Press Release

Annual Great Lakes International Innovation Summit Announces
2018 Date and Location: October 11 and 12 in Milwaukee


DeKalb, Illinois – October 2, 2017. As the 2017 Great Lakes International Innovation Summit adjourned last week, next year’s date and location for this annual event were announced: October 11 and 12 in Milwaukee WI. These summits are where managers of business incubators and accelerators from five states and Canada convene to learn best practices and next practices for fostering startups, innovation and job creation.


This year’s event, held in Grand Rapids MI, was co-produced by the Illinois Business Innovation Association, the Michigan Business Innovation Association and the Wisconsin Business Innovation Association. Next year’s event will be as well. Each of those associations offers resources, support and programs for the incubators, accelerators and other innovation hubs in their respective states.


During the September 26-28, 2017 event, innovation hub managers convened for two and a half days to hear speakers and panels dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship. With a theme of Innovation Happens Everywhere, topics included:

  • Innovations in Raising Capital: VC, Angel and Crowd Funding

  • Honing the Pitch: Helping Startups Avoid Investor Pitch Mistakes and Perfecting the
    12-Slide/15-Minute Pitch

  • Cross-Border Collaborations for U.S. and Canadian Startups Wanting to Expand and/or Market Across the Border

  • Going Corporate: How to Navigate Complex Ecosystems and Successfully Engage Corporate Venture Units

  • Innovative Trends in Innovation Hub Management

  • New Trends in Midwestern Incubation: Food, AgTech and Veterans-Based Innovation Centers

  • Creating an Incubator‘s Physical Environment and Culture to Inspire

  • Innovations in Bootstrapping Your Innovation Hub Marketing Program

  • How to Manage a Student Entrepreneurship Program at Your Incubator

  • Helping Startups Manage Their Intellectual Property


The keynote speaker this year was John DeGraff, a Certified Professional Innovator who for the last ten years has led innovation, entrepreneurship and growth education and consulting programs. He is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Partner at the Innovatrium Innovation Institution in Ann Arbor MI. Between consulting engagements with dozens of Fortune 100 and other nameplate companies, he has taught in executive education programs at Notre Dame, the University of Dayton and University of Michigan.

For more information, visit the summit’s website at



Carol Abrahamson, Executive Director of the Illinois Business Innovation Association, (815) 787-8909.


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We make every effort to create accurate, up-to-date, leading-edge information but have no liability for anything that doesn't meet that standard.

Carol Abrahamson

Founder & Executive Director

Carol at CarolAbrahamson dot-com


2500 North Annie Glidden Rd, Suite F

DeKalb, IL 60115​​