The 2017 Michigan Business Challenge Boasts Over 100 Student Entrepreneurs

Shannon Beeman
December 2, 2016

The Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business announced the start of its annual business plan competition, the Michigan Business Challenge (MBC). As the only public institution to receive a top ten ranking for undergraduate and graduate entrepreneurial programs, interest in entrepreneurship is increasing across a wide variety of disciplines and degree programs at U-M.

Michigan Business Challenge Winner 2016 PreDxion BioThe Michigan Business Challenge, the University of Michigan’s annual campus-wide business plan competition, exposes students to a rigorous, multi-phase business development and planning process. Students throughout the competition receive coaching from the Zell Lurie Institute and valuable feedback from leaders in the entrepreneurial and venture capital space as they compete for cash prizes totaling more than $85,000.

Round one of the competition will take place today, where over 100 student teams are expected to present their pitch to panels of judges comprised of leaders in venture capital, technology, and other industries. Twenty of the top teams will be selected to advance to round two of the competition and compete in January.

“Students are coming to the University of Michigan with new career attitudes as interest in entrepreneurship rises,” said Sarika Gupta, managing director of the Zell Lurie Institute. “It is crucial to identify these students early and cultivate their entrepreneurial energy. The Michigan Business Challenge engages these students, from all areas of study, and allows them to test and validate a business concept in a low-risk environment.”

For the third year, the Michigan Business Challenge will feature the Impact Track in response to increased interest in entrepreneurial ventures that have a social or environmental mission at their core. This track is presented in partnership with the Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Institute and the Center for Social Impact and was created to engage new ventures that have a mission-driven goal. In 2016, Kulisha was selected as the recipient of the Impact Award and $15,000 for the company’s work to create a low-cost, high-quality protein base made from insects as an alternative to conventional animal feeds.

In 2016, the Pryor-Hale Award for Best Business and $25,000 cash prize was awarded to PreDxion Bio, which went on to receive a $100,000 investment at the Rice Business Plan Competition and participated in the TechArb 2016 summer cohort. Previous Michigan Business Challenge winners have represented a wide range of industries, including bio and medical tech, educational tech, fashion, and app-based businesses.

For more information on the Michigan Business Challenge competition, deadlines, process, and eligibility, please visit: