The Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan has opened the Accelerate Michigan Student Idea Competition to entries.

Open to any undergraduate or graduate student attending a Michigan college or university in the fall of 2010, the competiton will award $50,000 to the top business ideas and concepts submitted by Michigan students.

All participants are required to submit a one-page business idea. Semifinalists will submit a three minute video pitch and formulate a fifteen minute in-person pitch. The deadline for initial applications is midnight, eastern time on Friday, Oct. 22.

“The Accelerate Michigan Student Idea Competition presents an excellent opportunity to showcase homegrown ideas straight from the state’s future leaders,” said Jeff Mason, executive director of the University Research Corridor, the organization that helps the research efforts of the state’s three biggest universities — Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University — cooperate. “These ideas will not only serve as a catalyst to strengthen, transform and diversify the state’s economy, but will reinforce the commitment from every college and university in the state of Michigan to educate a workforce focused on innovation.”

Added UM president Mary Sue Coleman: “The Accelerate Michigan Student Idea Competition provides students with an outlet to present their ideas, and encourages their drive and motivation for shifting Michigan’s economic landscape.”

The competition is a component of the larger Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition which aims to uncover the best and brightest new business concepts from local and global entrepreneurs, and exposes those opportunities to potential investment capital and fostering their growth within Michigan. Slated to be the world’s largest business 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.

The New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan has granted Ann Arbor Spark $750,000 to launch the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition on behalf of the Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan, which is 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 for event are the URC and Business Leaders for Michigan, the statewide successor organization to Detroit Renaissance.

The competition culminates with a gala awards brunch in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Dec. 11. The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition concludes with the University of Michigan vs. Michigan State University “Big Chill” hockey game at Michigan Stadium.

For more information about the Accelerate Michigan Student Idea Competition including complete rules and eligibility criteria, visit, or connect with the competition via Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

The Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan is supported through a three year, $3 million grant from the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan. That initiative is a coalition of 10 national, regional and local foundations that have committed $100 million to an eight-year initiative. Included in the NEI are the  Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (Detroit), the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation (Southfield), the Ford Foundation (New York City), the Hudson-Webber Foundation (Detroit), the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (Battle Creek), the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (Miami, Fla.), The Kresge Foundation (Troy), the McGregor Fund (Detroit), the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Flint) and the Skillman Foundation (Detroit).

The participating foundations are leading the implementation and governance of the Initiative. The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, which initiated the collaborative, is serving as its administrative home. For more information, please visit