In April, Ara Topouzian stepped into his new role as executive director at the Michigan Venture Capital Association. He plans to use his experience in economic development to support and attract new members to the MVCA and to foster greater collaboration in the community to promote business growth.
The MVCA is a longstanding partner of the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, which connects Michigan and Midwest startups with venture investors across the country to help attract more capital investment to the state and the region.
In the following Q&A, Topouzian shares why he is excited about his new role at the MVCA, how he will apply his economic-development background and why events like the MGCS are vital to strengthening the entrepreneurial and investment communities in Michigan and the Midwest.
What makes Michigan a great place to launch and grow a business?
I feel we have some of the finest educational institutions in the country that are producing brilliant minds. It’s our job now to show future generations of entrepreneurs that Michigan is the place to stay and build their companies and careers. The state is on a trajectory of growth that has positioned it to be a key player on the global economic scene. The MVCA can play a critical role in building relationships between venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, so they can see the value and potential of remaining and investing in Michigan.
What excites you the most about working with Michigan’s entrepreneurial and investment communities?
There is much to be excited about when you talk about Michigan. I am a lifelong and proud Michigan resident, who appreciates the wealth of resources and opportunities available to us. We have some of the finest talent coming out of our educational institutions. These individuals are creating innovative ideas that affect our lives. This talent needs to stay in Michigan, and we need to nurture it. What excites me about my new role at the MVCA is helping both the investment and entrepreneurial communities realize these goals. Having the ability to help shape and strengthen Michigan’s economy should excite all of us.
Why are events like the Midwest Growth Capital Symposium vital to growing Michigan’s entrepreneurial and investment communities?
Events like the Midwest Growth Capital Symposium are critical to growing Michigan’s entrepreneurial and investment communities for two primary reasons: building relationships between investors and attracting more capital to the state. The event brings together investors from across the country to see the innovative companies that are emerging from Michigan’s research institutions. By doing so, the event helps form strong partnerships that fuel the investment pipeline and create a supportive network for startup companies as they reach their next stages of growth.