Huge thanks to Winter 2023 Urban Entrepreneur Partners!

The course I teach at University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Urban Entrepreneurship Practicum, relies heavily on our “Urban Entrepreneur Partners.” Each of these entrepreneurs is operating a business that aims to improve the quality of life in an urban community. We rely on our Urban Entrepreneur Partners to acquaint the students with their business venture and connect the student teams to their respective communities. The Urban Entrepreneur Partners provided important context, advice, and contacts for the teams, and the teams were free to research, propose, and validate improvements to the Partner’s business model. As always, we encouraged the students to “think big,” apply innovation and technology, and propose changes that could result in “game-changing” business improvements.

Students inspect electric VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) vehicle at Partner business Airspace Experience Technologies (ASX).

This semester, we had nearly 40 students in the class, divided into 8 teams. This means we needed to have eight Urban Entrepreneur Partner businesses – one for each student team. We were fortunate to have an interesting and diverse mix of businesses this time around. We greatly appreciate the time and energy our Urban Entrepreneur Partners dedicated to working with our students. Their participation makes the course a truly valuable and realistic learning experience.

Fall 2022 Urban Entrepreneur Partners

8-Lane Management, Ann Arbor, Mich – Professional Track and Field League (North American Track and Field League). (
Lauretta Codrington and Joseph Codrington, Co-Founders

Airspace Experience Technologies, Detroit, MI – Design and manufacturing of modular electronic vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft for defense, emergency response, cargo, and passengers. (
Jon Rimanelli, CEO

Kornr Store, Detroit, MI – A neighborhood marketplace. (
Brinda Devine, Owner

LearnFresh, Philadelphia, PA – A nonprofit organization that inspires students’ STEM learning through experiences that leverage the power of sports and entertainment. (
Nick Monzi, CEO and Co-Founder

Riley’s Way, Detroit, MI – Riley’s Way is a company dedicated to building self-esteem, self-love, and self-acceptance of natural hair, as well as a community connection and empowerment for young black girls. (
Crystal Dowe, Owner/CEO

SpaceLab Detroit, SpaceLab Detroit is a shared office and coworking space for designers, creators, builders, and urban innovators. (
Karen Burton, Co-Founder, CEO

Strawberry Solar, Detroit, MI – Solar photovoltaic installation contractor. (
Seger Weisberg, Sales Manager

W. T. Stevens Construction, Inc., a minority and female owned specialty contractor focusing on underground utilities, waterline replacements, and demolition. (
Rhonda Grayer, CEO

We had several great classroom guests this semester, including Conrad Mallett, current City of Detroit Corporation Counsel, former Michigan Supreme Court chief justice.

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