2021 Michigan Business Challenge Spotlight – The Smartwheel Project

Shannon Beeman
February 24, 2021

MBC Invention Track

The Zell Lurie Institute’s campus-wide business plan competition, the Michigan Business Challenge (MBC), concludes on Friday, February 26. ZLI will highlight each of the entrepreneurial student teams competing in the 2021 MBC Finals.

The SmartWheel Project University of Michigan Business Challenge Zell Lurie InstituteStartup Description

The Smartwheel Project aims to affordably transform your bike into a premium electric bike in a matter of seconds.

What was the origin of this venture? How was the problem or opportunity discovered?

We started this venture in a garage at the Illinois Institute of Technology while studying our Master’s in Chicago.

What do you think will be the long-term impact of launching your venture?

We will empower a healthy lifestyle in our customers while we will help the planet by lowering emissions.

The SmartWheel Project University of Michigan Business Challenge Zell Lurie Institute 2021How did you form your team?

Vladimir and I met while studying our Masters of Science at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and we discovered our entrepreneurial souls while leading the Illinois Tech Hyperloop.

How has participation in MBC helped move your venture forward?

We have given a strong push to the business aspect of the project.

What has been your biggest takeaway from the MBC experience (so far)?

The importance of balancing the product development with the business model creation in a tech Startup, they are extremely correlated.

What are your plans following MBC? How would prize money help your venture?

We would use the money to finalize the prototype, and depending on the amount, we would file the patent by Fall 2020.

What advice do you have for other student entrepreneurs?

We started this project back in 2018, and we have spent two years working on the product before joining any competition, our advice is to be resilient, perseverant and humble. It won’t be easy, but hard work pays. Never forget what your mission is and where do you see yourself, you will make it!

How can others connect with your venture? 


2021 Michigan Business Challenge Finals 

The 2021 Michigan Business Challenge Finals will be held Friday, February 26. Follow these outstanding University of Michigan student startups through ZLI social media.