UM Zell Lurie Institute Awards $34,500 in Grants

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The University of Michigan central campus.

The University of Michigan central campus.

ANN ARBOR — The Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business today announced the recipients of the Fall 2011 Dare to Dream grant program and TechArb tenancy.

Dare to Dream awarded funding totaling $34,500 based on business concepts and feasibility studies submitted to panels of judges.

Ann Arbor Spark also provides scholarship awards to selected integration companies to attend Spark’s Entrepreneur Boot Camp to help further the chances of entrepreneurial success. Eligible boot camp graduating companies receive up to $5,000 in business consulting.

The student accelerator TechArb also welcomed eight new tenants.

Together, the programs encourage the thoughtful development of student-led businesses and provide real-world experience with venture creation activities.

“Dare to Dream and TechArb embody our commitment to action-based learning that helps students develop the entrepreneurial skills necessary to graduate not only with a degree, but also with the experience to launch their own business, join a startup or innovate within a corporate environment,” said Tom Kinnear, executive director of the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. “These programs provide the funding, support, and access that build on the business fundamentals these students learn in the classroom. I’m continually impressed with promise of this year’s recipients and expect to see a lot more of them in the future — at the Michigan Business Challenge competition, Michigan Growth Capital Symposium and well beyond.”

The Dare to Dream program, a hallmark of the Zell Lurie Institute, distributes up to $100,000 per academic year to University of Michigan students. Grants are administered in three funding levels that build upon one another. These start with venture shaping grants of $500 for students with a promising business idea, followed by assessment grants of $1,500 where students conduct a feasibility study, and integration grants of up to $10,000 to complete a full business plan and develop an investor pitch. Grants awarded in October 2011, include:

Integration Grant Awards — up to $10,000 each
* EVo Hair ($2,000) — B-to-B wholesale hair extension supplier
* SecureHealing ($10,000)  – privacy monitoring and reporting across healthcare software systems
* Thru.im ($5,000) — live chat that increases brand equity through IM and text conversation

Assessment Grants — $1,500 each
* AddressMe — automatically updated electronic address book application
* Conspire — “dating” service to match individuals seeking collaborators and companies seeking managers
* Dean Adam — Web-based retailer of high-end men’s grooming and personal care items
* DIIME — R&D company designing low cost medical devices in collaboration with developing country clinicians
* IFM Database — software plug-in for facility management service providers
* Knuron —  knowledge sharing platform connecting students, employers and advertisers
* Real Good Food — platform coordinating homemade food exchanges and collaborative cooking and dining events
* Vault Health Solutions — platform to enable healthcare providers greater access to patients’ medical histories

Venture Shaping Grants ($500 each)
* Don’t Weed Me — connects tutors to students
* DrupalAI — a high-end intelligent recommender system as a Drupal module
* eRent — online system for landlords that handles rent collection and accounting
* EVStation — addressing more widespread availability of electric vehicle charging stations
* FinAsk — online platform connecting financial advisors to those seeking financial advice
* Medicron — system that tracks nation-wide health data in real time across Tanzania, improving communication, healthcare delivery, and monitoring of clinical needs
* MyInfluence — solving limited offline interactions of online social networking tool users
* Smart Peru — all-inclusive Peruvian Web site
* Stoowards — rewards system connecting college students with local merchants
* Thrively — online tool for employee feedback and self-development
* Torch Hybrid Boat Co. — designs and manufactures boats with hybrid engines

As for Tech Arb, in October, eight student teams were awarded tenancy in TechArb in conjunction with the Dare to Dream grant program. Teams who will move in this November include: EVStation, FinAsk, IFM Database, SynapTech (licensing agreements and technical support for a patent-pending platform neural interfacing technology), Team Fit (platform that allows dieters to maintain motivation and accountability in their weight loss goals), Thrively, and YouTrivia (platform that allows anyone to create and share trivia games)

The next application cycle for Dare to Dream Grants and TechArb tenancy will be January 2012. For application materials, please see www.zli.bus.umich.edu or www.techarb.org.

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