08/31/2021

Spotlight: Founder’s Retreat 2021 – Reignition

Back Row Left to Right: Dug Song, Marianna Poisera, Kathleen Craig, Rich Chang, Guy Suter, Kabir Maiga, Bhushan Kulkarni; Front Row Left to Right: Ashley M. Williams, Dr. Susan Shore, Kai Cui, Nydia Cardenas, Jen Baird, Andy Fowler

Fellowship for Community

The best part about the tech ecosystem is the people. The entrepreneurs with whom you will spend hours in backyards and co-working spaces drinking your weight in coffee and sharing ideas. These are the builders tackling the problems all communities will face in the future and they will succeed because they understand that the knowledge and power to do so, comes from the bridges they are building, not just their ability to code or invent.

Last week, we had the enormous pleasure of experiencing this kind of fellowship with 12 founders during the inaugural A2EF Founder’s Retreat held at a private location on Lake Michigan. From Aug 18-20, business leaders stepped away from their overwhelming professional and personal schedules to immerse themselves into meaningful exchange with their peers across industries and backgrounds. Laptops were left at home. Cell phones were rarely seen. Open and vulnerable conversations were the norm.

Photos of Founders Retreat participants enjoying fellowship and reignition

The theme for this year’s retreat was Re-ignition. Emphasis was placed on identifying where and how energy is amassed and expended and the founders helped each other understand these inputs and outputs through generative knowledge and listening practices. The goal of our retreats is simple: learn from each other by sharing experiences and networks, build meaningful relationships and become invested in each other’s success. In the venture game, when one founder/company succeeds it has a multiplier effect across the ecosystem. And success doesn’t happen alone or in a vacuum.

From sunrise yoga on the beach to donut boat rides on the water, dinner downtown and late night campfires, a group of diverse leaders created a close-knit support network to lean-on as they build their companies.

We are thrilled to offer our Founders Retreat annually. In 2021, our all-inclusive retreat welcomed A2EF Pledged Members who have made commitments to uplift their respective Michigan communities and founder referrals. In 2022 and moving forward, a new cohort of founders will be invited to participate in this unique, one-of-a-kind experience designed specifically for high-growth startups based in Michigan. We will also open this opportunity to a limited number of founders through an application process next spring. If you would like to become part of the A2EF Founder Network or receive notifications for next year’s retreat, please contact: community@a2ef.org.

Photos of founders attending the Founders Retreat 2021. Interested in attending next year's retreat? Contact community@a2ef.org