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Sunday, 17 March 2013 22:00

Business plan competitions at a glance

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Great Lakes Entrepreneurs Quest

Ann Arbor,

Sponsors: Nonprofit board, executive director and a variety of sponsors, including the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

Awards: A range of cash prizes, including $5,000 for new business idea. Microloans and other investments are also available, including $100,000 for SmartZone Award.

Open to whom? Teams must have a business concept with high growth potential and one member who resides or attends school or works in Michigan. Existing businesses must be based in Michigan and cannot be previous GLEQ Finals Award Winners or subsidiaries.

Guidelines: Enter either “New Business Idea” or “Emerging Company” divisions by submitting a five-page executive summary. For others, visit website.

2013 dates: Registration opened Feb. 4, 2013. Deadline is March 27. SmartZone Award submission due date is May 6, all other award submissions due May 20. Awards presented June 18.

Accelerate Michigan

Ann Arbor,

Leadership: Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan, Business Leaders for Michigan, University Research Corridor and the New Economy Initiative.

Awards: Company competition offers grand prize of $500,000 as well as cash awards for runners up, best in sector, and student competition.

Open to whom? Company Competition: Any early stage business. Student Competition: Any undergraduate or graduate student enrolled in at least two classes in a Michigan college or university for the fall 2013 semester. Must have $10,000 in revenue, cannot cross-apply to the Company Competition or have any angel, pre-seed or venture investment.

Guidelines: Company Competition: Must submit abstract and executive summary during the first round, a business plan during the second round, and at least two team members must present elevator pitch Nov. 12-14 for the final round. Student Competition: Submit business idea for first round, YouTube video for second round, presentations for third and fourth rounds.

2013 dates: Company Competition: Initial application, including abstract and executive summary, due Aug. 7, 2013. Student Competition: Initial application due Sept. 13, 2013.


East Lansing,

Leadership: Spartan Innovations, MSU Foundation, Business-CONNECT.

Open to whom? Michigan residents and students who have a company or idea that has been in existence for less than one year.

Guidelines: Idea/company must have been developed in the last year.

2013 dates: Competition ended March 13, 2013.


Gaylord, Lansing, Bay City (Delta College), Battle Creek, Macomb (Oakland University), Marlette, Marquette

Leadership: MidMichigan Innovation Center

Awards: No cash award, but presenters are given feedback from a panel of judges.

Open to whom? Presenters have two minutes to pitch their idea to be selected to present directly to The BlueWater Angels and other entrepeneurial resources.

Guidelines: Must apply online and be present at event site for pitch (same day as final registration day). Various statewide events throughout the year.

2013 dates: Online registration open: Delta College, April 11; Battle Creek, April 17; Oakland University, Apri 24; Marlette, May 1 and Nov. 6; Marquette, Nov. 13.

New Venture Competition

Mount Pleasant,

Leadership: Central Michigan University.

Awards: Cash and in-kind prizes, including $30,000 for best overall venture. Smaller awards for “Most Impact on Michigan” ($5k) and ‘Best Pitch” ($1k)

Open to whom? All CMU students.

Guidelines: New, independent ventures in the startup ideation, early growth or seed stages that would have a positive impact on the business environment in Michigan.

2013 dates: Contest is over for the year; Intent to participate for 2014 due this fall.

Skandalaris Business Plan Competition


Leadership: Eastern Michigan University Center for Entrepreneurship.

Awards: College and high school categories compete separately for prize money. First place: $1,000; second place: $750; third place: $500; best presentation: $200.

Open to whom? Current high school or college students from the Midwest region.

Guidelines: Each entry must use a non-student adviser. Teams submit business plans for consideration to be selected to present at the final conference.

2013 dates: Contest is over for the year. Business plan due in January.

GVSU Business Plan Competition

Grand Rapids,

Leadership: GVSU Ctr. for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.

Awards: Cash awards up to $5,000 for first place.

Open to whom? All GVSU students, graduate and undergraduate.

Guidelines: Student created ventures, for-profit or nonprofit, in teams or individually.

2013 dates: Plans were due Feb. 6. Competition: March 25.

West Michigan Regional Business Plan

Grand Rapids

Leadership: West Michigan College and University Group (Aquinas College, Calvin College, Cornerstone University, Davenport University, Grand Rapids Community College, GVSU, Hope College) and Ernst & Young.

Awards: Opportunities to win cash awards at school as well as regional competition, where first place winner nets $3,000.

Open to whom? Must be finalist of participating college or university business plan competition and a full-time, degree-seeking student.

Guidelines: Business must be pre-revenue, for profit or nonprofit. May compete individually or in teams.

2013 dates: Regional competition plans due March 27. Judges’ review and final presentations: April 9. Awards ceremony: April 10.

Start Garden

Grand Rapids,

Leadership: Start Garden LLC.

Awards: Ideas chosen by Start Garden staff and public vote recieve $5,000; funding can be renewed/reviewed for an additional $20,000-$500,000.

Open to whom? Anyone.

Guidelines: Must submit ideas via Start Garden website. More than one submission allowed.

2013 dates: Ideas may be submitted at any time; selected ideas must register as a Michigan LLC and return 60-90 days later to provide an update.

Michigan Clean Energy Venture Challenge

Ann Arbor,

Leadership: University of Michigan.

Awards: First place award of $50,000. Other prizes for runners up and categories.

Open to whom? Open to teams of two of more members from any Michigan college or university.

Guidelines: Business concepts, core technologies or market solutions must meet one of the clean energy challenges. Proposals may be for a consumer or industrial product or service.

2013 dates: Competition ended Feb. 15. Applications due in the fall.

Broad MBA Business Plan Competition

East Lansing,

Leadership: Michigan State University.

Awards: First prize: $5,000 and travel support to attend a state, regional, or national competition.

Open to whom? At least two members (including captain) of team need to be MBA students at MSU.

Guidelines: Teams will be judged on the viability of the business plan, the scalability of the idea, the growth opportunities, and the likelihood to receive funding by venture capitalists in the future.

2013 dates: Competition: March 23.

PITCH — A WMU Business Plan Competition


Leadership: Western Michigan University and Educational Community Credit Union

Awards: Cash awards tor top 3, with $1,200 for first place. Most entertaining pitch wins $200.

Open to whom? Any WMU student.

Guidelines: Participants must be able to make a three-minute pitch without slides or props.

2013 dates: Entries due March 27. First round: April 5; Final round and awards: April 6.

Pitch Zoo


Leadership: Pitch Zoo.

Awards: Participants get feedback from a local audience and work on their presentation ideas.

Open to whom? Individuals that have a new business idea or are in an early-stage company, as well as those who want to practice their pitch and receive feedback.

Guidelines: Participants have three minutes to pitch and have five minutes for feedback. No props or formal presentation needed.

2013 dates: Events are held monthly on the first Monday. RSVP to pitch at the organization’s website.

Pitches of Promise Competition

Ann Arbor,

Leadership: Michigan Women’s Foundation.

Awards: Crowdfunded micro-grant, unspecified amount.

Open to whom? Preferred applicants must be between the ages of 15 and 25. Men and women welcome.

Guidelines: Proposal must address one of the following social issues: economic justice, leadership development, health/reproductive rights, safety and security, self-perception, research on women, eliminating barriers for young women.

2013 dates: Applications were due March 16. Competition held April 20.

Read 86597 times Last modified on Monday, 18 March 2013 08:00

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