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Congresswoman Debbie Dingell

Representing the 12th District of Michigan

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Dingell Meets with Entrepreneurs, Highlights Innovative Local Businesses on Startup Day Across America

August 1, 2017
Press Release

ANN ARBOR, MI – Today, as part of Startup Day Across America, U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) visited local entrepreneurs at Ann Arbor SPARK and took a walking tour of local startup companies to showcase the innovation and job creation taking place in the district. Startup Day is a bipartisan effort to raise awareness about the important role startup companies play in our economy by providing local entrepreneurs with an opportunity to educate their representatives about challenges they are facing.

“Fast growing startup companies are not unique to places like Silicon Valley,” Dingell said. “Across the country, in areas from health care to renewable energy to education, startups are revolutionizing the way we solve problems and Southeast Michigan is leading the way. The entrepreneurs I met with today are not only creating innovative new products and services, they’re creating jobs and contributing to the local economy. In fact, 63 percent of the companies working with Ann Arbor SPARK are hiring in 2017. Southeast Michigan is a hub for these emerging companies, and I’m committed to working with our entrepreneurs, Ann Arbor SPARK and our world-class colleges and universities to ensure we have an environment where startup companies can grow and thrive.”

“The SPARK Central Innovation Center was designed to put startups in the heart of our vibrant downtown where they can attract the resources and investment they need to grow, while accessing expert services and support,” said Paul Krutko president and CEO. “Startups have an incredible impact on our economy; it’s exciting to see them committed to the Ann Arbor region from the time they plant roots to when they’ve evolved in to established businesses and are finding and hiring key employees and infusing capital in their businesses here. Startup Day is an opportunity to celebrate the role these companies play in our economic success.”

Dingell kicked off the day with local entrepreneurs at the SPARK Central Innovation Center, which provides business space, services and support to help entrepreneurs launch and develop innovation-based technology. With reduced overhead costs, entrepreneurs can put more money back into growing their business.

Following the visit to SPARK, Dingell was joined by Vice President Bill Mayer for a walking tour of local startup companies. Dingell visited Workit Health, a company that created the world’s first online addiction care program, and met with co-founder and CEO Lisa McLaughlin. Dingell also visited SkySpecs, where co-founders Danny Ellis and Tom Brady are developing drone technologies that are transforming the way wind, energy and other enterprises inspect and maintain critical infrastructure. 

"The SkySpecs team was honored to host Congresswoman Dingell at our offices to celebrate Startup Day 2017,” said Danny Ellis of SkySpecs. “Providing local entrepreneurs the opportunity to educate and interact with their representatives is a cause of which we are proud to be a part. Debbie has been and continues to be an influential supporter of SkySpecs' mission to bring automated technology to the renewable energy industry, and we are indebted to her for lending her voice both to our company and to important technological innovation across the state of Michigan.”

"Workit was honored to welcome Congresswoman Debbie Dingell to our office,” said Lisa McLaughlin. “We are thrilled to have a representative as passionate about combatting addiction as we are. Workit Health looks forward to collaborating with Congresswoman Dingell in the future.”

Startups add enormous value to local and national economies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, firms less than one year old created 1.7 million jobs or 60% of total employment growth in 2015. More than half these jobs were from firms with fewer than 10 employees. These start-up companies are involved in a variety of industries, including technology, retail, healthcare, entertainment, consulting, and education.

In Congress, Dingell is working to create a better climate for startups to get off the ground and grow, including investing in infrastructure, research and development and STEM education, and ensuring sustainable and usable capital is accessible to entrepreneurs.