DETROIT — Applications are now being accepted for the 2012 Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition at

Accelerate Michigan, one of North America’s largest business competitions, will award more than $1 million in cash winnings, plus in-kind awards to later stage, entrepreneurial businesses that have the potential to have an immediate and positive impact on Michigan’s economy.

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Accelerate Michigan has two tracks — the international business competition as well as a Michigan collegiate competition.

Companies worldwide that have a technology that is past prototype are eligible to submit in one of eight key areas of opportunity, including alternative energy, advanced materials, IT, next generation manufacturing, life sciences, medical devices, advanced transportation as well as products and services.

For the student track, any undergraduate or graduate student enrolled in at least two classes in a Michigan public or private university or college for the fall 2012 semester is eligible. Student participants can be individuals or teams who submit an innovative business plan of with their application.

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The application deadline for companies is Aug. 15. Student applications are due Sept. 27.

The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition will conclude with the semi-final investor pitches Nov. 14 and 15 at the Westin Book Cadillac.

The Competition Finals and Gala Awards celebration will be held the evening of Nov. 15 at Orchestra Hall in Detroit.

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“The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition is an exciting collaboration between Business Leaders for Michigan, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the New Economy Initiative and Ann Arbor Spark that showcases Michigan’s growing entrepreneurial support network, world class academia, and ongoing commitment to helping businesses grow.  The competition fuels innovation-based business growth by showcasing the best and brightest new business concepts to potential investment capital to help foster their growth within Michigan,” said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor Spark.