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Social Entrepreneurship Showcase highlights impact investors

Business competitions are becoming increasingly common in Detroit. Three are making their way through the Motor City this summer.

Former AOL CEO Steve Case recently announced that Detroit will be the first stop on his Rise of the Rest bus tour and pitch competition on June 24. The tour highlights up-and-coming entrepreneurial hot spots, showcasing their business accelerators and startups. Each stop will host a pitch competition with a top prize of a $100,000 investment from Case.

Project Startup Live held its business plan competition at TechTown last week. Of the three finalist (Banza, Swaddle-mi-Bili, and Social Sushi), Banza walked away with the top prize of $5,000. The two runners-up each received $2,500. Banza is marketing a pasta made from chickpeas. Swaddle-mi-Bili is developing a wearable fabric that helps babies fight jaundice. Social Sushi works to connect people and ideas through high-quality sushi.

The Social Entrepreneurship Showcase is gearing up to hold an afternoon event on June 20 to promote the participants and winners of this year's Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge. The challenge looks to help grow the local socially focused entrepreneurial community. This year, 280 entrepreneurs and companies are participating from across the state.

"I think more than half of our participants hail from southeast Michigan," says Elizabeth Garlow,  executive director of Michigan Corps, which is organizing the Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge.

She adds that this year's conference will focus on helping grow angel investors and investment funds looking to blend their portfolio with ventures that are socially entrepreneurial. This new class of investor is being branded as an "impact investor" who aims to make a difference while making a profit.

For information on the Social Entrepreneurship Showcase, click here.

Source: Elizabeth Garlow,  executive director of the Michigan Corps
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
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