigan Ross School of Business this symposium brings together investors and entrepreneurs, and features a nice pitch track.
  • Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge. Does your company have a core social mission? This challenge rewards social entrepreneurs annually with a variety of prizes and rewards.
  • MMIC Best Shot Pitch Competition Series.  The Mid-Michigan Innovation Center has been hosting a pitch series at incubators and accelerators across the state. Keep your eye on the next ones.
  • NEIdeas Challenge. This challenge awards grants of $10,000 to small businesses located within the city of Detroit. All you have to do is share your idea for business growth. The first NEIdeas was held in 2014, and will be returning in 2015.
  • Startup Weekend. Startup weekend is hosted across Michigan. You can connect with other entrepreneurs, build an MVP, and maybe even head to the Startup Weekend Global battle like Vision Boards did after winning the Detroit Startup Weekend. Keep an eye out for one near you.


  • Brand Camp Detroit. Bringing together over 300 innovators, investors, and creatives, Brand Camp was a ton of fun to attend this year. There were lots of big startup companies and accelerators present. Past events have featured Alexis Ohanian of Reddit and Nicole Glaros of Tech Stars.
  • Failure Lab. Almost every entrepreneur deals with failure along their journey, and this event brings together artists, entrepreneurs, and successful figures to share how they failed and move past it. This event series was hosted in Grand Rapids and Detroit, and we’ll hopefully see it returning to Michigan for 2014.
  • Mackinac Policy Conference. Every year politicians, CEOs, and founders will head to the Mackinac Policy Conference to learn the latest on issues in the state often spotlighting business development.
  • Making it in Michigan. This food business focused conference is hosted by the Michigan State University Product Center. If you’re working in agriculture and food you must attend this annual conference.
  • MHacks Hackathon. One of the greatest hackathons in Michigan, ever, is coming up again. Make sure you check out this event.
  • NewCo. This conference asks companies new and innovative to open their doors and share their culture with others. It’s a great way to turn the typical conference upside down. Don’t sit inside a room all day, get out here and see innovation in action.
  • Techweek Detroit. This week long celebration of technology also features a two day conference with a mix of local and national leaders sharing the stage. The event features a startup pitch competition as well. Last year was the first Techweek Detroit, and we’ve been told it’s returning in 2015.
  • TedX in Michigan. Inspiring talks on entrepreneurship, design, and other ideas, you’ll find TedX conferences are hosted in cities across Michigan all year long.
  • Women’s Entrepreneur Conference. This annual conference is coming up very soon, November 20th, and features great speakers and an expo.


What are you looking forward to each year in Michigan? Comment below with suggestions for us and we’ll keep it readers updated through this list or on our Michipreneur calendar.

About the Author

Amanda Lewan

Amanda Lewan

Editor @michipreneur. Co-founder Bamboo Detroit. Follow me @Amanda_Jenn. I love telling the story of entrepreneurs and innovators.