Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition gets students involved with entrepreneurship

Adelle Whitefoot

The deadline to apply for the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition (AMIC) is coming up quickly for students.

AMIC is an international business plan competition that highlights Michigan as a robust and vibrant venue for innovation and business opportunity. This competition is for students that have an innovative business idea.

The ideal winner is someone that would want to start their business after they graduate from college and hopefully employ other people, said Lauren Bigelow, executive director of AMIC.

“What we’re looking for is for students to think, ‘If I were to start a business on my own what would I do?’” Bigelow said.

Applications for students or student groups are due by Sept. 30. The application is a one-page summary explaining their business and the market where the business would thrive, Bigelow said.

Twenty-five applicants will be chosen based on how clearly the summary is written, how innovative the idea is and how marketable the product is.

“Just have some fun with it,” Bigelow said. “You definitely need to have a business idea and you need to have a market, but just have some fun with it.”

After the applications are narrowed down to 25 applicants, each team or participant has to make a two to three minute video pitching their product and idea on how to market it.

From there, judges will narrow it down to 10 semi-finalists that have to give a eight-minute pitch in front of the judges and hundreds of local entrepreneurs and investors at a conference downstate Michigan.

From the 10 semi-finalists, four winners are chosen. First place winners will receive $25,000, first runners-up will receive $15,000 and third runners-up will receive $10,000. The team or individual that comes in fourth place is awarded the “People’s Choice Award” and receives $10,000.

“We wanted to give a prize that would really change somebody’s year,” Bigelow said. “Where there’s one person or three people, there will be enough for everyone to do something with.”

There are no strings attached to the prize money, so winners can use it toward anything they want. It’s hoped that the money will go toward starting their business idea, but it’s not required, she said.

For information visit www.acceleratemichigan.org and go to the student competition tab.