Michigan’s next promising businesses got a boost Friday in the form of $45,000 in start up funds during Central Michigan University’s New Venture Competition. The competition was held to enrich the economic environment in Michigan and encourage the entrepreneurial spirit among CMU students.

Twenty-four teams presented their business plans to a panel of judges including Michael Finney, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.; Ken Kousky, CEO of MidMichigan Innovation Center; and Jackie Goforth, partner at PricewaterHouseCoopers. After three rounds of competition, the judges picked three finalists.

The first-place team and the winner of $30,000 was HybridPay, comprised of Daniel Pearson of Waterford Township, Tyler Gostinger of Harbor Springs and faculty mentor Jeff Hoyle. HybridPay allows consumers to integrate multiple credit and rewards accounts onto one simple and secure smart phone application.

The second-place team and the winner of $10,000 was SpecRollers LLC,  comprised of Jason and Mick Baird of Rosebush and faculty mentor Chuck Fitzpatrick. SpecRollers uses technology and geographically dispersed manufacturing to establish value-added services to the material handling industry focusing on rollers, pulleys, idlers and gravity conveyors.

The third-place team and the winner of $5,000 was Worldwide Bamboo Plantations, comprised of Benjamin Prentiss of Edmond, Okla., Brandon Evans of Waterford and faculty mentor Concha Neeley. Worldwide Bamboo Plantations focuses on growing and selling bamboo to meet a growing demand for the product which is used in flooring, construction materials, furniture, apparel, medicine, and food.

It also was announced at the awards ceremony that $1.1 million in gifts were awarded to the CMU College of Business Administration.Isabella Bank and Trust presented a gift of $500,000 to be used to create a business development center. In addition, the Richard E. Veazey endowment to be used for scholarships and educations opportunities for CBA students was created thanks to a $600,000 bequest.

More at www.cmich.edu.


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