The second annual Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition opened Monday.

Through the competition, more than $1 million in cash, plus in-kind awards of services, staffing and software, will be given to entrepreneurial businesses willing to grow in Michigan.

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The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition includes a competition for college students with an idea for an innovative business.

“The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition showcases Michigan’s robust entrepreneurial support network, world class academia, and commitment to helping businesses grow,” said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. “The competition provides tremendous opportunities for businesses to thrive in our state.”

Accelerate Michigan is a strategic alliance between Business Leaders for Michigan — the expanded, statewide successor to Detroit Renaissance — and the University Research Corridor, the consortium of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University.

To qualify for the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, businesses must make a commitment to locate and grow in Michigan.  These companies must also be at the commercial stage of business development, past proof of concept.

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The competition awards emerging businesses in key areas of opportunity for entrepreneurial growth and success, including alternative energy, IT, advanced manufacturing, life science, medical devices and advanced transportation.

Any undergraduate or graduate student enrolled in at least two classes in a Michigan public or private university or college for the fall 2011 semester is eligible for the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition.  In the student competition, an individual or team can submit business plans.

For companies, the application deadline is Aug. 10. Student applications are due Sept. 21.

The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition will conclude with investor pitches on Nov. 16-17 at the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Marriott at Eagle Crest. The Competition Finals and Gala Awards Celebration will be held the evening of Nov. 17 at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn.

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