From Oct. 27-30, young entrepreneurs will be honored at the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Detroit.
Featured image courtesy of Forbes 30 Under 30
Just over 100 years ago, the first issue was published of a new magazine focused on American business called Forbes. In recent years, the company has expanded its content and events to focus on young entrepreneurs, which were highlighted in an annual issue and an Under 30 Summit. Detroit expat Mike Posner has been a headline performer.
The 2019 event brought the franchise Under 30 Summit to Detroit for a three-year run. About 200 speakers are planned for thousands of attendees, as well as a private music festival, industry-focused programming track and a food festival.
“Detroit is a city on the move and a shining example of what can happen when entrepreneurs, investors venture capitalists, elected officials, students and entertainers come together to address challenges, create partnerships and jointly reimagine a city’s role on the world stage,” said Randall Lane, chief content officer of Forbes and founder of the Under 30 Summit. “For six years, our Under 30 Summits have celebrated the people who are changing our world for the better, and we are proud to help focus the world’s attention on Detroit and its leaders who are demonstrating how entrepreneurial capitalism is a force for good.”
Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans is this year’s presenting sponsor.
Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert spoke about the impact of this event coming to Detroit at a February 2019 news conference that featured Randall Lane of Forbes, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Detroit Mayor Mike Dugan.
“As Dan Gilbert likes to say, Detroit is the intersection of muscle and brains,” remarked Quicken Loans CEO Jay Farner to the JN. “The Under 30 Summit is a perfect encapsulation of the drive that powers the Motor City, and Dan worked tirelessly to bring the event here to our hometown. We look forward to seeing what we can accomplish with Forbes over the next three years, as well as the thousands of young innovators who will see firsthand exactly what Dan means.”
The agenda and attendee list includes several individuals connected to the Jewish Detroit community who spoke to the Jewish News in advance of their attendance. Two of the noted speakers are Josh Luber and Greg Schwartz, co-founders of StockX alongside Dan Gilbert.
“Nearly four years ago, StockX launched with just six employees — today, our company is valued at more than $1 billion and we have more than 900 full and part-time team members, 500 based here in Detroit,” said Schwartz, StockX COO. “As a leader in the e-commerce industry, we want people to understand how much Detroit has to offer and appreciate the light Forbes is shining on the fact that you don’t need a Silicon Valley zip code to launch a fast-growing, impact-driven tech company.”
Alex Fenkell, co-founder of SmileDirectClub, which became a publicly traded company this summer, is scheduled to serve on a retail panel alongside Harry’s co-founder Jeff Raider and FIGS founder Heather Hasson. He said he planned to discuss his story as an entrepreneur building a successful direct-to-consumer company. His business, founded alongside fellow Detroit expat Jordan Katzman, is now valued above $4 billion.
Another featured speaker is Daniel Sillman, CEO of Relevent Sports Group. Sillman grew up in the Detroit area. His projects include leading the largest privately owned soccer company in North America, which operates the International Champions Cup (ICC), the summer’s premiere international club tournament. The tournament has sold 5 million tickets and attracts more than 100 million viewers annually.
“It is an honor to be speaking at such a prestigious event in my hometown, and to have the opportunity to share some of what I have learned during my career, Sillman said. “I will be participating in the Founders Forum, speaking alongside other Forbes Under 30 winners. We will talk about our experiences in business, including best practices and other pieces of advice we have collected in leadership roles.
“Attracting a major event like the Under 30 Summit is the result of the hard work of so many who together have brought Detroit back, including Dan Gilbert, the Illitch family and many others. In addition to the economic impact, this event is invaluable publicity for a city that is not only on the way back but is primed to regain its rightful place as one of the premiere cities in this country”.
The record-breaking crowds Sillman’s firm has attracted to Michigan Stadium for International Champions Cup matches show him just how passionate fans in Michigan are about soccer. His company views Detroit as a key growth market. “We are always looking for opportunities to host world-class matches in the region.”
Stephanie Steinberg, Detroit Writing Room CEO and managing editor of SEEN Magazine, was also featured on a panel, “The Write Stuff: Standing Out In a Crowd” on Oct. 27, offering resume and cover letter tips and branding recommendations. She and the Detroit Writing Room team will be offering complimentary resume and writing tips with fellow Detroit Writing Room coaches on Monday and Tuesday for attendees.
Sara Smoler, a native of the Detroit suburbs, was highlighted in the Under 30 Forbes issue for her work in business development at Ogilvy. Now an MBA at Columbia Business School in New York City, Smoler said she is excited to return home for the conference and is looking forward to the salons that Forbes will be introducing this year as a way to network with others featured in the Under 30 community.
“Specifically, I think being able to connect with and learn from like-minded peers, in industries that I both have experience and am interested in such as marketing and advertising — will be a highlight.”
By hosting a few friends in Detroit, Smoler is hoping to personally re-define their thoughts of Detroit while exposing them to the interesting and growing entrepreneurial scene that’s helping to contribute to Detroit’s revitalization.
“It’s a time to help re-shape the perceptions that young working professionals have about the city”.