Intermitten could not happen without the financial support of our community, and one organization that has been a steadfast sponsor of every Intermitten event — including when we decided to build a bridge with the Detroit tech ecosystem —is Ann Arbor SPARK.

SPARK propels thought leadership and creative implementation in tech, among other industries. Their services include incubating and accelerating startups, showcasing vibrant Southeast Michigan communities to site selectors, and connecting job seekers with hopeful employers. Intermitten’s and SPARK’s interests in supporting, nurturing, and promoting the Midwest tech community could not be more aligned, and we are so grateful for their commitment.

We asked SPARK to share more about why they’re involved in Intermitten this year. Here’s what they had to share.

What’s your favorite thing about the Michigan startup ecosystem?

It’s really a new and growing environment, which is a perfect time to learn from the wins and mistakes of other tech communities and take steps to do the right thing around diversity, community building, and creative collaboration. We don’t have the problem of “legacy” to have to overcome and re-educate around.

Which Intermitten 18 theme resonates most with SPARK this year?

Community

Why does the Community theme interest you most?

The companies that have decided to take root here are a special group that see Michigan as a viable, long term environment to settle down versus going to the Coasts. We, from policy makers to community support organizations, need to make sure we continue that growth, engagement, and support for these individuals and groups. The community in general also needs to look at ourselves not as closed off competitors but as if we are one big collaboration space — like what WeWork and Bamboo provide but without the physical walls.

What inspired you to get involved in Intermitten?

These conversations around diversity, community, and creative collaboration need to be held together. Other conferences typically focus on one. Intermitten is bringing the relevant, top of mind issues in a format that fosters conversation, thought, and hopefully action.

Is there anything else that you want Intermitten attendees to know?

We need to remember that startups and our view of businesses should not just be regarding tech companies. The problems and challenges we face also affect others — such as the services (e.g. restaurants) and trade (e.g. construction) industries. Have conversations and look at solutions that can traverse industries. Workforce development is a community need, and if we truly want to be a community, we need to development a pipeline made up of community members. Grow the local pipeline and you grow your company and its longevity.

We couldn’t agree more. Join us in the conversation on July 12.