Blog post by ELP student Emily Tumminia (Organizational Studies [intended] | Class of 2021)

If you ask most Michigan students interested in entrepreneurship where they want to spend their summer, you will most likely get one of two answers: The East Coast or Silicon Valley. While both of these places are rich in startups and offer several advantages to the budding entrepreneur, don’t be so quick to count out Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor has both amazing opportunities for you to succeed at your summer internship as well as for you to enjoy your summer overall.

The Startup Ecosystem 

One of the many benefits of being in Ann Arbor is being able to be a part of the amazing startup ecosystem. I didn’t realize what was really going on beyond campus until I spent the summer interning in downtown Ann Arbor. From speaking to several local entrepreneurs, I learned that each year, Ann Arbor has had a company exit for around 200 million dollars. This was originally shocking to me, but after a few weeks of being in this city, I quickly learned it should be no surprise. Ann Arbor has an unmatched pool of talent that will continue to create unicorn after unicorn. It has an incredibly dedicated community, with the option to take part in entrepreneurial meetups, startup competitions, incubators, and accelerators. Ann Arbor is quickly emerging as a national tech hub and there is no stopping it.

The Connections

While working in Ann Arbor, not only will you be able to take advantage of the ecosystem around you, but while doing so, you will meet incredible people that you may not have been able to if not in Ann Arbor. The Ann Arbor entrepreneurial community is well connected, and they are always looking for more ways to interact with inspiring entrepreneurs. Throughout my summer, I was able to attend events and conferences where I could interact with local individuals and talk to them about their experiences and successes. This includes attending the Intermitten Conference, a day designed to specifically connect the Midwest entrepreneurial community. While there I was able to listen to Dug Song, April Boyle, Laura Khalil, and Karin Korb, just to name a few. I was also able to participate in A2 Tech Trek, an event where leading tech companies open up their doors for all to stop by. Not only was I able to attend these events, but I was even invited by the founders of the company I was working at to play in their adult softball league. I was able to make connections and bond with successful entrepreneurs not only in an office, but on a softball field as well.

The Endless Things to Do 

Not only does Ann Arbor offer amazing professional and network building opportunities for young students, but it also offers an endless list of things to do on summer days. Throughout the summer, I made it a goal of mine to enjoy Ann Arbor as much as I could. There were so many places and events I was unaware of until I took the time to ask around and do some research. During my internship, I was able to enjoy several parts of the city, ranging from food to flowers. I experienced the Taste of Ann Arbor, an annual event where local restaurants showcase their food, as well as Restaurant Week, where I was able to enjoy a few meals at great restaurants that I never even knew existed. Aside from food, I also took the time to walk through Nichols Arboretum and see the beautiful Peony Garden that only blooms around the middle of June, as well as take a few tubing trips down the Argo Cascades. Finally, during the last week of my internship, I was able to experience the Ann Arbor Art Fair, one of Michigan’s greatest traditions. I enjoyed street performances, several works of art, and once again, amazing food, all right outside my office.

Throughout my 10-week summer internship, several people have asked why I didn’t go home and work somewhere in New York City. While I admit this may have been the easier and obvious choice, I didn’t want to do something because it was simply easier. I wanted to spend the summer in a place that would provide me with great opportunities in both my professional and personal life. After completing my internship, I can honestly say that staying in Ann Arbor was the best decision I could have made. I was not only challenged and inspired on a daily basis at my job, but I was also excited and eager to enjoy Ann Arbor as much as I possibly could.