SE Michigan To Host World's Largest Business Plan Competition

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The Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan, the new region-wide network for building and retaining new business in the Detroit area, has announced the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, an international business plan competition designed to highlight Michigan as a robust and vibrant venue for innovation and business opportunity.

The New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan has granted Ann Arbor Spark $750,000 to launch the competition on behalf  of the Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan, composed of four of the region’s key business accelerators — Ann Arbor Spark, Automation Alley, the Macomb-OU INCubator and TechTown.

Joining the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition as partners are the University Research Corridor, the joint promotion effort of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, and Business Leaders for Michigan, the statewide successor to Detroit Renaissance.

Slated to be the world’s largest business plan competition with more than $1 million in cash awards, plus in-kind awards of services, staffing and software, the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition targets early stage businesses with proven technology and potential to generate an immediate impact on Michigan’s economy, as well as student concepts with longer-term business viability. 

The business plan competition is open to entrepreneurs in Michigan and worldwide who are willing to establish a business in the state. Participants will submit entries in nine categories including advanced materials, advanced transportation, alternative energy, homeland security and defense, information technology, life science, medical devices, next generation manufacturing and products and services.  A separate track designed specifically for students to submit business concepts is open to any undergraduate or graduate student attending a Michigan university or college in fall 2010.

The competition kicks off Aug. 24 and will end with a gala awards brunch in Ann Arbor Dec. 11. The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition concludes with the University of Michigan vs. Michigan State University “Big Chill” hockey game at Michigan stadium and includes a pre-game tailgate party for all judges and participants. 

“The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition highlights Michigan as the destination for innovation,” said David Egner, executive director of the New Economy Initiative. “As the first of many projects of the Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan, the competition will help to accelerate the transition of our region to an innovation-based economy.”

Added Ann Arbor Spark president and CEO Michael Finney: “The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition provides second stage entrepreneurs with the opportunity to showcase their ideas and grow their companies in a region where new business thrives due to the unique resources available. We also hope to reach the large number of talented Michigan university and college students and encourage them to submit their homegrown ideas to build upon Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

For more information about the Accelerate Michigan Innovation competition, visit www.acceleratemichigan.org, or connect with the competition via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

(c) 2010, WWJ Newsradio 950. All rights reserved.

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