The coronavirus pandemic is putting a halt to the Forbes Under 30 summit in October in Detroit, but hundreds of young professionals will work together digitally this month to develop solutions to the challenges the outbreak causes in the city.

The annual summit last year for its first of three years in Detroit attracted nearly 10,000 people from 70 countries to the Masonic Temple along with leading entertainment, sports and business figures. With the 2020 event canceled, Forbes has extended its commitment to Detroit and partnership with principal sponsor Rocket Mortgage through 2022.

"We had to evaluate quickly whether it was safe to bring thousands of people from all over the world to Detroit, and we decided to err on the side of caution," said Randall Lane, Forbes' chief content officer. "There was no dissent, as we all understood this is the time to come together."

That will take shape virtually: The companies are holding a "hackathon" this month starting Friday. For each of three weekends, Detroit business, nonprofit and community leaders will work with young entrepreneurs who applied, mentors and subject-matter experts to invent solutions for various problems: mobility and supply-chain disruption, sustaining small and minority-owned businesses, and increasing Detroiters' access to broadband and technology.

"We're bringing together the brightest and smartest young minds in a different kind of way that kind of tackles the issues that everybody faces right now and coming up with solutions that can be shared with the world," Lane said. With Detroit at the center of that, the city will "be back to its traditional role as an innovation laboratory."

Mentors include such prominent figures as Jay Farner, CEO of Rocket Mortgage parent Quicken Loans Inc.; John Paul Dejoria, founder of Patrón Spirits Co.; Karlie Kloss, model and founder of Kode with Klossy; and Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram.

The Quicken Loans Community Foundation identified local leaders who helped to identify challenges and provide their support to the event.

"I think one of the most exciting things is that we don't know what will come from these conversations or this activation," said Laura Grannemann, the foundation's vice president of strategic investments. "Now was the most important time for us to step up and continue the conversations on the challenges being spoitlighted and the many other conversations that are happening in our society today."

Participants will connect over video conferencing, digital messaging and shared Google documents to collaborate on ideas in the series facilitated by Major League Hacking, a project of Under 30 listers that holds similar invention competitions for students. Forbes will share breakthroughs and contributions on its website each Monday.

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble

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