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Innovate State: Social Entrepreneurship Edition

December 4, 2019
6:00 pm
-7:30 pm

Innovate State is a collaboration between the Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and the MSU Innovation Center.

Hosted at the Gaynor Entrepreneurship Lab, Innovate State welcomes successful Spartan alumni back to campus for a fireside chat. Guests share their perspectives on everything from launching start-ups to experiencing success and failure to building dynamic and nurturing work cultures.

Josh is the founder of the Detroit-based social streetwear line, York Project. Each item purchased provides living essentials to the homeless of Detroit. York Project launched a cut + sew operation and line in Summer 2018 and now employs women from Detroit homeless shelters as part of its production team. Josh also launched a B2B private label garment manufacturing company called Soft Goods Detroit, whose client list includes Shinola, TJ Maxx Canada, The PGA, Chips Ahoy, Speedo, Funyuns, Planters Peanuts, Vaynermedia, among others.

Josh was a former buyer at Abercrombie & Fitch and also worked for The Boeing Company. He graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Supply Chain Management and a minor in German. Josh was honored as a TEDx speaker in 2017. His company, York Project, also participated in the inaugural 2016 cohort of Conquer Accelerator program.

Find Josh on LinkedIn.

Amanda is an award-winning writer and entrepreneur. She loves to drive change through community. As Co-founder of Bamboo, she builds collaborative workspaces that unite and empower diverse founders and creatives. She is a partner and board member of Venture Catalysts, a 501c3 non-profit leading large scale events. She has a decade of operations and marketing experience but has had the most fun bootstrapping Bamboo from a $5,000 loan to 500+ members and 25,000 sq ft of community space.

Find Amanda on LinkedIn.

Jen has served as Executive Director of the Detroit Food Academy for five years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from Colgate University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Michigan State University, where she was a Michigan Non-Profit Association Scholar. In 2010, she received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to explore the social, economic, and environmental impact of chocolate production on small scale cacao farming communities around the world. Inspired to link young people with farmers close to home, she completed two terms with national service FoodCorps and local organization Food System Economic Partnership (FSEP), connecting cafeterias and classrooms in high needs school districts with local food from Michigan farmers and school gardens. Seeing the need to engage students beyond the school year, Jen co-founded the Detroit Food Academy, bringing food, business, and learning together. As Executive Director, Jen supports our young people and the organization in visioning, strategic planning, partnership expansion, fund development, operations, food systems education, culture-building, program facilitation, and fun captain-ing.

Find Jen on LinkedIn.


December 4, 2019
6:00 pm-7:30 pm
Event Category:


Rm. M025 Business Pavilion
Registration Link


Gaynor Entrepreneurship Lab
651 N Shaw Ln
East Lansing, MI 48824 United States