The student portion of last year's Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition drew a pleasant surprise that caused organizers to reform the rules to this year's competition.
Are You A Human, a venture-backed start-up co-founded by University of Michigan students, won the grand prize worth $25,000. It was the second year in a row U-M start-ups won the student portion of the contest and it prompted organizers behind the business-plan competition to reform the rules for eligibility so seed-funded start-ups led by students must compete in the main competition.
"We didn't think we would get a student team with $250,000 in private seed capital sign up," says Lauren Bigelow, executive director of Accelerate Michigan
This year Accelerate Michigan is moving the competition to downtown Detroit where it will be held in the Book Cadillac Hotel on Nov. 15-17. It had previously been held in Ann Arbor around the University of Michigan. This year the organizers plan to capitalize on the Motor City's urban atmosphere and rebounding narrative.
More than 300 start-ups have applied to compete at Accelerate Michigan for the competition's $500,000 first prize. The contest regularly attracts the cream of the crop of start-ups from the Great Lakes region and a smattering of others from across the U.S. who are looking at moving to Michigan.
The deadline for signing up for the student-led portion of the event is Sept. 27. For information, click here
Source: Lauren Bigelow, executive director of Accelerate Michigan
Writer: Jon Zemke