Grow with Google is sponsoring a one-day training conference for entrepreneurs and those looking to own or grow a business at the Mike Ilitch School of Business.

The 2019 Entrepreneur and Small Business Conference: Power Up Your Business will take place on Oct. 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will allow attendees to receive networking opportunities, digital marketing training and breakout sessions, according to the event’s page. 

Former Wayne State student, Tommey Walker will be the keynote speaker for the opening ceremony. Walker is the founder of Detroit vs. Everybody, a clothing company, and now owns six storefront locations, according to this website.  

This conference is the second hosted by the National Entrepreneurs Association, but is the first one on WSU’s campus, ZaLonya Allen, president of National Entrepreneurs Association, said.

Mike Ilitch School of Business Associate Dean for Strategy and Planning Bertie Greer said one of the conference’s benefits is networking.

“The keynote speaker is Paul Glantz and (he) also sits on our board of visitors. So, we have a wonderful relationship with Paul, and it’s an opportunity to meet very successful, gritty entrepreneurs who have built their businesses from the bottom up,” Greer said.

Glantz is the CEO of metro Detroit’s Emagine Theaters and will be receiving the National Entrepreneurs Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, according to the NEA website.

Glantz is a WSU alumnus and will deliver a keynote speech during the conference's closing ceremony. He said he enjoys being a businessman.

“I like the idea of having some control over my own destiny. I think my business has become an embodiment of my values,” Glantz said.

He said working hard and demonstrating integrity is key to being successful in the business world.

One of the reasons the NEA partnered with the Mike Ilitch School of Business was because of the entrepreneurship certificates, designed by the business school, and existing opportunities provided for students.

“(NEA) came to us and were looking for a space; every year they rent a space to do this conference. This year because one of their members is also a (WSU) MBA student, there was a connection,” Greer said. 

The NEA began as the Southeastern Michigan Entrepreneurs Association and later expanded nationwide. 

Allen said the association was created because of her search for resources and aid as a businesswoman. 

“SMEA started because I needed to know how to start and grow a business. I didn’t know what I was doing and there weren’t a lot of resources,” Allen said.

Freshman and marketing major Brett Fry said it’s important to see representation of local entrepreneurs at events like this.

“I think it’s important to have local people. You could be inspired by the same stuff and (connect with) local opportunities. Also, it’s important to support local businesses,” Fry said.

Glantz said one must be willing to take risks.

“Success is not a straight upward trajectory,” Glantz said. “You have to be willing to take certain risks (and) have a certain risk tolerance.” 

Goldman Sachs and several small businesses like AccelerateKID will be sponsoring the event.

The conference is open to the public and tickets are $125. Tickets are available to purchase here


Jenna Prestininzi is a contributing writer for The South End, she can be reached at jennap@wayne.edu.

Graphic by Guneet Ghotra. Guneet is the graphic designer for The South End. She can be reached at fz8387@wayne.edu.