Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium 2015 (#UES2015) Coming to Detroit on October 23

Event brings business innovators, academics and community leaders together to solve urban problems using for-profit business solutions


Detroit, Mich. –Aug. 20, 2015 –The Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative (urbanei.org) will hold its annual Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium on Oct. 23 in Detroit. The second annual event, with academic co-sponsors the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University, brings together business innovators, academics, students and community and government leaders to inspire and ignite for-profit business solutions to urban challenges.

“Urban entrepreneurship isn’t a social program, it’s business innovation that produces needed products and services for urban communities, or makes a significant number of jobs available to urban residents,” W. David Tarver, founder and president of the Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative and the chief event organizer, said.

The inaugural Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium was held last year on the campus of the University of Michigan to a capacity crowd of nearly 300 attendees. The event is moving to Detroit this year to attract an even broader audience.

“Detroit is fertile ground for implementing urban business solutions, whether through new app-based technologies that allow for rapid change or a twist on traditional services that meet urban needs in transportation, healthcare, fresh food or other aspects of day-to day living and quality of life enhancements,”  Tarver said. “In moving the event to Detroit, we retain our academic and student audience while inviting a broader range of businesses at various stages of development to participate and engage.”

Tarver, an entrepreneur who holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan, also lectures in U-M’s Center for Entrepreneurship. In 1983, at age 30, he launched Telecom Analysis Systems, Inc., a telecommunications instrumentation business, and sold it in 1995 for $30 million. Working as group president for the company’s buyer, Tarver then spearheaded development of a telecommunications group with a market value of more than $2 billion. He left that business in 1999 to devote more time to family and community service.

“Creating an urban-focused business requires the entrepreneur to focus first on the problem that needs to be solved, and then to use business and technical innovation to deliver the solution. It requires strong commitment, creativity and deep, effective community engagement,” Tarver said.

Symposium attendees will receive information and tools to assist in creating scalable, profit-making businesses that address important urban community needs. Agenda highlights:

  • A panel of experienced business founders will discuss creation of disruptive urban-focused businesses
  • An urban “problem-mining” session will address significant problems that cry out for innovative business solutions
  • A discussion of business models that support the hiring of low-to-medium skill level urban workers
  • A luncheon panel will explore the university’s role in urban innovation and business development
  • Information/problem-solving sessions on financing urban startups, technology, community engagement and more

Details on the Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium

  • When: Friday, Oct. 23, 2015; 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (with reception and networking immediately following until 8 p.m.)
  • Where: College for Creative Studies, A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education; 6400 Cass Avenue, Detroit 48202
  • Cost: tickets are $50 ($75 after 10/16) and include a continental breakfast and lunch
  • Registration; advance registration is required; purchase tickets online at urbanei.org
  • Sponsors: For sponsorship information, please call Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative at (313) 457-2050 or email info@urbanei.org.
  • Event questions: for general questions about the event, please email info@urbanei.org.


About the Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative

The Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative, founded by W. David Tarver, a technology entrepreneur, Michigan native and author of “Proving Ground: A Memoir, offers programming and resources that encourage, facilitate and enable the development of for-profit businesses that explicitly and intentionally address the needs of urban communities and large metropolitan areas. Learn more here.