The New Enterprise Forum (NEF) is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Launched in 1985, the Ann Arbor group provides mentoring for budding entrepreneurs, gives startup companies a venue to pitch their business ideas and encourages business networking.
Tom Porter, venture capitalist and startup veteran, as well as Executive in Residence at the Zell Lurie Institute, formed the NEF and has played an instrumental role in its genesis. According to AnnArbor.com:
“Porter said he started NEF because interest in entrepreneurial activity was high but resources were few.
‘The environmental ecosystem in Michigan was in its infancy,’ he [Tom Porter] said in an e-mail. ‘Were an entrepreneur to have a great idea, there weren’t places to go to find investors, to network, to try out the idea with others, to find mentoring, service providers, advice, etc.’
‘It was very difficult to start, let alone fund an early-stage company at that time and we felt that we needed a more robust ecosystem in which startup companies could access the help and funding that they need.’
Porter and fellow Ann Arbor startup veteran Dick Sarns will receive NEF’s Lifetime Achievement award at the anniversary event.”
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