Michigan Business Challenge Zell Lurie Institute University of Michigan RossFrom an original field of nearly 100 student teams in the qualifying rounds, 54 startups pitched their business concepts in Round One of the ZLI Michigan Business Challenge (MBC) last Friday. After much deliberation, judges selected 17 student teams to advance in the competition for a chance to take home over $100,000 in cash prizes:

Acqua e Rosa – A Detroit-based luxury floral design brand, specializing in one-of-a-kind, timeless, and elegant floral arrangements using acrylic boxes

BSchool Travel – A tech enabled adventure travel company for MBA student travel

Checkmate – An App-based platform that seeks to lower STD incidence by offering at-home testing and treating of STDs

Dough – A startup that personalizes student loan management from matriculation through repayment to reduce debt burden and default rates

Eastern Bazaar – A line of chic and affordable holiday decorations and stationary for the Muslim-American community

FMB Technologies – A systems services company developing a device to help researchers obtain better data from laboratory animal studies

Graduates Unbound – A fintech lender to refinance student loans for millions of Americans ignored by current lenders

Holly Keith Lingerie – A luxury lingerie brand focused on providing high quality lingerie to larger busted women and innovating how women are sized for bras

LineLeap – A mobile platform that gives customers the option to skip the line at 30+ partnered venues

MONTA – A natural line of wellness and skincare that celebrates personal landscapes

Nochi – A small niche studio creating educational games in the form of young adult, art-heavy entertainment

Plaque-Buster – A patent-pending device to improve the treatment of calcified, atherosclerotic plaques in cardiovascular peripheral arteries

Rootcraft – A startup creating ready to eat meals for the active plant eater

Simulation Systems – A software company that creates data systems in order to implement our proprietary iterative machine learning simulating algorithm

SkyGig – A startup working to empower the next generation of power-efficient broadband communications

SubQ Assist –  A task-shifting device that facilitates the consistent and accurate administration of subcutaneous contraceptive implants allowing minimally trained healthcare workers to provide safe access in rural areas

UpNext – Technology that allows everyone to have a say in the music playing by adding any songs or voting on the next song playing

MBC 2019With prizes totaling $26,000, the MBC Seigle Impact Track recognizes the business plan that prioritizes environmental or social considerations. The Seigle Impact Track aims to stimulate the creation of entrepreneurial ventures that pursue a mission-driven goal. Eight teams were selected to move forward in this track:

BLIP – A startup that aims to reduce the amount of time and effort women in rural Gujarat, India spend to collect potable water, alleviating pain and reducing time poverty

Dear Black Women – An affirmation movement and social network, online and offline, that grows the social capital of Black women

Dough – A startup that personalizes student loan management from matriculation through repayment to reduce debt burden and default rates

NeoHealth – A low-cost device that can be used to detect counterfeit antimalarials with the goal of reducing the number of deaths caused by counterfeit drugs in developing countries

Peerstachio – A peer-to-peer learning community platform that helps undergraduate college students improve their grades by connecting underclassmen with trusted upperclassmen

Practical Prosthetics – A startup working to provide affordable, accessible and functional 3D printed prosthetics

SubQ Assist – A task-shifting device that facilitates the consistent and accurate administration of subcutaneous contraceptive implants allowing minimally trained healthcare workers to provide safe access in rural areas

ValCycle – An end-to-end reverse logistics platform connecting overstocked retailers to community organizations

The multi-round business plan competition is a cornerstone of the Institute’s action-based educational programming, which enables students to put their entrepreneurial skills into practice and provides them the resources necessary to transform promising business ideas into successful ventures.

Now in its 36th year, the Michigan Business Challenge has evolved from a one-day competition to encourage entrepreneurship among students to a four-month event that exposes students across U-M to the rigorous business development and planning process required to commercialize an innovative idea.

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