LANSING — The Michigan Economic Development Corp. Wednesday announced a new effort to attract entrepreneurial college students from around the country and connect them with the resources they’ll need to create and sustain a successful Michigan business.
LiveWorkLaunch, based on MEDC’s successful LiveWorkDetroit career networking program, will showcase opportunities available in Michigan for graduates looking to build a business, and connect them to the support and capital required to take an innovative business plan from concept to reality.
“Michigan is open for business and looking for grads with great ideas, an entrepreneurial spirit, and the drive to get a start-up off the ground,” said Michael Finney, president and CEO of the MEDC. “With LiveWorkLaunch, we provide an opportunity to find the resources and people to help you reach your goals, create jobs, and grow Michigan’s economy.”
The first LiveWorkLaunch event will take place on Friday, Feb. 22 from noon to 8 p.m. at the Taubman Center, 460 W. Baltimore in downtown Detroit.
Starting with the Detroit event, LiveWorkLaunch will feature a pitch competition for innovation-based entrepreneurs looking for capital. Selected competitors will have the opportunity to present their business ideas in front of a panel of angel investors and venture capitalists. The team or individual with the winning pitch will receive $10,000 to help start their Detroit-based business. MEDC will award a travel stipend to any out-of-state applicants selected for the pitch competition.
Finalists will receive a variety of business-building resources and services such as free incubator space, mentoring from a successful entrepreneur, and consulting services. To receive the $10,000 top prize, the winner must already live in or agree to move to Detroit within the next year.
All pitch competition finalists will be paired with a local mentor with expertise in venture capital or venture-backed startups. All qualified applicants will receive a “Doing It in Detroit Resource Directory” featuring key opportunities and special promotions. Examples of possible resources include discounted legal and consulting services, free business classes, and mentoring.
In addition to the pitch competition, the Feb. 22 LiveWorkLaunch event will include a tour of a successful business incubator in Detroit’s Madison Building. The incubator is home to Detroit Venture Partners, a firm specializing in funding early-stage technology businesses, and Bizdom, a non-profit entrepreneurship accelerator for budding Web and tech-based start-ups. Participants will also take part in a food crawl featuring restaurants owned by local entrepreneurs.
At all LiveWorkLaunch events, MEDC will present information on resources available through the state of Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, including access to mentoring and coaching, legal and accounting services, leads to office space and real estate, free entrepreneurial classes, and exposure to angel investors.
To take part in the LiveWorkLaunch pitch competition, applicants must complete a questionnaire and submit a three-minute video outlining their business concepts no later than 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 11. To complete the application and for pitch competition guidelines, visit https://www.formstack.com/forms/?1374124-yspGczMuX4
Registration is required for the LiveWorkLaunch Detroit event. The cost is $10 before February 11 or $15 after, and includes transportation to and from Detroit. To learn more about LiveWorkLaunch, visit http://dhivedetroit.org/liveworkdetroit-february-22nd-event/. To register for the Feb. 22 LiveWorkLaunch event in Detroit, visit http://liveworkdetroitfeb.eventbrite.com/.