The multi-round Michigan Business Challenge (MBC) takes University of Michigan students through the entire cycle of new venture creation — from building a strong pitch to writing a comprehensive business plan. On January24, three panels of judges narrowed the field of entrepreneurial ventures from 22 teams down to 12. 

MBC 2019

New for 2020, MBC is featuring three tracks of competition for student teams. Four winners from each track are moving forward to the Michigan Business Challenge Finals.

MBC Seigle Impact Track

The Michigan Business Challenge Seigle Impact Track recognizes the business plan that best pursues a mission-driven goal. This award aims to stimulate the creation of new businesses, products or services that prioritize social and/or environmental considerations. Teams advancing in this track include:

For Dearborn (4D) –  Rima Imad Fadlallah (MBA ‘20), For Dearborn (4D) creates space for Arab and/or Muslim Americans (AAM) to self actualize and thrive through digital media, programming, fashion and philanthropy. 

HalalFin – Razeen Karim (BBA ’20), Safwaan Mir (MM ’20), Mohammad Eddir (BSE ’20), & Abrar Quazi (BSE ’20), HalalFin is developing a platform that utilizes blockchain technology, specifically cryptocurrency, to provide individuals access to Islamic-compliant banking and transacting. 

Lillian Augusta – Jannice Newson (MS ‘20) & Nana Britwum (MS ‘20), Lillian Augusta is a brand that revolutionizes Black hair care by offering hair without harm. We aspire to make plastic-based synthetic braiding hair obsolete by replacing it with biodegradable braiding hair made from Phragmites, an invasive plant species. 

Revolin Sports – Hughes Davis (MSE ’20), Revolin Sports provides conscientious athletes with high-performance sporting equipment to help them up their game while respecting the planet. Starting with our pickleball paddle, we use our naturalBioFlx Technology™ to create products that undoubtedly prove sustainability and performance are not mutually exclusive.

MBC Innovation Track

The Michigan Business Challenge Innovation Track recognizes student-led for-profit ventures that offer a product, service, mobile application, or platform serving consumers or enterprises. These startups include ecommerce, SaaS, mobile applications, consumer products, food/beverage companies, and more. 

Naya – Mimi Huet (MBA ’20), Naya produces simple and delicious banana-based, non-dairy ice cream because customers shouldn’t have to choose between real, healthy foods and dessert. Naya currently carries two flavors, Cocoa Peanut Butter and Cinnamon Roll, and is available in three health food grocery stores and one café. Both flavors have minimal and recognizable ingredients.

Comme Homme – Kene Onuorah (MBA ’21) and Mejoy Lawson (MBA 21′), Comme Homme is a direct-to-consumer cosmetic and lifestyle brand serving American bald men. We are developing a two-prong solution comprised of uniquely designed shaving/scalp care products and an omnichannel interactive community to inject confidence into the hair loss journey and improve the experience of bald men everywhere. 

PeerMinutes  – Anastasia Bergeron (BA ’21), Arjun Chaliha (BSE ’21), Louis Gouirand (BSE ’21), and Hridey Sahgal (BSE ’21), PeerMinutes is a web platform that matches student tutors with students seeking help to decrease the office hours line for Computer Science classes and increase on-demand resources on campus. 

ZeroSixty – Alec Kremins (BBA ’22),  ZeroSixty is a consumer brand offering a fast-absorbing energy chew that provides convenient, on-the-go energy for active and busy adults.

MBC Invention Track

The MBC Invention Track recognizes student-led ventures that have intellectual property (IP) at the core of their high-tech venture. These potential businesses have significant technology differentiation which often leads to highly scalable ventures. This award aims to stimulate the creation of new businesses in life sciences, physical sciences, mobility, AR/VR, and more. 

BioSense – Anil Tolwani (BS Statistics ’22), Biosense is developing fitness trackers for laboratory animals to automate behavior tracking and improve preclinical research conclusions.

SlumberFlow – 
Allison Powell (MSE ’16, MD ’21) Juan Noda (MD/MBA ’20), and Lindsey Furness (BSE ’21), SlumberFlow designs and manufactures a nasopharyngeal airway device in order to reduce the negative effects of sleep apnea caused by upper airway obstruction. 

SSInnovations – Braden Shugarman (BBA ’22), SSInnovations is developing an innovative eyelid speculum that improves the comfort, safety, and cost-effectiveness of intravitreal injection procedures.

Tactile Systems – Ketut Putra (DEng ’20), Vinita Chaudhary (BBA ’20), Brian Kosasih (BBA ’20), and Krishna Koka (BSE ’23), Tactile Systems is developing a tactile sensing system that can be embedded to the prosthesis to measure the distribution pressure and shear force at the residual limb. The information given by the device allows the prosthetist to assess the prosthesis design and evaluate areas of discomfort which resulted to a more comfortable prosthesis for amputees.

Congratulations to all of our 2020 Michigan Business Challenge teams.  On February 21, join us at the Ross School of Business as these entrepreneurs present full business plans to new panels of judges. Visit the Zell Lurie Institute website for more information on MBC.

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