Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan, frequently deemed one of the best universities in the world, so you might safely assume it’s a city full of geeks.
Geek culture, however, transcends the basic campus community of students and faculty. Instead, Ann Arbor’s geek culture encompasses a thriving, grassroots tech community, full of technologists, entrepreneurs, and startup pioneers who are redefining the way that Michigan does business. TechBrewery, a co-working space that much of the local tech crowd calls home, aims to do just that: provide a cooperative, non-traditional environment in which entrepreneurs can get the ball rolling.
“It takes a community to raise and support a tech economy,” said Ann Arbor-based entrepreneur and TechBrewery founder Dug Song. “Create enough companies and jobs will be there.”
Song partnered with Northern Brewery building owner Doug Smith in 2009 to create an innovative and supportive environment in which startups could thrive. TechBrewery, a direct result of the team effort between Song and Smith, currently offers tenants shared desks for $75 per month, dedicated desks for $225 per month, or multiple dedicated desks starting at $200 per month.
Today, TechBrewery serves as an important segment of Ann Arbor’s highly interconnected geek community, along with organizations like a2geeks, Ignite Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire, and A2 New Tech Meetup. TechBrewery itself has moved roughly 50 startups through their space, many of whom have remained in the Ann Arbor area to contribute to the city’s ever-growing tech economy.
Check out our case study on TechBrewery for a closer look at their story, and advice on how to build a similar model in your own community!
Samantha Audia, Michigan Municipal League Intern
Samantha joined the Michigan Municipal League team as an intern this winter, and will graduate from the University of Michigan in the spring with a degree in Political Science and International Studies. Previously, she has worked with several political non-profits in the Washington, D.C. area, and contributed to an array of publications. Samantha calls Garden City home but currently resides in Ann Arbor, and she looks forward to blogging for the League throughout the winter.