Despite pandemic, new report shows strong entrepreneurial ecosystem for Ann Arbor tech businesses

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic's economic impact, a recently released report from Ann Arbor research nonprofit EntryPoint shows a strong Ann Arbor entrepreneurial ecosystem.

 

The 2020 Ann Arbor Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Report notes 2019 was a record-breaking year for startup investments in the Ann Arbor area, with 35 high-tech startups attracting more than $198 million from venture capital firms. Emily Heintz, EntryPoint founder and managing director, says that's helped startups through 2020 since they received the capital before the pandemic.

 

"We found a lot of startups that needed to raise capital had finished right before the pandemic," Heintz says. "Luckily, that really is going to play into the ability for these startups to continue operating."

 

The report also illustrates and compares COVID-19's effects on tech startups with other businesses. For example, 94% of all high-growth, high-tech startup companies surveyed in Washtenaw County felt at least somewhat prepared to operate during Michigan's stay-home order. None of these startups felt completely unprepared, compared to 37% of all businesses in the county who felt unprepared.

 

Additionally, 79% of startups that applied for the Paycheck Protection Program reported to have been approved – 5% more compared to all businesses in Washtenaw County.

 

Heintz says many tech startups have an advantage applying for assistance due to their experience seeking funding and providing financial statements to investors. A traditional business may not have the same resources and experience, which makes the application process for a loan or other assistance more difficult.

 

Heintz says the new report and EntryPoint's Washtenaw County COVID-19 Business Report, published in May this year, have been helpful for organizations like the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, Ann Arbor SPARK, the Zell Lurie Institute, city governments, and more to understand how to best support local businesses, especially during the pandemic.

 

"We think it's so critical to have an understanding of small business and startup ecosystems," Heintz says. "These types of ongoing analysis help community organizations understand how to best serve the area, and they can easily create programs to help startups and small businesses in their communities more effectively."

 

Emily Benda is a freelance writer based in Ann Arbor. You can contact her at emily@emilybenda.com.

 

Photos courtesy of EntryPoint.

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