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Join our members and celebrate the accomplishments of the outstanding startup entrepreneurs being recognized by New Enterprise Forum.
This award recognizes an individual who has made a huge positive impact by devoting their time and energy to building a robust startup community in our region and who has directly and indirectly fostered the growth of numerous entrepreneurs. This year, the NEF Startup Community Champion award goes to Dug Song.
Dug Song is co-founder of the Song Foundation, and co-founder & former CEO of Duo Security, Michigan’s first tech unicorn and multi-billion dollar venture-backed acquisition. Dug won the NEF Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2019. As a founder and funder, Dug is a champion for growing community wealth - economic, social, cultural, and environmental - to build a more just and inclusive future for all.
Dug is heavily involved in the global startup community and fostering entrepreneurship in Michigan, as an active investor, advisor, and board member. He is co-founder of the Michigan Founders Fund, helping entrepreneurs turn business success into positive community impact, and serves on the boards of the Detroit Regional Chamber, and the US Department of Commerce’s National Advisory Council for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, with a focus on racial justice and economic equity.
In 2020, Dug and his wife started the Song Foundation to invest in the innovative people and organizations improving the quality of life for all in Southeast Michigan. Song also serves on the executive board of Wallace House, home of the Knight-Wallace Fellowships for journalists, and on the advisory board of Venture for America in Detroit.
Our NEF Rising Star of the Year Award recognizes a startup founder who is in the early growth stage, but has already demonstrated significant traction and is making a name for themselves in the Michigan entrepreneurial community. The winner this year is Darren Riley, Co-Founder and CEO of JustAir Solutions.
Darren was in his mid-twenties when he developed asthma after living in Southwest Detroit, one of the most polluted communities in the country. A Carnegie Mellon University graduate originally from Houston, TX, Darren is a skilled coder and serial entrepreneur with deep relationships in environmental justice communities. Darren’s skills and passion sparked him to co-found JustAir to help people across the country breathe cleaner, safer air.
The NEF Entrepreneur of the Year Award is given to an individual who is not only changing the world in a good way through their entrepreneurial accomplishments, but is also inspiring others with their vision, leadership and achievements. The 2023 winner is Edwin Olson, Co-Founder and CEO of May Mobility.
May Mobility is an Ann Arbor, Michigan based startup that is transforming cities using self-driving shuttles. May Mobility uses its industry-leading autonomy technology to deploy AV fleets in cities and rural environments in the US and Japan, helping to create a safer, greener, and more accessible world. Edwin Olson earned a PhD from MIT in 2008 in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, and is on leave from the University of Michigan, where he is a Professor of Computer Science.
Dr. Olson has worked on autonomous vehicles for over a decade, including work on the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge and vehicles for Ford and Toyota Research Institute. He was awarded a DARPA Young Faculty Award and named one of Popular Science’s “Brilliant 10, In 2019, he was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” in the Michigan and Northwest Ohio region by Ernst and Young. In 2023, Ed was recognized by Crain’s Business as a ’Notable Leader in Energy.
From among the entrepreneurs who were coached by NEF and delivered a Showcase Presentation at a Forum in 2023, we will recognize the best performers in three categories:
Join us to find out who the winners are!
Joosebox is a hand-held dry herb consumption device designed for the for the modern, health-conscious cannabis user. It will offer a unique, patent-pending multi-heater system that allows the user to consume dry herb cannabis and oil cartridges within one device. Joosebox is also much healthier and more discreet to use than other methods, and consumes less dry herb per session.
Robbie Mosingo is a Senior Product Design Engineer from Saline, Michigan. He obtained his undergraduate degree at Lawrence Technological University, where he specialized in product and architectural design. With over two decades of industry experience with such giants as Ford, Toyota, and GM, Robbie has secured 15 design and utility patents for both mechanical and aesthetic innovations that are now prominent in the automotive market.
Come join us in person to enjoy food, drink, and conversation with members of the local startup community.
Portions of this meeting will also be available for viewing online via Zoom. For remote viewing, select an Online Ticket when registering via Eventbrite once the link becomes available.