Innovate Marquette and NMU Co-Sponsor Entrepreneurial Event

The Innovate Marquette SmartZone and Northern Michigan University are co-sponsoring “A Catalyst for Conversation: Driving Entrepreneurship in Northern Michigan” on Friday, Feb. 12. This entrepreneurial event will include a keynote address by Michigan Economic Development Corp. CEO Steve Arwood and a panel discussion featuring experts on startup bootstrapping and business venture scale-up. Gov. Rick Snyder is scheduled to deliver opening remarks via streaming video. The event is scheduled from 1:30-3 p.m. in 1100 Jamrich Hall. Admission is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. To reserve a ticket to attend, go to

Introductions and the keynote address begin at 1:30 p.m., followed by a panel discussion and audience Q&A from 2-3 p.m. Ray Johnson, CEO of the Innovate Marquette SmartZone, will moderate the panel discussion. Participants will address the needs of entrepreneurs and startups. They will also identify the resources and support system available throughout the state for startup ideas and related entrepreneurial ventures being created in university communities in Northern Michigan.

Panel participants include: Chris Rizik, CEO and fund manager, Renaissance Venture Capital Fund; David Ollila, founder and executive director of Invent@NMU; Dr. Jeff Nyquist, tech entrepreneur and Innovate Marquette SmartZone company client; Dr. Megan Frost, tech entrepreneur, Michigan Tech University faculty member and MTEC SmartZone client; and Bob Mahaney, President of the Veridea Group; entrepreneur, angel investor and NMU trustee.

Innovate Marquette is an MEDC-designated SmartZone with a mission to help transform Marquette County and the Upper Peninsula into a world-class entrepreneurial ecosystem supporting technology innovations, creating new tech-based businesses and new jobs. The MEDC’s Entrepreneur & Innovation initiatives establishes Michigan as the place to create and grow a business by providing high-tech start-up companies with access to a variety of critical resources, such as funding and expert counsel, from ideation to maturation. 

For more information about this event go to Innovate Marquette’s Facebook page at: Or visit



Prepared By
Kristi Evans
News Director