Blackstone LaunchPad startups excel at Accelerate Michigan

The number of student-led startups from Detroit competing in this year's Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition has jumped, both in quantity and quality.

Ten Detroit-based startups made the semifinals of the business plan competition last week, making up 10 of the 34 competitors in the student-portion of the event. Ann Arbor-based startups have traditionally dominated the student competition, taking a clear majority of the top three spots in each of the competition’s first three years. This year SIB Medical Technologies, a startup creating research collection instrument that was founded at Blackstone LaunchPad at Wayne State University, took second, the small business incubator's first winner at Accelerate Michigan.

"It shows that most of our students are entrepreneurs and not just exploring it," says Aubrey Agee, senior program administrator of Blackstone LaunchPad at Wayne State University.

Blackstone LaunchPad opened the small business incubator at Wayne State University three years ago. The idea is to encourage non-business school students to open their own businesses. Dozens of entrepreneurs have made their way through the program since then.

This year nine of the 10 startups in Accelerate Michigan’s student competition had ties to Blackstone LaunchPad at Wayne State University. Those nine startups are made up of more than 21 entrepreneurs.

"There are a lot of people who are hustling and busting their butts," Agee says. "We were able to help guide them a bit and get them pointed in the right direction."

Source: Aubrey Agee, senior program administrator of Blackstone LaunchPad at Wayne State University
Writer: Jon Zemke

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