Ann Arbor Entrepreneurs Fund launches new startup funding opportunity

Thursday, August 6, 2020

The Ann Arbor Entrepreneurs Fund (A2EF), in partnership with the University of Michigan Social Venture Fund (SVF) and A2 Startup Garage, announced the launch of their upcoming A2EF Social Impact Startup Pitch Competition, inviting select startup teams to share their business plan with a panel of expert judges to earn startup capital, co-working space, corporate legal services and mentorship from the A2EF founder community and the SVF team.

“The last several months have been extremely challenging for individuals and businesses, but there is no shortage of entrepreneurs looking for ways to make a difference,” explains Trista Van Tine, A2EF Director. “We have seen startups pivoting their businesses or products specifically to address needs that have arisen as a result of the pandemic, and by doing so, are not only helping their communities, but also seeing increased revenue and company growth. By launching the Social Impact Pitch Competition, we hope to aid entrepreneurs in solving important problems in our region and inspire the next generation of business leaders to build their companies with a culture of community and social impact as the foundation.”

The Ann Arbor Entrepreneurs Fund is a network of entrepreneurs and investors in Washtenaw County who have made a commitment of 1% of company equity, investment carry or annual profits back to the community. As an initiative led from the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, it provides a platform for founder engagement and support in achieving success with their ventures and a simple mechanism for young companies to build a culture of giving back into their business, making it easy for them to support their community. Launched in 2019, with a $1 million gift from the Song Foundation, A2EF already has 18 pledged members.

"We are proud to support the Ann Arbor Entrepreneurs Fund in its mission to align business success with community benefit. Businesses are made stronger by the communities that support them - and we hope that with A2EF's help, every founder can grow a culture of community engagement, service, and giving for their organization," said Dug Song, former Co-founder/CEO of Duo Security and President of the Song Foundation.

Dug Song also serves on the A2EF Steering Committee along with other prominent local leaders Doug Neal, eLab Ventures, Adrian Fortino, Mercury Fund, Bhushan Kulkarni, InfoReady and Jeff Rinvelt, Renaissance Venture Fund. All of whom have made personal giving pledges to the fund.

The A2EF Social Impact Competition takes place on September 24, 2020 as part of the A2Tech360 week-long series of programming hosted by Ann Arbor SPARK. Applications are now open to eligible companies at A2entrepreneursfund.org.

If you are a for-profit startup based in Washtenaw County or the surrounding region that:

● Has a team of at least 2 people

● Can demonstrate a measurable social/community need that is being addressed by your business in Washtenaw or Wayne County

● Can demonstrate commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

● Have a scalable business model with a large addressable market

● And are still at the seed stage or earlier in your venture

Please go to A2entrepreneursfund.org to apply for the chance to pitch your startup during A2Tech360 and secure $20,000 in funding. Applications will be open until 11:59 pm on August 31, 2020. Six finalists will be selected and invited to pitch their business.

Additional benefits to the winner, include:

● 12 months of free co-working space for three people at A2 Startup Garage, which includes access to all of the benefits that A2 Startup Garage offers to its members

● 12 months of mentorship from the University of Michigan Social Venture Fund team

● 12 months of ongoing support and access to the A2EF entrepreneurial network

● 12 months of corporate legal services provided by Bodman PLC

For more information about the unique opportunities available to entrepreneurs through the Ann Arbor Entrepreneurs Fund and how to become a member, please visit A2entrepreneursfund.org where you will see details on upcoming programs and events.

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