Innovation Week

Husky Innovate hosts Innovation Week each year, which includes innovation and entrepreneurship presentations and panel talks that are open to Michigan Tech students, faculty, alumni, and the larger community. Hear from entrepreneurs and innovators from a variety of backgrounds. Innovation Week aims to educate, inspire, and encourage those leading innovations.

This year, Innovation Week will be held the week of January 16, 2023.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Leading Innovation with Charles Nwatu

Tuesday, January 17, 2023, from 4:00-5:00 pm, Zoom

Charles Nwatu will kick off our Innovation Week lineup with his talk entitled "Leading Innovation."  Dr. Wayne Gersie, Inaugural Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion will provide the introduction and framing during MLK week.  Charles will talk about how diversity leads to innovation and share his intrapreneurial experiences and his exciting career that is the result of embracing the entrepreneurial mindset. The entrepreneurial mindset is all about reframing and initiative.

Charles Nwatu has made a successful career out of embracing an entrepreneurial mindset and diverse perspectives.  Nwatu’s secret is “making a career of building things that weren’t there.”  His presentation will discuss his impactful career focused on developing company infrastructure to protect customer data.  Leading with solutions requires understanding the challenges facing key stakeholders.  Communication, collaboration, and empathy are key to moving creative innovative solutions forward.  Find out about how Nwatu has made an impact through his Silicon Valley career at LinkedIn, Twilio, Stitch Fix, and now Netflix, as he shares his tips for success.

This program/lecture is partially funded/sponsored by the Visiting Professor Program which is funded by a grant to the Office of the Provost from the State of Michigan's King-Chavez-Parks Initiative.

NEW VENTURE CREATION: Featuring Eric Roberts

Wednesday, January 18, 2023, from 12:00-1:00 pm, MUB Ballroom A

Eric Roberts joins Husky Innovate to talk entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship - launching new initiatives within or without an existing company. Roberts is a Michigan Tech alum and Executive Director of Traverse City business incubator 20Fathoms, and has spent a long and diverse career innovating in spaces from Silicon Valley tech startups to mobile giants like Motorola and Blackberry. Eric will share experiences with launching new ventures both successful and unsuccessful, and tips and strategies for all types of innovators.


Thursday, January 19, 2023, from 12:00-1:00 pm, Zoom

Nate Yenor, Director of Tech Business Incubation with the Office of Innovation and Commercialization at Michigan Tech and will report about their applied research top teams who are poised to launch their innovation into a startup. Teams may be looking for talent, champions, and industry-specific advice during this reverse pitch event.

Innovators, entrepreneurs, and Michigan Tech community members interested in what’s new and innovative at Tech will find this presentation interesting. Join us to make connections and support our innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition

Thursday, January 19, 2023, from 5:00-7:30 pm, MUB Ballroom A

Recognizing 15 years of the Bob Mark pitch competition legacy, Husky Innovate collaborators, Pavlis Honors College, College of Business, and the Office of Innovation and Commercialization, invite Michigan Tech graduate and undergraduate students from across campus disciplines to pitch their business model to a panel of judges for a chance to win cash prizes.

Our panel of judges represent our innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) ecosystem.  Their expertise will  provide helpful feedback for students to move their ideas forward.

This legacy event recognizes student entrepreneurial spirit and is a tribute to the late Professor of Practice, Bob Mark, within the College of Business.  Faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the community are invited to attend in-person or virtually.  Refreshments will be served.  The pre-event mixer will begin at 4:30 pm.

Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition prize categories:  

    • First Prize:  $2,000
      • Sponsored by Rick and Jo Berquist
    • Second Prize:  $1,000
    • Third Prize:  $500
    • Honorable Mention: $250
    • Audience Favorite: $250
      • Sponsored by Dan Green, Michigan Tech Alum and Principal at the BlackFin Group
    • Breakthrough Innovation Award: $1,000
      • Sponsored by the MTEC SmartZone and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
    • Social Impact Award: $1,000
      • Sponsored by Dr. Elham Asgari, Gates Professor, CoB


Friday, January 20, 2023, from 12:00-1:00 pm, Zoom

Join us to hear what investors look for when deciding whether or not to fund your new venture.  Experts will share real-world experiences that provide insight into how investment decisions are made.  This is helpful for anyone interested in commercializing their venture or investors who want to hone their skills.

Panelists include Tech alumni, John Rockwell, the CEO and President Accelergy Corporation, and Jeff Helminski, the co-founder and Managing Partner for Auxo Investment Partners.  Both John and Jeff have had successful careers as venture capitalists and will share their insight into venture financing.

Keep an eye out for additional programming. For more information, please email

Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer that provides equal opportunity for all, including protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.