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Startup news: TechTown helps host Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition

The Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan, of which TechTown is a co-founding member, is hosting a $1 million business plan contest this fall/winter called the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition.

This event will highlight local resources, such as business accelerators like TechTown, that are available to small businesses and put a spotlight on southeast Michigan's entrepreneurial ecosystem. It will also expose local entrepreneurs and startups to the venture capital community during the Big Chill hockey game between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Dec. 11. Organizers expect a lot of wealthy alumni from both schools with extensive business acumen to attend and participate in the business plan competition.

"The idea is to take what is already out there and highlight everything for the venture capital community," says David Egner, executive director of the New Economy Initiative, which supplied a $750,000 grant for this event. "Plus, we want to turn over some rocks and see what's under there."

The Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan is advertising this as the world's largest business plan competition with $1 million in cash awards, services, staffing and software up for grabs. It is open to startups and entrepreneurs from both inside and outside of the state who are willing to set up shop in Michigan.

"It's not just about Michigan," says Leslie Smith, general manager of TechTown. "This has an outward focus that will attract national and international attention, which will be good for all of our startups." TechTown is focusing on helping gather partnerships and sponsorships for the event. Smith expects to have at least a dozen of the business accelerator's startups participate.

The competition is focusing on early stage businesses with proven technology and student concepts with longer-term viability. Startups can compete in nine categories, including advanced materials, advanced transportation, alternative energy, homeland security and defense, information technology, life science, medical devices, next generation manufacturing and products and services. Students attending any Michigan university or college can submit their business concepts in a separate category.

For more information about the Accelerate Michigan Innovation competition, click here.

Source: David Egner, executive director of the New Economy Initiative and Leslie Smith, general manager of TechTown
Writer: Jon Zemke

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