The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition is moving to downtown Detroit this fall, taking advantage of the Motor City's vibrant urban atmosphere and emerging narrative of resurgence.
The annual business plan competition, in its third year, awards $1 million in cash and other prizes to local start-ups or companies looking to move to Michigan. The first two competitions were held in Ann Arbor, but it is moving to the Book Cadillac Hotel this year to leverage the city's cosmopolitan feel and its story of economic resurgence.
"We really are trying to bring the judges and investors into a city that becoming more vibrant," says Lauren Bigelow, executive director of Accelerate Michigan
. "We think Detroit serves as a great backdrop for that."
Accelerate Michigan is one the richest business plan competitions in the U.S. with a top prize of $500,000 in seed capital. The cream of the crop of the Great Lakes State's start-ups apply to compete, along with a smattering of out-of-state firms interested in relocating to Michigan. A wide variety of start-ups make their pitch for the half a million dollars in cash, including businesses specializing in life sciences, alternative energy, advanced manufacturing, software and IT, among many others.
This year 303 start-ups applied to compete. There is also a student portion of the competition that will continue taking applications until Sept. 27. These entrepreneurs also use the competition as a chance to network with angel investors, venture capitalists, corporate investors and potential strategic partners who are judging and watching the competition. This year's competition expects to attract more than 100 investors this year, up from about 60 last year.
Accelerate Michigan will be held on Nov. 13 at the Book Cadillac with the awards gala taking place on Nov. 15 at Detroit's Orchestra Hall. For information on the competition, click here
Source: Lauren Bigelow, executive director of Accelerate Michigan
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.