Welcome Millie, our new Director of Startups and STEM Talent

 Millie Chu

Global Detroit is happy to announce our newest staff member, Millie Chu. As Director of Startups and STEM Talent, Millie will be leading the Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence (Global EIR) initiative to enhance the talent pool of startup founders, attract dynamic startups to the region, accelerate the growth and job creation of immigrant-founded startups in the region, and build a global region that attracts talent, investment, and interest from international students, immigrant talent, and investors. (We are eager to provide more detail  about this program–made possible through a generous grant from the William Davidson Foundation–and the opportunities and benefits it creates for our region in the coming weeks).

Millie is an immigrant who arrived in the United States from China when she was four years old. Her parents did not have much more than the clothes on their backs and a few dollars in their pockets. They arrived with three little children living in the slums of New York City before moving to Michigan four years later. Within seven years of their arrival in the U.S., Mille’s parents had worked so hard and saved enough money to start their own restaurant businesses. “At eleven years old, I began my journey learning about business through my parents’ aspirations” Millie recalls. “Since my parents spoke broken English, not many could understand them. They brought me along to meetings with attorneys, accountants, contractors and vendors to help them translate.”

“Millie Chu embodies that can-do spirit that I have found so common among many immigrants. She is a dynamic and enthusiastic advocate for entrepreneurs and economic innovation. It was clear from her resume and interview that she is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that projects in which she is involved will succeed”, notes Steve Tobocman, Executive Director, of Global Detroit.

Millie comes to Global Detroit with a background in entrepreneurship consulting, higher education, and executive training. She creates entrepreneurship infrastructures and is an architect of entrepreneurship and mentorship programs for public and private organizations in the United States and across the globe. Millie holds a second position as Faculty Affiliate for the University of Michigan’s William Davidson Institute where she supports the development of entrepreneurship ecosystems and sustainable livelihood solutions for the Middle East. She is also the Founder of the social enterprise, A2 LEAP, having donated countless hours of service focused on entrepreneurial and executive education helping organizations, entrepreneurs, and leadership professionals build their potential.

Before joining the Global Detroit team, Millie worked as a Business Consultant for the Michigan SBDC, a nonprofit organization where she assisted entrepreneurs in starting small businesses and implemented solutions for sustainability. In addition, Millie has been a higher education teacher for over 10 years and  developed curriculum for students locally and internationally. She has revised and provided instruction on nearly 500 business plans and funding packages for students and entrepreneurs.

Throughout her career, Millie has aided over 400 organizations in business planning and development and assisted in  the launch of over 65 startups. She is known as a mentor and complex problem solver helping organizations discover and implement solutions to disentangle their greatest challenges. Millie holds a Masters in Business Administration in Management, a Bachelors in Religious Education, a Bachelors in Business Administration and is a Certified Small Business Consultant.

Millie joined the Global Detroit team because helping the international community is a part of her life mission. She walked alongside her parents, immigrants from China who arrived with little to no resources yet built their first business in the United States. Through this initial engagement, it ignited her expedition to empower, educate, create, and help others live a life of fulfillment.

We already are experiencing the benefits and drive that Millie brings to Global Detroit and are eager to help  international students and immigrant founders launch their startups in Southeast Michigan through our Global EIR program.   

By Alistair Kiyingi


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